Put Yourself First
You are worth more, capable of more, and ARE more than you think you are.
You are strong. You are bold. You are beautiful. You are smart, creative, and have the ability to do a million different things. And I want you to say these things about yourself.
—And I want you to believe it.
It’s easier said than done, isn’t it? When I was in my early twenties, I was in a really bad place. I was hard on myself, said and thought terrible things about myself, and went out and partied and drank just to drown out the noise of my own self-hate and negativity.
I never, ever, ever want you to feel those things.
I want you to care for yourself just like you would anyone or anything else you care about
I’m intentionally writing this to you because it’s the holiday season, where we seem to place everyone’s needs before our own. But just this once, I am asking you to put yourself first. Before your family, friends, holiday shopping, or anything else—you rank number one on your own priority list.
Again, I know this is easier said than done. I know it takes time, and each one of you is at a different point within your own journey. But if you’ll humor me, I want to give you a quick analogy:
Taking care of yourself is no different than taking care of your home or your car. If you hate where you live, you won’t take time out of your day to clean your apartment, putting everything back in order, or placing any energy or effort into it at all. If you hate the car you drive, chances are it’s filled with a wardrobe’s worth of dirty clothes and water bottles.
The same goes for you. If you don’t care for yourself, you won’t put time or energy into making yourself a priority.
Put yourself first: A step-by-step guide
As coach, nothing frustrates me more than not being able to be there for my team.
I wish I could sit down with each and every one of you and tell you how fucking amazing you are, but I can’t. But know that every last one of you can email or DM me if you need to (firstname.lastname@example.org! It’s out into the world wide web!), and I will try to build you up.
But you have to work on taking care of yourself in your day-to-day life. Here’s how to do that:
Step 1: Surround yourself with people who build you up
If anyone—ANYONE—is negative or tears you down, then they do not deserve to be in your life. Period.
It took a lot of time and self-reflection, but I distanced myself from many negative people over the past seven-or-so years. Check your environment, assess who brings you down or who won’t change your ways, and get rid of that toxicity.
And hey—the same goes for you too! You are no longer allowed to speak badly about yourself. And the people surrounding you should constantly check you on this, calling you out if and when you do.
Step 2: Build a healthy, positive environment
Once you rid yourself of people who bring you down, it’s time to do the same spring-cleaning on situations and your physical environment.
I waitressed the first few years of my twenties to make ends meet, and ultimately left the restaurant industry because of what it did for my health. To create a healthy environment, you may need to make intentional tweaks to your career.
Do you work in a high-stress job where you type at a desk all day? Could you work in some afternoon mobility work or grab a coworker for a walk around the block midday? Do you work in the medical field where you find yourself pulling four consecutive twelve-hour-plus shifts? Is your fridge stocked with healthy food (and snacks) for when you come home exhausted from those shifts? Make small, but intentional changes in your daily life to build a healthy environment around you.
Step 3: Find your community
The first two steps in this process were all about making space. You were slowly peeling back layers of things and people who brought you down, making room for those which build you up.
As an adult, one thing I missed more than anything was my high school track team. When I walked into the world of group fitness, I found that camaraderie soon after.
You need to go find your team. It could be an in-person group or club. In the digital age of 2018, you can find a group online. In the TL Method, we have a private Facebook group for members, and I am shocked daily at how supportive and uplifting everyone is. These are the kinds of people you need in your life—people who remind you that you matter, and you are worth it.
Step 4: Set yourself up for success
You have all the pieces of the puzzle to make yourself your own first priority—now it’s time to put a plan into action.
To make this step work, you have to know yourself. What do you need to do every single day to feel good about yourself? If nothing else, make time for three things, every day of your life:
Mindset: Every time you have a negative thought, get outside and go for a walk. Listen to some upbeat music. Do ANYTHING that makes you feel better and gets you out of that bad headspace. Every night, my boyfriend I say three things we are grateful for, and it reminds us that we built a great life.
Food: Set time aside to meal prep, so you can be proud of the choices you make. Oh, and drink a shit ton of water.
Movement: Be realistic with your goals here. If you haven’t worked out in months, don’t try to be a hero and say you’ll workout six days a week. Find time for yoga, mobility, or two workouts per week. Find an accountability buddy to help you stay on track.
Believe that you are better
This is really what it comes down to.
The people you surround yourself with and your environment can help, but deep inside you have to believe you are worth every second of this time and energy. When you decide to make a change for the better, don’t half-ass it. If I teach you nothing else, remember that you ALWAYS use your full ass (insert peach emoji.)