It’s about a month since I posted Moving towards self-care and three tips for building good habits, so I thought I’d do a quick check-in to let you know how things are going in my attempts to get my self-care act together.
If you didn’t see the original post, I explained that over the last 18 months or so, while transitioning from my day job to running Emerald and Lime, I’ve done a pretty poor job of looking after myself. I treated self-care (still don’t like the term, still haven’t come up with anything better 😉) as something that would happen by itself with no intentional intervention from me and, in a nutshell, that was wrong.
Last month I put a plan in place involving exercise, hydration and fresh air and set up a tracker so I could track my progress (you can get a blank copy of the tracker for yourself here).
This is what I found
- It was far easier to stick to the plan during the week than it was at the weekend
- When I messed up, it usually wasn’t laziness or procrastination – more often than not it was because I forgot
- Yes, it sounds silly to “forget” to go out, but I did find sometimes that I got caught up in something and missed the “window” I’d set myself.
- I planned to track exercise, hydration and fresh air, but actually found more benefit from other activities (which I’ll touch on below in Where do we go from here?).
- Using the tracker really helped but…
- Some days I did the “thing” but forgot to fill in the tracker. Yes, I feel a right plum.
Here’s a picture of my "completed" tracker for September. Much as I wanted to not post it because it’s a bit rubbish, here it is anyway.
I know I did better than the tracker shows with drinking water, but the exercise and fresh air parts are pretty accurate.
Where do we go from here?
In the last post when I talked about tracking habits I said, ‘Either you’ll feel good about having a string of achievements, or it will be very obvious quickly what’s not working for you and you’ll be able to change it.’
I clearly need to make some changes, so here’s the plan going forward:
I’m going to use the reminder app in my phone or similar so that I get prompts where I’ve identified I need them.
I’ve changed round what I do in the mornings. My plan was to exercise first thing at 5.30am, for example the HIIT and Abs sections of a workout DVD. It happened, but not very often. I’m not in a very HIIT and Abs place at the moment. So, instead of swerving it completely, feeling guilty and full of good intentions that I’ll “start again on Monday,” I’ve swapped it out for Yoga. I still wake up at 5.30, but I start the day with other things and do the yoga after my guys go to school. Although it’s a relatively new adjustment, it feels more like something I’ll stick to.
I bought a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’ll go into more about this in a future post, but I’ve incorporated Morning Pages into my routine.
Again I’ll go into this more in the future once I know more about it, but I’ve been using the Headspace meditation app. Meditation is not something I’m familiar with at all, but I’m interested to learn and have been enjoying it over the past couple of weeks or so.
So what have I learned?
What you think is a realistic plan on paper might not work for you when you get into it. I thought I was starting small but, as it turned out, not small enough. (Remember I said I can be an oversheduler…) Anyway, that’s OK. Lesson one: Don’t abandon the plan, revise it.
Small steps will ALWAYS be better than no steps so, Lesson two: Don’t abandon the plan, revise it.
You may have a picture in your mind of what you should be doing (Exercise >>> HIIT >>> No pain, no gain >>> whoa) If that’s not where you’re at, that’s not where you’re at, so do something else. Lesson three: Don’t abandon the plan, revise it.
Tracking works. It’s really useful to see patterns and gaps emerge. Lesson four: Don’t abandon your tracker. Remember to fill it in. 😉 (And pick up your copy here).
A patchy start to my “Moving towards self-care” I think it’s fair to say, but I’m still determined. I’ll probably leave it a couple of months or so before I return to the subject here on the blog, but I’d love to know how you’re getting on with your habit-building? Leave a comment below or head on over to Instagram @elleturnerwriter and let me know!
ps I drunk a whole bottle of water writing this post. *smug face* Now, where did I put my tracker?