Many of my conversations recently with my clients and prospective clients have been around the topic of how to stop letting ourselves down. And it’s a subject that’s actually really timely for me as I work on my book and come to terms with the fact that the only person holding me accountable for sitting down and doing the work is me. Well, at least until February when my agent and publisher will start asking where the completed manuscript is 🤷🏻♀️
I’ve had a couple of days lately where I intended to work on the book and I even blocked off the day to do that and then … I didn’t. So obviously I started to wonder what’s up with that. I mean, I’m excited about the book and I worked really hard to get my book deal in place. So WTF? Why can’t I just sit down and do it?
I looked for that pattern in other areas of my life. And when I got real honest with myself, I found that I actually let myself down all the time. It’s not just something that shows up when it’s time to work on the book. (PS it never is.)
Every Sunday, I sit down and plan out each day of the upcoming week in an attempt to ensure that I stay on top of projects and don’t push everything off until the end of the week (or worse, the weekends). It’s a genius plan.
But then when the time comes to execute the plan for the day, anytime I can push something off, I do. Time and time again. Ugh! There goes all that brilliant planning. And it also explains why I’ve been working so much on the weekends to stay on top of deadlines.
Day to day, it doesn’t feel like such a big deal to push off seemingly insignificant stuff. But it adds up and now I’ve created a habit where I let myself down every single day. It’s no wonder that when it really matters I can’t seem to come through for myself.
Enough already — it’s time to work on it.
But how exactly does one break this pattern? How do you stop letting yourself down over and over again? I’ve got some ideas.
(1) Practice keeping promises to yourself. You build trust with yourself the same way you do with others — by being in integrity with yourself and doing what you commit to do. For me, it becomes easier to do once I become aware of the pattern. But the best way to start developing trust in yourself is to make and keep small promises to yourself every day. It’s a skill you have to practice. Start with small stuff — something realistic and attainable — like committing to wash your face every night before bed, journaling for five minutes a day, or making your bed every morning. Then once you’ve got a good track record rolling, build on it and grow it over time. I find it always helps to remind myself that if someone else treated me this way — failing to follow through and bailing on commitments — I’d think they were a jerk and cut them out of my life. I definitively don’t want to be that person to myself.
(2) Self-care, self-care, self-care. Let’s face it, most of us are so much more okay with letting ourselves down than we are with letting others down. So when we get tired, run out of daylight, or just can’t do anymore, most of us will look at our list and axe our commitments to ourselves instead of the commitments we’ve made (or feel we have) for others. Most of can do something about the number of commitments on our plates but if you’re convinced that you can’t, you need to up your self-care game to accommodate the work load. Prioritize sleep. Eat better better quality foods that provide more sustainable energy. Set sides time each day to meditate. Move your body every day in a way that feels good. How do you expect to have the energy to take care of your commitments to yourself and everyone else if you don’t take care of you? If you are consistently only getting 5-6 hours of sleep each night and feeding your body whatever’s quickest, cheapest, easiest or closest, and neglecting your needs, how long do you realistically expect to keep it up before you crash?
What’s one promise you can make to yourself this week? What’s the game plan for keeping that promise?