A few months back, I posted a simple four question survey to my yoga community. The first question was, What obstacles get in the way of your self care? I was hoping to get a better understanding of the challenges that we all face and to offer ways to help conquer those obstacles. The #1 answer to the first question was consistency, and that was followed up by motivation. As I read through the answers and comments there were clear patterns forming. Self neglect. We tend to put everyone's needs before our own. Then we feel resentful so we just altogether avoid doing what we promised ourselves we'd do in the first place. Sound familiar? How about this? This week I'm going to go to yoga three times. But then something gets in the way, so it goes from three times to maybe next week. Or this week, I'm going to plan a healthy menu and stay organized in my shopping and cooking. Then you get busy with work and kids, or whatever, and before you know it, your trash is full of takeout boxes. Does this sound familiar. One minor setback interferes with your plan for the day and bam, you're on the couch binge watching Fuller House on Netflix. I really want to walk my dog every morning, but in the five years since I quit my 9-5, I can count on one hand how many times I got up and walked him first thing in the morning.
What if today was the day you stopped breaking promises to yourself? This question was raised to me in Rachel Hollis' book, Girl, Wash Your Face. It made me really take a look at what I'm committing to and if I've been keeping my promises to myself. As I wrote this post, off to the side margin I made a list of the things that are important to me. It went something like this: Family. Time with God. Freedom. Joy. Friends. Health. Home. Business. Slowing Down. My heart. Relaxation. I wrote those right off the top of my head in that order. Then I wrote: People Pleasing. Over doing. Ego Mind. (These I wrote under the title What's NOT Important to Me). I could have spent more time on each list, but I didn't want to overthink it. I wanted it to be quick and flow free. Sure there are many things that I commit to regularly that have become positive habits in my life, like meditation and prayer every morning, Yoga everyday even if only 10 minutes, Rest and Relaxation every evening with no electronics before bed. But, if I'm being honest, there are many times still, as a recovering people pleaser, that I commit to others, willingly breaking a promise to myself. A great line from the book, "If you constantly make and break promises to yourself, you're not making promises at all. You're just talking." Now, I'm not here to tell you what for, I'm here with you, taking the blow. Looking at the times when I've bailed on myself. Seriously!? I don't want to do that anymore! When I made that list of what's important to me, it called to mind a list I made when I quit my job 5 years ago. So I decided to look it up! This was in a journal from 2013. I've highlighted the ones I completed.
Quit my job.
Write a book.
Teach Yoga Full Time
Finish My Kitchen
Speak in public about my journey
Refinish the hardwood floors
Travel to Colorado
Take an award winning photo
Finish Yoga Teacher Training
Build a new patio
Start nutrition classes
Plan a motorcycle vacation (too late now, Motorcycle sold :(
Go to the symphony
Have lasik surgery
Visit my sister in Pittsburgh
Landscape the backyard
See the Grand Canyon
Buy a Jeep (well half way ~ My husband bought one)
I've accomplished a lot of things in five years, but they weren't on the list. So...
I left a corporate career to pursue my passion for teaching yoga and meditation because I knew how wonderful the benefits were and I saw a need for a different style of teaching. I knew it wouldn't be easy or overnight success. It has taken a lot of energy to make it five years and for that I am proud and blessed. As I look at this list, though, I see the promises to myself that I've put off. I know they say, "If you really want something you'll find a way, if you don't you'll find an excuse." Well I found away for somethings and honestly bailed on some others. Not because they weren't important to me, but because I went back to old patterns. In class, I remind my students how our muscles have memory and that it takes time and practice to retrain them. The same goes for our mind. If I've spent most of my life breaking promises to myself or avoiding making commitments to myself in the first place, this will continue to take place because that's what I'm accustomed to. When I sit down and set a goal, I have to really sit with it to see what my previous behavior was surrounding similar circumstances. Here's a perfect example: I get asked a lot if I want to join or attend networking groups. At first when I started teaching, I thought it would be good exposure so I went when I was invited as a guest and gave my 30 second elevator pitch to the group. Then after the meeting I would be mobbed by people wanting to know more about yoga and how my teaching was different etc. I probably agreed 6 times in the first year to attend and not once did someone come to a class. Now I know those relationships are cultivated over time, but what I also noticed was that business owners are usually the last ones who take their self care seriously. They might for a minute but duty calls and yoga and meditation (or any form of self care) get put on the back burner. Hmmm. Interesting. So, anyway, I stopped accepting invitations to be a guest and, or to fill in for someone when they were gone. It just wasn't for me. It was hard for me to say no at first because I didn't want to disappoint, but then I realized, doing something I don't want to do that doesn't get me any return on my time, is taking away from my freedom. So it became easier for me to say No.
Blowing off your five mile walk today because you got a late start might seem like no big deal, but even the small promises have a huge impact. Keeping a promise to our self sends a clear message to the Universe that I am enough! I am important. Our ego will chime in forsure with excuses and "yeah buts". I don't have time, too many chores, not enough money, lack, lack and more lack. Here is what I am learning. I deserve to keep my promises to myself. If I don't then why would anyone else? When I blow myself off, I will recognize it and I will correct it, immediately. I will start small and not over commit even to myself because, that is failure waiting to happen and I don't want to fail myself! So I recommit myself to clear actions to myself and what is important to me. And I believe 100% when I do this, all other things in my life will fall into order. I say YES to ME! Do you say yes to YOU?