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Learning to Give Yourself Grace

Giving yourself a break is easier said than done. We can preach to others about how they shouldn't be so hard on themselves, yet we are almost always our own worst critics. Why is it that we can't do as we say when it comes to our own actions and wellbeing?

Take me, for example. This is the first time I have written a post here since September! And I have thoroughly beat myself up for it. But when I give advice to friends or family members about things they have put off, I'm quick to tell them that it's okay to take a step back if you aren't really "feeling it."

If you have been putting something off and you're feeling bad about it, try not to be too hard on yourself. A good place to start is by figuring out why you're putting something off. Only then will you be able to move forward. Need some tips? Perfect! Let's dive in!


Find the source of the holdup.

Before you have any chance at moving forward, you've got to figure out why you've been putting "your thing" off. Do you have too much going on in your life already? Are there other things that are taking priority? Do you just not feel as excited about it as you once did? Do you not have the resources you need to make it happen? Are you afraid to take that step? There are a number of reasons that could be the cause of your procrastination, and figuring yours out will help you decide what to do next.

No matter which of these things is holding you back, you shouldn't be embarrassed or mad at yourself. Every one of those thoughts up there is natural. We all have a lot going on in our lives and some things just don't seem as important as others. And feeling afraid for what the future may hold is something we all experience. It's important to remind yourself that what you're feeling is nothing to be ashamed of.

In fact, it may even be a combination of several things. In my case, for example, I know that several factors were causing me to put off coming back to my blog. In March I started Sadie's Purpose, and I worked hard all year trying to get it off the ground. I'm very proud of all that my team and I accomplished in less than a year. But it did take a lot of my time, and that's okay.

I'd be lying if I tried to say that I avoided the blog only because I was so busy with Sadie's Purpose though. I was also feeling a bit burnt out. When I started TBL my goal was to publish two to three times each week. For a while, I did fairly well with that, but it became a lot of work and felt less like fun. So, "I'll do it tomorrow" became my mantra. Then, to quote Garth Brooks, tomorrow never came.

It might take some time before you feel ready to face the music and be honest with yourself about what is keeping you from getting down to doing whatever it is you need or want to do. It might take even longer before you're ready to share your thoughts with the world. But once you get to that point, I can almost guarantee it'll be a weight off your shoulders and you'll be ready to make things happen. It will be your light bulb moment.

I figured it out, now what?

Once you have figured out and admitted to yourself exactly what has been holding you back, you're ready to make a plan to get back on track. Don't try to force anything or rush into anything- you might end up back where you started. Take the time to come up with a plan that you are confident will work for you. Here are some tips:

  • Jot down some goals- for many people, simply having a list of things they want to accomplish (think to-do list) helps them get those things done. The physical act of checking something off a list is motivation to get the task done.

  • Set up for success, not failure- don't expect to get everything done at once. If there are six goals on your list, aim for one per day, or one each week if you know that's what will work best for you.

  • Minimize distractions- When you're working on your goals, try to do it in a quiet space without distractions. If you know you need peace and quiet, maybe wait until the kids are in bed in the evening to get started.

  • Reevaluate your priorities- have you ever said that you don't have time to read, but you binge watch Netflix for three hours at night? How about you don't have the money to take that professional development course you say you're interested in, but you get the newest gadget every year? We're all guilty of that at times, but if we really want to make something happen, we've got to... well... make something happen. No one will do it for us.

  • Make it a habit- it may seem tough at first to start (or get back to) doing the things on that list, but I promise that once you have been doing it for a while, it will become easier. New things often feel overwhelming at first, but you'll learn to navigate them and they will become routine like everything else.

For my situation, I decided that posting to a blog three times a week, especially while growing Sadie's Purpose, was probably not feasible for me. I would end up feeling pressured and it would not be enjoyable, so I wouldn't do it. My new plan is to post once a week. I will post every Friday afternoon. It will be predictable and become like a habit for me. I am a creature of habit so I think this new plan will work much better.

Once you have determined what thing or things have been keeping you "stuck" and have come up with your own plan, it shouldn't take long before you feel like you're moving in the right direction again. Nothing happens overnight, but being honest with yourself and knowing you have a direction to follow towards your goal will help a lot.

Above all else, give yourself grace!

Remember, through everything, give yourself grace and don't beat yourself up. Don't compare your journey to anyone else's. All those "success stories" you read about on social media? Those are either lies or they only share the good stuff. They don't share the sleepless nights, the child-like tantrums when something didn't go their way (yes it's a thing, and that's okay), and the days they wanted to give up.

You made your plan, so remember your steps. Remember your reasons for each step of your plan. Remember that we all get things done at a different pace. Keep your eye on your goal and you WILL get there! I'm rooting for you!

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