Most of us don’t treat ourselves very well. Sometimes, it plays out as perfectionism. Unless everything we do is 100% perfect, we tell ourselves it’s no good. Some of us work ourselves to death and can’t say no to anyone, even when it is damaging to our own well-being. Many of us use more subtle ways to torture ourselves, like not eating healthy, not exercising, and constantly berating ourselves for not being thin enough, rich enough, or good enough. 2024 is upon us, and here we go again.

Around December 31st of every year, we make this impossible list of New Year’s resolutions that we cannot realistically achieve so that failure makes us feel even worse.

For example, we vow to visit the gym three times a week in the coming new year. The first time we missed a visit because our boss asked us to work late, we felt guilty. That guilt grows into shame when one missed visit becomes two and then ten. We finally give up, surrendering to failure. That one failure sets off a chain reaction of negative thoughts in our heads, which can further damage our self-worth and self-esteem.

2024 is the year to stop doing that. Use this self-care cheat sheet to start treating yourself better this year. You and your loved ones will benefit if you do.

Self-Care Tips for 2024

Treating yourself better starts with a mind shift. Don’t make a big list of New Year’s resolutions you cannot achieve. It’s a setup for failure. Instead, make a short list of some things you want to include in your life this year, such as:

  • More Patience
  • More Peace
  • More Acceptance
  • More Gratitude
  • More Love
  • More Kindness
  • More Compassion
  • More Forgiveness
  • Less Resistance
  • Less Resentment
  • Less Reactivity
  • Less Anger
  • Less Fear
  • Less Judgment

Consider these things as gentle reminders of how you want to be in the new year. Ironclad goals tend to stress people out, and who needs more of that? Use generic ideas of how you want to live, not specific outcomes or strict goals.

Figure Out What It Means to You

Now it’s time to think about what these things mean to you. Let’s take peace. What does more peace look like to you? It might mean sitting by the fire on a cold winter night, reading a good book, and sipping hot cocoa without worrying about a thing. More peace in your life might mean less confrontation with family members, friends, or co-workers. It’s a very personal thing, and you must figure out what you need to do to make it happen.

Achieving my list above will take some work. If you are looking for more peace or less reactivity in your life, you may need to make some changes. Perhaps you spend less time with people who trigger you to feel bad about yourself or overreact. Write down a solid plan for achieving these things, and if you mess up or don’t do it perfectly, let that be okay. This is just a suggestion to help you live a better life. It’s not life or death.

Writing things down works better in the brain, and you are more apt to stick with it and be successful if you do. I am using the new Apple Journal app to make my list a reality. Every night at around 8 p.m. I find something inspiring on Instagram or Twitter with a beautiful quote supporting one of my goals. It may be about how to be less judgmental or cultivate more gratitude in my life. Then, I write in the journal about how I plan to do it or have done it that day. It’s my commitment to make 2024 a better year in many ways.

Self-Care Cheat Sheet

Some small ways to enjoy life more this year include:

Say No More Often: Don’t agree to everything everyone wants of you. You have the right to say no. You don’t even have to have an excuse. Many of us feel we must always help everyone, and that mindset depletes us and sets us up for resentment.

Make “Me Time a Priority:” Every single day, take time out for yourself. Meditate, draw, read, drink a soothing cup of tea, but do something just for you. Even if it’s only ten minutes, it counts. It’s you putting yourself first, and that matters. You are telling yourself that you are a priority that’s worthy.

Be Creative: We all have creativity within us. Don’t worry about the results. Pick up that paintbrush, pen, chainsaw, or whatever, and start creating. Let your mind and body get completely immersed in your creative outlet for as long as possible. Do it often. Creativity feeds your soul and improves your health.

Stop Listening: Stop listening to that voice inside your head that tells you that you did something wrong, you should be doing something else and criticizes everything you do. When you hear your mind saying you should be, do, think, or feel something different, pause and redirect your thoughts to something nicer, like, “I am only human, and humans make mistakes, and that is okay.” Turn every negative thought into a positive one.

Rest More: Take more naps. We could all use more naps. Most of us run ragged, trying to get so much done every day, and in the end, will any of that matter? No. Our bodies and minds need rest now, not when we are dead when it’s too late.

Treat Yourself: Buy that laptop you have been eyeing, go see that show, or invest in something just for you. Stop waiting on life. Do it now. Treat yourself to something special because you deserve it! Life is short; if you don’t do it now, you may never get the chance.

Surround Yourself with Support: Spend less time with people who put you down and bring out the worst in you. Even if that means spending less time with family or people you consider friends. Surround yourself with good people who lift you up and make you feel supported and inspired. People who drain you are not good for you. Cut those emotional ties and turn towards something better. Give your time to those who love, respect, and care about you. You only have so much to give; give it to those who matter.

Start Journaling: Journaling is a great way to express yourself and process your emotions. It’s also a fantastic tool to gauge your progress with a project or life in general. Looking back at how you solved a problem can pave the way for more success in your life. It’s also very therapeutic.

Let 2024 Be Your Best Year Yet!

Let’s face it: the last few years have been hard. The pandemic and social and political issues have plagued our world, making life seem impossible. Let’s break out of these unhealthy patterns and forge a new path, a gentler path towards something better. Let’s not start off by setting unreasonable goals and putting even more pressure on ourselves.

If something you are doing is making you miserable, make a change now. Make 2024 your best year yet to be happy, content, peaceful, creative, and grow as an individual. No one will do it for you; you must put one foot in front of the other to get started. Let’s start together right now!

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