Self-care and self-improvement can be easily confused. There’s some cross-over for sure. And yet, there is an important difference between them.
Self-care has, at its core, the intention of nurturing our wellbeing so that we can function to the best of our abilities.
Self-improvement frequently comes from a place of not feeling good enough.
When there is a healthier motivation, such as striving to be better while still believing we are already good enough, then it has a place within our self-care plan.
But when our motivation for self-improvement is to help us feel better about ourselves, or to seek external validation from others, then it’s not truly self-care.
And I often think that self-improvement is a much weaker motivation than self-care.
Sticking to new year resolutions is notoriously difficult. According to studies, 75% of us will maintain our new year resolutions for the first week of January.
But only 64% of us are still sticking to them by the end of the month, and that number has dropped to 46% by mid-way through the year.
Maybe if our reasons for choosing our resolutions came from a place of loving ourselves more, rather than being unhappy with who we are right now, we might have greater success with them.
This past year especially has shown us how important it is to take care of our health needs, on the mental and emotional levels as well as the physical.
So, for 2021 how about we resolve to focus more on being kind to ourselves and less on “improving” ourselves – and then beating ourselves up when we fall off that wagon.
That doesn’t mean our 2021 resolutions can’t include the typical examples like weight loss, training for a marathon, learning a new skill. Self-care does include exercise, healthy eating, and stress management techniques.
The key issue is the place within us that is choosing the new habits. Are we making these choices for our own personal wellbeing? Or are we making them to project a shinier, “better” impression of ourselves to those around us?
This matters massively.
It’s time to stop sabotaging ourselves and to nurture our wellbeing.
Look at the list of resolutions you may be making in your head. Put them down on paper and examine them. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to integrate this habit into my life? How will it benefit me?”
Also ask, “What might it cost me? And is that a healthy price to pay? Will the ultimate outcome be of true benefit to me?”
Get really honest with yourself. And if you sense you’re coming more from a self-improvement angle than a self-care one, then make some teaks. Tweak your motivation, not necessarily your resolution.
Get in touch with the part of yourself that knows what will truly serve you well. If that part of you can align with a resolution, then it’s ok to keep it. And you’ll probably succeed better with it.
But if that part of you feels nothing but unease around a resolution, then maybe you need to cross that one off your list.
It never helps to be over-ambitious with them anyway, if you want to be among the 46% at the mid-year point.
Set your resolutions purely from a place of self-love and watch how your habits unfold over the coming year.
First published on Newsbreak.com