I woke up this morning with a really bad headache and no desire to workout. My thought process was all over the place, everywhere from “you deserve to sleep in, take care of yourself” to “get up and do the damn thing, you never want to workout but you just do it.” Somewhere along the way I realized it’s friggin hard to balance self-care and self-discipline. We all need both at different times, but how do you know when you really need a day off or when you’re just making excuses?
I used to make excuses all the time. Every day actually. My previous routine would go something like this: lay out my workout clothes the night before and set my alarm 30 minutes early. When the alarm went off it was usually dark and cold outside and my bed always felt so much better, so I would snooze for an hour finding some excuse why I “needed to sleep.” Day after day I went through the same cycle of wanting to get into healthy morning routine, and then sabotaging myself with excuses, citing “self-care.”
Does your self-care ever become self-sabotage?
Right? When we say “I deserve this…” what is the intention behind it? Is it to avoid something that would actually benefit us (like working out or eating right), or is it because we might actually need it.
Self-discipline is essential in creating lasting positive change in your life. The weights don’t lift themselves! You have to get up and do the damn thing! And sometimes it’s pushing through those days where you really don’t want to, that we solidify the habits we wish to create. We need self-discipline, just as much as we need self-care.
I’ve been in phases of my life where I was all one, and none of the other. That’s not healthy either, and certain’y doesn’t lead to a happy and balanced life.
So how can we tell if our self-care excuses are really self-sabotage?
- Check in with your body. If you have a torn ligament, a fever, or a migraine it’s probably time to do some self care. BUT if you’re just low in energy, feeling sluggish, or a little sore from yesterday’s workout then you should probably get up and push through it. It’s not just doing the thing every day, it’s doing the thing when you LEAST want to do it that will really create those habits.
- Ask yourself, what do I WANT more? Your want has to be strong, right? If you want to meditate every morning, or if you want to practice yoga before the day starts, then you sure as hell better WANT to do it. If you want to lose the weight, or feel confident in your own skin, then you gotta WANT to press play on your workouts each day. So if you’re like me, laying in bed, contemplating going back to sleep or getting up, ask yourself what do I want more: to make another excuse, or to go after my dreams?
- Ask yourself what do I NEED more? This is where the balance part comes in. So you’ve identified what you want; now you have to be honest with yourself. Only you will know the answer to this. Do you need to sit on the couch and watch another episode of Pretty Little Liars or do you need to get up and move your body and elevate your energy? Usually the answer is going to point you toward doing the thing you don’t want to do.
- Make a plan: My plan is to exercise 5-6 days a week, I don’t have an assigned rest day, I just take it when I need it. That way when something comes up and I need to take a rest day, it’s always there for me, just not every day. The same goes for clean eating. Usually during week days I stick to a really clean eating routine, so if I get invited to a party on Saturday I can have some treats and not go through the whole psychological battle of whether I “deserve” it or not.
Always rely on your inner guidance system. When you connect to that deep knowing within, you can’t go wrong.
Take care of yourself,