WHILE PEOPLE LIKE to call Valentine’s Day a commercial plot by capitalists, I personally like to indulge fully in the month of love. And by indulging, I don’t mean receiving semi-wilted roses from the supermarket or getting over processed chocolate products. To me, indulging means making time to write notes to my best friends and remind them how much they mean to me, or talking on the phone with my mom for an hour, or even just blocking out time to take myself on a date to the bookstore where I can sit and read while sipping a cappuccino. Some say that every day should be Valentine’s Day, but let’s be realistic—that’s not the nature of our modern lifestyles. I’m all in favor of dedicating one day a year to delight in the people and things that I associate with love. That also means taking better care of myself and letting go of the habits that don’t serve me any longer.
How Can I Stop the Inner Defeatist Talk?
I struggle with negative internal chatter. It keeps me from being active and trying new things. What can I do?
Negative internal talk is extremely destructive. It not only causes depression but also creates an obstacle between you and the life you truly want to live. Seeing a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist can really help you to address your thoughts and change your mental patterns. The good news is that the reality you imagine in your mind is often far worse than the reality of the external world, and once you start making progress you will quickly see improvements in your life. I love the positive affirmation exercise in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. She offers a set of generic affirmations such as “There is a divine plan of goodness for me.” She recommends writing them in your journal every morning and listening for any negative chatter that pops up. Then turn that around into a positive statement and add it to your list of daily affirmations. This exercise not only helps you to identify and hear your own defeatist jabber, but it also helps you to solidify new positive thinking patterns. It might be helpful to set one small goal for yourself every week. Add one thing outside of your comfort zone to your weekly schedule and make it non-negotiable. Make sure you follow through and do not allow anything—including yourself—to stand in your way.
Okay, I Want to Get Healthy—Where Do I Start?
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to take better care of myself. While this seems simple enough, I struggle to think of practical ways I can do this daily. What do you suggest?
I am so happy that you have vowed to place yourself higher on your priority list this year. Taking care of yourself can take many different forms. I would suggest spending a little time every week to reflect on what this means to you. I like to freewrite in my diary about this subject and just see what comes up. There is a fantastic blog called Marc and Angel Hack Life. I recommend signing up for their newsletter and making time to sit down and read it each week. Even this little act is a step in the right direction. Of course, I highly recommend that you add more fitness into your lifestyle and eat healthier, but it does not necessarily have to be about losing weight. A great goal is to focus on longevity. Address the “blind spots” in your body, as my teacher Jill Miller, creator of Yoga Tune Up, says. Take a look at that creaky joint or the fact that sitting on the floor and getting back up is not that easy anymore. These things don’t just magically go away. Taking care of yourself means answering your body’s calls, and that includes making sure that you are getting enough rest and staying hydrated.
Lastly, make time for the things that you enjoy doing and surround yourself with people that uplift you and want to support your new healthier lifestyle choices.
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