This month, we’re talking about tools you can use to make healthy changes in your life, especially changes you find hard to make – things like:
- Eating a healthier diet
- Starting to exercise regularly
- Embracing your sensuality
- Creating a stronger marriage
- Starting your online business
- Writing your book
- Pursuing your dream
Or any other change that will help you enjoy better health, better relationships, or a more fulfilled life.
Today, let’s add another tool to the toolbox – deciding what you really deserve.
Women often say “I deserve…” when they feel stressed or tired or want to reward themselves. Things like “I deserve…”
- to eat that cake
- to drink that wine
- to lie on the couch and watch Netflix
- to spend $100 at Target
- to spend two hours on social media
- to put off that hard thing I want to do – but don’t want to face
And, of course, sometimes those things are true. Sometimes you deserve the cake, the wine, the Netflix binge, the shopping trip, or the lazy downtime. Sometimes, those things are self-care.
But other times, those things are sabotage. Why? Because they keep you from pursuing the thing you really want, the goal you want to achieve, the woman you want to become – the one who is worth the effort it takes to do hard things and stick with them over time.
And so, very often, “I deserve…” focuses on the short term – the thing that will help you feel happier, more relaxed, or less stressful right now.
But when you’re working to make healthy, happy changes in your life, you need to focus on the long term. Because big changes, the ones that lead to a healthier, happier, or more fulfilled life, take time. Sometimes those changes take a long time – and a lot of effort.
And the rewards when you’re in the “messy middle” of that kind of change leave a lot to be desired –
- the weight loss plan that takes a lot of work but isn’t yet changing the scale
- the exercise program that results in sore muscles but so far not much else
- the efforts to embrace your sensuality that don’t seem to be paying off
- the conversations with your spouse that don’t seem to be changing anything
- the work to create your online business that mostly ends in calls to tech support
All of these things (and hundreds of others like them) are steps on the road to creating a healthier, happier life. But they are not fun, and the end is not in sight.
And very often, you wonder if they’re worth all the work and effort and frustration. And maybe you wonder if you are worth all the work and effort and frustration. Because women tend not to give priority or assign value to their goals, their bodies, or their dreams.
And if you don’t prioritize or value those things, they become distant and feel unattainable. You can’t visualize them and you struggle to stay on track to reach them. You may decide, usually sub-consciously, that you don’t deserve them.
And when that happens, the things you believe you “deserve” get smaller. Easier. Shallower. So instead of “I deserve to do some meal prep, because eating well gives me energy and helps my body feel great” you end up with “I’m tired, so I deserve to sit down and read this trashy novel” or “I need to see what’s happening on Facebook. I’ll do some meal prep tomorrow.”
Or, instead of, “I’m going to work on my online shop for an hour, because I’ve been dreaming about selling my art online for 5 years,” you end up with, “The technology is killing me. I’m going to relax and put my feet up for a while. I’ll work on my shop later.”
You know how that works, right? You’ve done it 1000 times. Or is it only me? Because I do it all the time. I frequently sabotage the things I really want by deciding that I “deserve” something different in the short term. Like, “I deserve to eat this cake (despite my healthy eating goals), because I haven’t eaten sugar for 5 days.” Or “I deserve to waste time on Instagram, instead of working on that writing project I really want to finish this year.” Or “I deserve to drink this wine that’s not part of my weight loss plan, because it’s been such a stressful week/month/year/pandemic.”
A small “I deserve…” is also the woman who uses “shopping therapy” to reduce stress, even though she and her husband have committed to saving money for a house. And the woman who chooses television over exercise almost every day, even though she really wants to get fit and feel more comfortable in her body this year.
Do you ever find yourself shrinking your “I deserve…”?” If so, how can you stop sabotaging yourself out of achieving your goals and dreams? By redefining “I deserve…” and deciding what you really deserve. By going back to some of the earlier tools we discussed and deciding what kind of woman you want to become and affirming that you are worth the time and effort it takes to become that woman. By creating a mindset that helps you move forward and visualizing the change you want to make.
And by overcoming resistance (I’m fairly certain that the small forms of “I deserve…” are a form of resistance!) and knowing that when you fail you can pick yourself up, start again, and keep moving forward.
Use the Tool –
- This week, start looking at the times when you use “I deserve…” or something similar, particularly when the thing you “deserve” isn’t good for you, doesn’t help you achieve your goals, or doesn’t count as true self-care. Jot down some notes, and see if you can identify a pattern. Do you tend to say “I deserve” when you’re tired? Hungry? Stressed? Afraid? And what are you doing or where are you most often when you say or think it?
- Next, decide what you really deserve. Go back to the goal you’ve set for the next few months, or the dream you’ve decided to pursue, and think about what that means for you. What will it look like when you reach that goal or achieve that dream? Because that’s what you truly deserve.
- Then, decide how you’re going to bypass the small and short-term “I deserves…” What will you use to replace them when you feel tired or hungry or stressed or afraid? What’s are some better or healthier alternatives? And how can you keep moving forward, even when you need to slow down or take a break?
- And finally, be on the lookout for “I deserve…” When you say it or think it, train yourself to stop and say, “Okay, what do I really deserve?” Then do something that helps you reach that goal instead.
I’d love to know how this idea works for you. Leave a note in the Comments, or email me at hello @ healthylifetoolbox.com.
You can find all of the tools in the Healthy Life Toolbox here.