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Baby Step #12 | Celebrate (yourself)

This is the final installment of a 12-part series titled “Baby Steps.” On the first of each month, I post 1 tiny step toward better health that you can take every day for that month— without trying. Soon that tiny step will be part of your daily routine, and you won’t even remember you never did it before. The next month, add the next baby step. By the end of 2016, you’ll have accumulated 12 new healthy habits, and you’ll notice a difference—not day to day, perhaps, but definitely between any before and after photos you might take and any journal entries you might make. Check in during each month with a comment below and/or on Facebook – I’d love to hear about your progress!

If you’re new to the Baby Step series, you can catch up on the first 11 months by following the links below:

  1. starting your day with lemon water
  2. pausing to breathe
  3. eating your greens daily,
  4. turning off all screens at least 30-60 minutes before bedtime
  5. switching to sea salt in your kitchen.
  6. asking yourself, “Why is this happening for me (as opposed to to me)?”
  7. curing the sugar blues
  8. moving from “I have to” to “I get to”
  9. try on a new eating style
  10. developing an attitude of gratitude
  11. create a SOLE kitchen

If you’ve been following along all year, how’s that all going? What’s been easy? What’s been more difficult?

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This is it—the final baby step for 2016—and it is: learn to celebrate yourself!

I recently did a workshop I call (Dis)tress | De-stress for the Children’s Institute at Eastern Michigan University as part of an education series they hold for the staff and parents of children at the institute as well as the larger EMU community. During this workshop, we identify what our stressors are, how they make us feel, how stress affects us, and some tools we can use to reduce stress in our lives.

One of the participants mentioned that a big stress in his life is “when I don’t reach my personal goals,” something I think many of us can relate to, especially as we inch our way toward the New Year and reflect on those forgotten resolutions?

And our reaction to this sense of failure is to be judgmental, berate ourselves, or be hard on ourselves in other ways rather than getting curious. Was it a SMART goal (specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and time-bound)? Did we “chunk it up” into manageable baby steps? What derailed us—and was it internal or external? Or did we perhaps discover that it was not the goal to pursue, either for now or ever?

Perhaps most importantly, what went well? Did we move the needle in the right direction on the goal even if we didn’t reach it? Did we course correct and move toward a different goal?

A few of our baby steps this year have been exercises in developing a positive mindset: saying “I get to” when it feels like an “I have to,” developing an attitude of gratitude, asking “Why is this happening for (not to) me?” etc., and this month’s is no different.

I encourage you to look back on the year and identify what you did well, whether it was reaching a goal or making progress toward one or just surprising yourself by achieving something you didn’t even think of as a goal. Then CELEBRATE it!

There are plenty of people out there ready to knock us down—most often it’s about their baggage, not you—and I encourage you to stop looking to others to validate and celebrate your successes: praising yourself for what you have accomplished rather than chastising yourself for what you haven’t done can really change your mindset going forward, and rewarding yourself for a job well done (even a small one) will bring a lot of sweetness into your life.

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Celebrating yourself can take on a wide variety of forms—the only caution I would give you is that your self-reward should be appropriate to the goal achieved: downing a brownie sundae is not a good choice for losing weight, taking a week off from physical activity is not ideal for establishing a regular workout routine…. You get the idea!

This is where you can let your bio-individuality shine: my idea of an awesome reward is to get a new book out of the library and spend all day reading it, but that might not float your boat. Think about what you would like to receive as a gift…then give it to yourself! A massage? A night out? A night in? A bouquet of flowers? A cooking class? A manicure? Time alone? Time with loved ones? I’d love to hear your ideas, and remember, they don’t have to cost anything!

As you celebrate the holidays this year, don’t leave yourself out: you are worthy of gratitude, praise, and all sorts of blessings! Get in the habit of celebrating your victories, large and small, throughout the year.

Thank you for taking this journey of baby steps with me this year. I hope you’ve developed a few healthy habits along the way and keep moving forward toward your best health—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

I am thankful for your presence in my online village and wish you all good things and many blessings this holiday season and into the future.

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