Self-Care is a long-term goal that is made up of countless micro-moments. It consists of creating healthy habits to take one’s wellbeing and happiness into one’s own hands becomes second nature. But to do that, we need first to be self-aware of all those things in our life that are affecting our overall wellbeing –then it will be easier to set goals and define what actions (routines and habits) we’ll take to achieve them.
Difference between goal, routine, and habit
A goal is something that you hope to achieve.
Routines are the way in which you regularly do things –they are uncomfortable and you must make an effort to do them.
Habits are things that have become part of your daily life with no effort.
So it means some routines will never be a habit. However, the potential of gaining new healthy habits by starting new routines is enormous.
The Circle of Self-Care
The Circle of Self-Care is a tool that allows you to overview the different pillars of your life to find a balanced wellbeing. It is helpful to quickly review and reflect on several aspects and keep a good track of your emotional, physical and mental Self-Care at that particular moment.
It doesn't matter if some areas have a rating of 10 while others have a low rating because to achieve a positive life, you have to keep all the different aspects nurtured.
There are 5 steps to take the most of the Circle of Self-Care:
- Rate and review the different areas
- Analyze why you rate them like that and set goals to improve them
- Create short-, mid-, and long-term goals
- Create the routine that can become a habit
- Get your reward
From the Circle of Self-Care to new habits
You might ask yourself what you would like to improve in any of the Circle of Self-Care areas and why you would like to get it. And, finally, how you will accomplish that.
Here are some tips and suggestions about the how.
1 - Keep it simple
It's easy to start strong, but the purpose is to begin the routine with low intensity to find the motivation and eventually build the habit. Keep in mind that motivation comes and goes, so as Leo Babauta says, "make it so easy you can't say no." For example, if you want to run for an hour a day, start with 10 minutes and work your way up. What's more, you can split it and run 5 minutes at different times if it helps.
2 - Be consistent
Try to be as consistent as possible. Actions that you only repeat once in a while will never be a healthy habit or even a routine. Identify different patterns or repeated triggers throughout your days, such as activities, places, times, or any other existing habit, and think about how you can use that context to create a new one. It will be easier to keep them daily and stick to them. And try not to skip them for more than two days in a row. For example, do a minute of stretching while you wait for the kettle to boil.
3 - Add a little on top
If the first two steps are followed, it is time to improve gradually. Don't forget that each person needs their own time to maintain the habit. Although publications suggest you will get a habit after 21 or 40 days, creating a consistent routine does not work the same for everyone. For example, you have been meditating for 10 minutes for the past month. Maybe it's time to increase that to 15 minutes to get a little more.
4 - Review your progress
Don't be afraid to look back and check how the journey is going. You may realize it's not what you expected, or you may see what other things you could be doing instead: you may be willing to add a little more, or you may need to cut back to keep going. If there is a routine demanding too much of you –it may be mental, emotional, or physical– you will probably stop it.
5 - Celebrate the reward and move on
The reward should be the final step in creating a new healthy habit and could be the initial step for the next one. Take advantage of the benefit you have made and be consistent with it; don't let the habit become routine. Also, use the accomplishment to motivate you to keep thinking about what new healthy habits you can achieve.
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