Here’s a New Year’s resolution you can live with . . . which doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.  In fact, lots of us find this is one of the most difficult things we ever do.  And too often we don’t do it.

For some, this idea is so farfetched the idea has never even crossed their mind.

Are you ready to hear it?

You don’t have to lose ten pounds, quit smoking, get to the gym, or read all those books on your “must read” list before another year goes by.

Or . . . maybe you do.  But it’s not because you HAVE to, it’s because you WANT to.

This year . . . all year . . . . make a resolution to take care of  yourself . . .  first!

Before all those day-to-day “to do’s” absorb every spare minute, I want you to carve out some non-negotiable, do-it-for-me space and take care of yourself in whatever way those words mean to you.

That’s it.

Make a resolution to put yourself, your happiness, your health, your well-being  first.  Before your spouse. And your kids. Before your friends, your job, your parents, your neighbors, before anyone else who comes into your space.

Take care of YOU before anyone else and I promise you’ll have a year like no other.

Can You Actually Get Away With Doing This?

I heard this piece of advice a long time ago and when I share it with people they initially give me a kind of, “What? Are you crazy? How can you possibly be so self-centered???” kind of look.

It sounds that way, doesn’t it? But I assure you it’s not. We are just so out of practice it only seems like it’s a selfish way to run our lives.

Here’s what happens: If I put myself first, I’m taking care of my needs and what is best for me. That means I eat right and yet I’m still enjoying my favorite foods in moderation.   I exercise, but not obsessively. I spend time with people who make me happy. I engage in activities that put a smile on my face. I allow enough time to pursue my interests and have a balance in my life of all the things I enjoy and the things I don’t enjoy so much but must be tended to.

If I’m taking care of myself first, I’m an example to my kids of what a healthy balanced life looks like. I’m not spending every waking hour giving to everyone else with nothing left in the tank for me at the end of the day.

If I’m putting myself first, I’m doing things that are best for me. Not necessarily someone else’s definition of what’s best.  I’m living life with my personal moral compass & values and not blindly following whatever happens to be trending at the moment.   Moms?  Dads?  Isn’t that a message you’d like to send to you kids?

If I take care of myself first I’m happier!

The Hardest Part Is to Start  . . . So Just Start!

This isn’t a get out of jail free card to check out of all the dirty work. Because really . . . that’s selfish. There’s still a career to manage, people to care for, chores to be done, obligations to be met. It’s simply  figuring out how to manage all those outside forces which, if not kept in check, suck the life out of us and pretty soon we’re zapped at the end of the day.

I have a friend who takes a yearly get away all by herself. It’s a little bit of yoga and meditation and exercise and finding some inner peace. No one she knows goes with her and if asked, they really aren’t invited. It’s a little bit of solace in her very hectic world. That’s putting yourself first.

I know someone else who excuses his children from the room when they are loud, or fighting, or sassy, or belligerent, or just being a flat out pain in the ass. He doesn’t get angry and holler. He just asks them to take it away from his space and come back when they’re in a mood to be social. He says they’re draining his energy and he prefers to have lots of it so off they go.  That’s taking care of yourself.

It’s stating what you WILL do instead of grudgingly agreeing to something you don’t want to do and kicking yourself 100 times later for saying “yes” when you really wanted to say “no”.

It’s making time for your partner for a special date night.  An invitation for only the two of you.  No kids.  No friends.  No distractions.  No one else.  It’s a few hours or a weekend or a special lunch to reconnect and remind yourself of why you both connected in the first place.

Don’t Try to Be Something You’re Not

How many times do we get involved with so many obligations in our day that we forget to take care of our own personal wants & needs?

Does that happen to you?  It has if you’ve ever said to yourself or anyone who would listen,  “How come I never get to do the things I really want to do?”

And often if we’re thinking like that, we’re feeling frustrated at losing the stuff that’s important to us.  Frustration leads to anger and resentment and who wants either of those emotions running the show?  Is there anyone in your life who wants to be around when you’re feeling angry and resentful?

I didn’t think so.

So the next time someone asks you to do something you really don’t want to do or simply cannot do because you lack the time, what will you do?

You will politely tell them no. Because you’re going to focus on the people and things that make you happy.  First.

Do you regularly take time for yourself? Do you schedule special time with those you love? Do you fill your days with productivity without going into overdrive?  Are you ready to take the challenge and this year, take care of yourself  first?