Self-care/love is having a moment.  Over 23 million mentions of self-care on Instagram.  Selfcare Sunday is a mood.  And yet, we tend to spend our self-care on things that have very little lasting effects.  Like much of our lives, we settle for instant gratification when it comes to caring for ourselves.

What if self-care looked a little different?  What if instead of focusing on a moment of self-love, we focused on a lifestyle?  Sound selfish?  It’s really not and in fact, lasting self-care is probably the best thing you could do for others.

Got your attention?  What is this lasting self-care you speak of?

 

Habits

Stay with me.  If you are like me, after a good dose of self-care Sunday, I find myself Monday morning with such great intentions for the week.  I am going to meditate every day, I am going to work out 3 times this week, I am going to make it to 2 yoga classes.  I will eat at home and drink my water and be in bed by 9:30. My intentions usually manage to last me well into Tuesday afternoon on a good week.  By Thursday evening, my intentions are a distant memory as my medi/pedi from Sunday starts to chip away.

Here’s the problem.  Intentions require discipline.  Discipline requires willpower.  Willpower is a resource we all have, and it is a resource that is exhaustible.  It is not endless.  You will run out and have to recharge.  Don’t believe me?

Think about the last time you said you were going to eat healthier.  I bet your breakfast was healthier than your dinner.  That’s because as we go through the day and make decisions and exercise discipline, we use up our willpower and have little at the end of the day.

Insert habits.  Habits are our saving grace from our limited stores of willpower.  Habits help us save up our willpower and decision making for the big decisions in life.

“If you are finding that you are a self-care searcher, consider transferring that energy into building a new habit that will give you lasting effects of self-love.”

Maybe I do not have to convince you that habits are great.  But I bet you struggle with keeping the good ones and kicking the bad ones.  We all do.  The reason for the struggle may be that we are trying to reach too far beyond our present capabilities.  We are making the habit-building or breaking too hard.  We need an easier approach.

I would talk for hours about habits, but I won’t.  instead, I’ll give you my two favorite hacks for building habits.

 

1. A Keystone Habit

First, establishing a keystone habit.  A keystone habit is a habit that will act as a catalyst towards other habits and actions you are trying to exhibit. Maybe your goal is to overall be a healthy person.  You know you should eat healthily, exercise, drink water, and get plenty of sleep. But that’s a lot to take one and if you try and take it all on, you will fatigue out. You will run out of willpower so fast before you know it, you will be wrist-deep in a carton of ice cream using your gym card as a toothpick because #selfcare.

Instead of taking on all of the things, take on one habit.  Let’s say it is working out because your sister is already working out and said you could come with her.  So, you start working out.  Pretty soon, you find yourself sleeping better because your body is physically tired from working out.  Then you find because you are sweating more, you are drinking more water.  You are actually thirsty!  Before you know it, you are making better food choices because when you eat cake for breakfast, working out feels terrible.

This is how keystone habits work. You pick one thing that then will spawn other healthy habits.

 

2. Habit Stacking

Similar to a keystone habit, another way to build a habit without much thought is habit stacking.  This is where you take something you are already routinely doing without any thought and you add a habit to it that you are trying to build.

Let’s say you want to start making your bed every day because it will give you a sense of calm and accomplishment.  Hopefully, you are already brushing your teeth every morning, and this doesn’t require much thought.  So, take this habitual toothbrushing and before or after, make the bed.

Pretty soon, the new habit will be attached to the already existing habit.   One does not happen without the other.

If you are finding that you are a self-care searcher, consider transferring that energy into building a new habit that will give you lasting effects of self-love.    Find your keystone habit that will produce fruits of other habits.  Look to stack onto something that is already happening habitually for you.

Self-care and loving yourself is vital in life.  Consider doing something for yourself that will last beyond that bottle of wine.

 

Jessi Chadd, M.S.F.S, CFP®, CeFT®, is a Principal at Aspyre Wealth Partners, specializing in life transitions. For help with your specific situation contact Jessi Chadd, at jchadd@aspyrewealth.com (913) 345-1881 or visit our website at AspyreWealth.com. We help successful people Master What’s Next® – whatever phase of life they are in.

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