Every year during the holidays I do something stupid. It’s not the same thing every year, but it does happen every year. I may say something inane. I might accidentally blow-off an appointment. This year it was getting getting my kids dressed in their holiday outfits, loading up the car and heading to Christmas brunch with the grandparents only to realize after 20 minutes of driving that brunch was the next day.
I hate making these mistakes. It’s embarrassing, disappointing and I’m sick of it happening. So I’ve decided to figure what the heck is going on and come up with a plan to minimize my gaffs.
Five minutes later…
Ok, I’ve got it completely figured out. It didn’t take months of research to identify the problem. It was staring me right in my worn down face. I have taken too much on and am overwhelmed. Therefore, my brain has lost its normal ability for remembering and properly editing my words and actions. As a result, I get sloppy. I actually feel dumber.
I really do not like feeling this way. It’s not that I never normally make mistakes, of course, like any other human being, I do. However, this year my holiday time blunders really got my attention. You see, I have big things planned for next year and it really hit me that if I’m going to have any chance of achieving my goals, I’m going to have to do a better job of protecting my well-being.
Like most ambitious entrepreneurs, I value hard work, attention to detail, punctuality and thoughtfulness. I also know in order to deliver excellent results both for my clients and for myself, I need to be excellent. Which brings me to the plan…
Extreme self-care is my theme for the new year. I am borrowing the phrase from life coach, Cheryl Richardson. I invite you to adopt it as well. Here is what I know. As an entrepreneur:
You are your business.
Your body is your most valuable asset.
Your brain is only creative when it is well fed and rested.
You can only give your clients the best service when your own well is full.
A healthy, energized, creative entrepreneur makes more money & has more job satisfaction than one that is tired and overwhelmed.
I also know you can’t just pay lip service to self-care. Just like any other important priority you have to plan and schedule it. To succeed you need tools and a strategy. There are many, many to choose from so I invite you to make your own list.
Here are the ones I’m committing to this year:
1. Starting the day with some kind of centering ritual such as yoga, meditation, EFT tapping, reading personal development books etc.
2. Writing out my plan for each day, week, month and year so I can see what I have on my plate and what I’ve committed to so I don’t take on too many projects.
3. Planning far in advance. I recently read the blog of an entrepreneur who adopted a fashion designer schedule. She planned June in January and Christmas in July. It may seem excessive, but there’s no reason Christmas, birthdays or deadlines should sneak up on us. We all know they are coming and the sooner we plan, the less pressure there is.
4. Not scheduling everything in my calendar back to back. I will purposely leave pockets of space for regrouping and thinking.
5. Pre-scheduling consistent appointments for self-care. Things like acupuncture, chiropractor, massages etc. are usually the first things I forget about and yet the most important to keeping me healthy and calm.
6. Making a “This is how you can help me list.” This is also from Cheryl Richardson. Instead of just asking for more help, the idea is to have a specific list you give to friends, family or employees. For example, instead of asking for more support, the list might say “Go to the hardware store to pick up a new shovel.”
7. Going outside every day for at least 1/2 hour. Sounds easy, but it does not always happen. Getting outside, smelling the fresh air and looking at nature is one of the most restorative things we can do.
As I said, there are a multitude of other self-care rituals you can use. The key is committing to them. When you decide your list, you may want to print it out and put it somewhere you will see it often. Creating new habits takes practice, but the results are worth it. I’m banking on it.
I love hearing your voice!
What self-care rituals will you commit to in 2014?
Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.
If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.