Create the life you want month by month with My Life Goals Journal by Andrea Hayes. Intentions are the seeds to achieving our goals, but many of us need help to harness the power of our intentions and put them to good use. In this practical and inspirational journal Andrea Hayes sets out a step-by-step strategy to help you identify your true goals, find clarity and peace in a busy world and work towards achieving the life you want, one small step at a time. In this extract we look month 2 ’Love and self-care’.
Here are some ways to start taking care of you.
Loving yourself fully and completely has a lot to do with the language you use about yourself. Use words to describe yourself that are positive and loving. Notice today how many times you say negative things about yourself and make an effort to stop.
Switch the words ‘I should’ to ‘I could’ or ‘I would like to’. ‘Should’ limits your choices and immediately puts pressure on you. It is simply self-inflicted stress that you don’t need. For example, instead of saying ‘I should stay late at work to finish this project,’ try ‘I would like to clear my desk before tomorrow so I could stay on an extra hour tonight and get this done.’
Learn to say no. If you’ve been asked to do something or feel like you ‘should’ do something, ask yourself, is it something I really want to do? Learn to say no to things that are not what you want. It is important to say no to people and activities that drain you or fill you with negative energy. If you find it very hard to say no, instead of committing to things try saying, ‘Let me get back to you on that’ – it gives you time to really consider if you want to say yes.
Remember to love yourself first and keep your unique individuality alive. You deserve and need as much of your own attention as your partner does, so instead of always thinking of your partner first, remember you will be a better partner if you give yourself time for you. When you feel happy you will make the people around you happy.
Are you a people pleaser? Do you like to keep the peace even if it means doing more than your share of the work load? It is an act of self-love to apply some boundaries to your work. By setting reasonable and fair expectations at work, you can relieve the unnecessary guilt of not being able to please everyone all the time.
Put yourself first by focusing on friendships that stem naturally from a place of joy and compatibility. When you’re surrounded by people who are similar to you, and who are equally kind and loving, you no longer need to sacrifice yourself to make the friendships work.
We can all lose touch with who we are and we can forget the simple pleasures that make us happy. By setting a small amount of time aside each day to get in touch with yourself you can easily re-evaluate how your day went. Think about:
Don’t be afraid to ask yourself what makes you happy.
A big act of self-love is accepting that you cannot do everything alone and sometimes it is OK to ask for help – in fact, it can be essential. You may have been raised to believe it is a sign of weakness to look for assistance and you like to hide your flaws and imperfections. Or maybe you feel that by asking for help you are going to be a burden on others. But, trust me, the people who love you will be only too happy to help and there is no shame asking for it every now and then.
Make it your intention this month to fall in love with yourself. Pamper yourself. Do anything that uplifts your spirit. This can mean being with those you love, petting your dog or cat, going for a walk, sitting quietly by yourself – anything that puts you in a better-feeling place. Give yourself permission to do things that you love. If you can’t think of ways to pamper yourself then we have some work to do – maybe giving yourself time is the first act of self-love.
DARE OF THE DAY
Try to sit and be still in nature today for a few minutes. Find a safe place to focus your attention on your breath. Start breathing in and out slowly, without effort – allow each breath to come and go with ease. Let go of thoughts about things you have to do or commitments you need to attend to later in the day. Just sit in silence and be still in nature. Breathe in this day, inhale its greatness, savour the experiences of today, as it will only last twenty-four hours and then be gone forever.
DARE OF THE WEEK
I have always used walking as a way to centre my thoughts, to really become mindful and to appreciate my life and all around me. Breathing and mindful walking go hand in hand. This week, take some time to yourself for a walk outside and try to breathe in a similar rhythm to your walking; make sure your shoulders and body posture are relaxed and you are really concentrating on each breath and each step you take.
Remember, it is easy to let your mind wander off, but when you notice you are thinking about something in the past or the future centre yourself with your breathing and bring yourself back to the here and now. Be aware of all your senses and keep your attention on everything around you and seeing yourself in that space.
Try to be aware of the beauty and wonder in all of creation. Try to walk on the grass or sand barefoot, really rejoice in the sounds and sights of nature and open your eyes to the magnificence in all living things.
DARE OF THE MONTH
Whatever the weather, get outdoors. Take an early morning walk or go out at dusk. Choose a lovely location where you can hear the breeze in the trees or waves lapping on the shore. Find solitude and sit peacefully meditating and being in the moment. Remember to breathe in and out slowly for a few minutes. Deep breaths are love notes to our bodies and you will feel grounded and peaceful with every breath. Enjoy the beauty around you.
Tip: If you can bring a camera or phone, take a photograph of where you are to remind you of each of the things that tickled your senses. You can include these photos into your journal too.
Keep up to date with Andrea on her website and on Twitter. To get the best from our expert authors catch up with @Gill_Books on Twitter, gillbooks on Instagram and like us on Facebook to find out about author events, competitions, news and much more.
Andrea Hayes is an Irish broadcaster whose tv shows include TV3’s hugely successful series Animal A&E and the 6 part series Dublin Airport: Life Stories. Andrea also presents Midday & worked as TV3’s continuity announcer for years. A familiar voice on Dublin’s Sunshine 106.8, presenting many shows during her time at the station. She lives with her husband and young daughter Brooke in Dublin. She is the author of Pain-Free Life: My Journey to Wellness (Mercier Press).