Every year, we try to be a better person. We want to improve what we do and how we present ourselves to the world. There is always an opportunity for improvement. That’s why New Year Resolutions are popular. While most of our resolutions focus on improving some aspects of our intelligence quotient, as we get older, focussing on the emotional quotient becomes equally important, if not more.

This year, I decided to include a few self-care pointers along with my quantifiable goals. Self-care is not only about pampering yourself externally but working towards healing and caring for your soul. It’s about being there for yourself, believing in yourself, respecting yourself, never giving up on yourself and so much more.

Here are my Top 5 self-care goals for this year:

Give yourself credit

I’m confident in my abilities. I can talk about myself without feeling embarrassed. But when it comes to accepting compliments, I’ve always felt that people exaggerate what I’ve done. Wary about getting the compliments to my head, I went the other extreme and question if the compliment was worth it or if people were just being nice. It’s taken some time, but I’m getting there. I’ve realized that as much as confidence is important, giving yourself credit for what you’ve done is also important. Acknowledging your efforts (instead of waiting for others to notice) is of paramount significance to how you see yourself in your eyes. Yes, it might not always be the most sensational success story, but hey – it’s your story. You need to be your cheerleader.

Stop comparing yourself

We talk about improving our self-worth and confidence. And then we commit a blunder by evaluating how we stand against others. The world likes to always compare us against our peers against some standards which we aren’t even aware of. Everyone is chasing different goals in their lives and success is a subjective term. What is someone’s dream, might be a casual occurrence in another person’s life. Everyone has different priorities in life. It is unfair to compare two individuals who might be working on the same path to achieve different objectives. Remember – apples and oranges. Everyone has a different story and don’t evaluate yourself based on someone else’s standards. Always evaluate yourself from the point where you started. That’s the best indicator of your success trajectory.

Write down your feelings

I can’t begin to tell you how magical it is to write down your feelings – especially when something is bothering you. Writing your thoughts, feelings and the emotions you go through is therapeutic because it feels like you explain what is going to a third person who has no idea This way, you vent those feelings and you might end up with a different perspective or notice a point you’d initially missed if you read your account from a third person’s perspective. It helps you understand your triggers and learn to respond better. There have been many frustrating situations in the past few months. Writing about the situation, how I felt, how I reacted and analyzing why I reacted has immensely helped me. It feels great to get some things off one’s chest, even if it is in the form of words in a Google doc. At least, Google wouldn’t judge me.

Don’t set unrealistic standards

It is not easy to find that perfect balance. While some of us are undermining ourselves, there are a few on the other end of the scale who think way too highly of themselves. This is because we either set too high standards for ourselves and end up thinking we are much worse than what we are. Or, we set too low standards for ourselves and we assume we are much better than what we are. When you evaluate yourself against a higher standard based and fall short every time, then you need to step down a little towards reality. The vice versa also holds. The good thing about measuring ourselves now and then is to track our progress and understand if we are capable of achieving our targets. It’s fine to adjust/lower your targets to achieve what is within your capacity. It is not good for you if you refuse to accept what you are capable of and keep aiming for something which is always beyond your reach.

Be easy on yourself!

You know what -it’s ok. Whatever you do, it’s fine. At times we tend to overthink and dramatize, but things are not always as bad as we imagine them to be. It’s ok to screw up and then realize your mistake and start over. It’s ok if you are not the best version of yourself every day. It’s ok if you are grumpy on some days and feel out of place. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to not meet your high expectations. We need to learn to be easy on ourselves. Allow some time off, but always remember to get back on track. Getting back to business doesn’t need to be hard on you if you know who you are, what you are capable of and set realistic standards for yourself. It is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard either.

This is the easy part. Writing about the importance of self-care. But the challenging part is incorporating this in our daily lives. And that’s where it gets tricky because unlike other habits, there is no standard, fool-proof way to handle them. It depends on each one of us and the kind of lives we lead. So, this year self-care is going to be on top of my list, on top of my mind. It’s not possible to measure these goals, so I am going to make a conscious effort to follow these pointers as much as I can. I may not have everything figured out by the end of the year, but I want to start working on them before it becomes too late.

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