Cherishing yourself means doing the things that are good for your mind, body and soul. They may go against your innate predilection for leisure and comfort, but in the long run, they will help you achieve a sustained level of happiness. However, the increasingly demanding and frequently hectic lifestyles that we have to adapt to have made us forget to love ourselves and look after our health and well-being.
Always think long-term gain versus a self-perceived short-term loss. And act accordingly. For example, sacrificing that extra hour in bed to go for your morning run will give you such a sense of achievement that will become your fuel for accomplishment for the entire day. Likewise, choosing a healthy snack instead of a high-processed sugary one will keep you fuller for longer and proud of your choice, even though in the first few minutes you might still be craving the more tempting alternative. Or, getting out of your shell and going to speak with people at an event where you don’t know anyone, instead of taking the easy way of just sitting in your comfort zone, will feel daunting during the intro phase, but it will boost your morale and energy due to the adrenaline rush that social interactions give us.
After all, extraordinary things seldom happen to our daily lives. The only way we can infuse some thrill into our daily existence is by attaining the sense of pride which comes from doing the right things every day. It’s all about educating our minds to dictate the whims of your bodies and not the other way around.
Change in the way we act can only come about by replacing one bad habit with a new good one. Psychological research by The British Journal of General Practice shows that it takes on average 66 days to form a new habit. So, make self-discipline become habitual, by seeking to bring about the change(s) that will transform you into the best version of yourself.
Initially, aim for small and manageable changes, because not achieving what you’ve set your heart on can be discouraging. Select the changes you wish to make on the basis of the personal value they bring to you (such as, eating fruit & veg to feel energetic & vibrant or exercising more to feel active), rather than to satisfy external demands such as doctor’s recommendations or peer pressure. Doing this will make them feel like easier targets and monitoring the progress you are making towards them will give you a sense of control, whilst keeping you motivated to keep going.
Small changes can greatly benefit good health in the long run. For example, slight adjustments to your diet can aid long-term weight management and small amounts of light physical activity can go a long way in boosting your mood and self-pride. Also, simpler actions become habitual more quickly. What’s more, the achievements you attain whilst working to change your behaviour for the better, however small, can increase self-efficacy, which can in turn stimulate the pursuit of further changes. For example, forming one ‘small’ healthy habit may thereby increase self-confidence for working towards other bigger health-promoting habits. What’s more, doing the behaviour you seek to implement gets progressively easier. So you only have to maintain your motivation until the habit forms, as after that the new behaviour becomes ‘second nature’.
Being proud of the way you live should be your ultimate goal day-to-day. Taking wise decisions that bring about long-term peace to your mind and long-term wellness to your body should be the guiding principles of your everyday actions. So, do the right thing and love yourself.