St. Pat Yourself on the Back Day

Being overweight is no fun and we seem to be really good at reminding ourselves of our weight, of our perceived weakness. In fact, for some reason we are excellent at beating ourselves up over our body.  This month we are focusing on changing that practice.

One of the things that we tend to overlook is celebrating our wins. Believe me, you have plenty of them.

I can hear many of you muttering to yourselves that you don’t…and that is simply because you have trained your mind to ignore the highlights reels and instead focus on the “bloopers!”

With practice, you can turn this around. But like any new skill, it does take practice.

You are going to need a journal of some kind to take notes every day. Some people prefer a small pad that they carry with them at all times. Other people have a notebook they keep by their bed. You may want to use both…I will explain how and why.

First, here is the goal of the exercise: you are going to write down at least 5 things that you did right today…and every day…this month. You do not have to share this list with anyone else: the list is just for you. This is your opportunity to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

At the end of the day, review what you have done that day. Think about all the good things. Sometimes these things may be really small. Other times you will have big things on your list. In the beginning this will be a challenge if you are not used to acknowledging your accomplishments.

Having trouble coming up with 5? You are probably being too hard on yourself. One of the problems I had when I first tried this exercise was I was so critical about what I would deem a success that I struggled with the list. You see, we are used to judging ourselves negatively…what we do is never enough…so we feel like the things we write down as successes have to be huge.

If you are like me, then it might help if you look at your day as if you were reviewing what someone else did…just to help you temporarily depersonalize your activities. That way you can more objectively say, yes that was a good thing, oh…that was a success.

You can write down more than 5 if you like…but make sure you get at least 5 down. They can be as simple as getting in 15 minutes of exercise—that’s a big one…lots of people don’t do that…and when you do, you are taking big steps to improve you health! Another success often overlooked is drinking water. Did you eat vegetables today, providing your body with nourishing food? Write that down.

Not everything on the list needs to be, nor should they be, obviously about your health and fitness goals. In other words, don’t think you have to write only about what you ate or drank (or didn’t eat or drink) or how many steps you took today. Did you stop and appreciate the spring flowers today? Did you use any affirmations? Did you say something kind to someone today? Did you work on any projects today…at work? At home? A hobby?

It is not about WHAT you did…or how big those things are. It is simply about making a new pattern in our minds…one where we begin to SEE the good things we are already doing, and APPRECIATE those things and ourselves. By beginning to recognize that we DO good things, it is easier for us to realize that we ARE good people. Once we can accept we are good people then it is easier to believe that we deserve to be healthy. Once we believe we deserve to be healthy, that is when we actually will begin to BE healthy!

Right before you fall asleep is a good time to do this exercise. That way the positive messages get sent directly to your subconscious mind. It is like catching the express train. You will probably find that you wake up in a more positive mood, too.

If you can’t do this as the last thing before falling asleep, do it as late in the day as possible. If you have a child, you can help them by having them tell you 5 things they did that were success for the day. It is never too early to start this habit. Don’t judge their successes. If they say it was great because they saw a bunny, that’s fine. It doesn’t have to be a success in YOUR mind, just theirs. And if you have been struggling with coming up with your list then use their successes to help you come up with your own…and learn from their example and keep it simple!

Anytime you start to feel “less than”, unworthy, or like you are a failure, refer to your list. That is the advantage to having one main journal, as opposed to scraps of paper. This is a valuable tool—treat it like one. Your journal doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. It could be as simple as a 3 ring notebook or a binder that you fill with paper. But dedicate it to your journey. Don’t write your successes on the back of the shopping list. That being said, if you are finding it difficult to remember in the evening all the wonderful things you did during the day, you can jot down little notes throughout the day. You might not want to carry a big journal with you. That is when you can use a small notepad. This can be used for lots of things…you don’t have to write a lot on this pad…maybe just a word or two. Write down enough to trigger your memory later in the day.

If you decide to carry your journal with you during the day, then feel free to write more.

At the end of the day, even if you have created your list of 5 successes during the day, it is helpful to review the list so you see them all at once. This reminds you, again, late in the day when it will penetrate into your subconscious more easily, that you are a success!

Your first “assignment” is to get your journal, whatever shape or size works for you. Don’t worry about it being “perfect” or good enough…just start with something…don’t let getting a journal stop you from doing this exercise! Then, write down the date and “My Success Journal”…and now write down that you got your journal—and now you’ve gotten your first success down in writing!

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