Most of us have stellar integrity when it comes to keeping our word to others: Our word means everything. We would never let anyone else down, right? So why do so many of us struggle, year after year, to keep our word to ourselves? You might be surprised to learn that you are receiving some sort of benefit from breaking your commitments.
You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 18.
Welcome to The Design You Podcast, a show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth, and joy. Here is your host, Tobi Fairley.
Hey there. How are you today? Did things go well for you this week? Do you feel good about all you’ve accomplished in the last few days? Or have you even slowed down enough to celebrate anything and everything that you accomplished this week?
Well, I sure hope you have. Celebrating even small wins is something that is super important for us to do. And while we’re celebrating, let’s continue to celebrate you because I want to take a minute and say thank you, thank you, thank you. Yup, thanks for you, thank you for showing up here to listen to my podcast, whether this is your first time to listen or you listen every single week. I couldn’t appreciate you more for taking the time to listen to my content.
And there’s not much that I love more than helping other women like you, so I’m glad and so grateful that you show up and let me do that for you. I really, really mean that. So thank you. Okay, but I also hope that you are thanking yourself for showing up here today.
If you are listening to my podcast, you are likely what I’ll call a seeker. A person who looks for information and ideas to help you grow. And you are in the 1% of people of people on the planet that are interested in becoming a better person or a better version of themselves, and who actually do the work. So hurray, yay for you.
Okay, and today, I want to talk about that on our podcast. I want to talk about showing up for ourselves. Or we may call it keeping our word to ourselves. Because this is something that is not easy. It takes commitment, it takes getting your mind right. It takes creating habits. And just because you show up in one area of your life doesn’t mean you show up for yourself in all areas.
And we usually have a couple of trouble spots, don’t we, if we want to call them that? A couple of areas that we just don’t follow through even though we desperately want to follow through on something. And for some of us, we will follow through all of the time for other people. We have integrity and our word means everything if it’s to someone else. But not so much when it comes to keeping our word to ourselves and showing up for ourselves. And why is that?
Well, some of us think we don’t have time to work on or worry about ourselves. And some of us feel selfish when we do something for ourselves, and some of us think it’s hard and uncomfortable to do what we say we want to do, and we would rather take an easier route that feels less painful. But in the long run, it’s so much harder and so much more painful to not show up for ourselves.
Think about it. Most of the goals, especially the ones around New Year’s, when it’s New Year’s resolution time, are built around the areas and the things that you keep saying you will do for yourself but you never do. And isn’t it painful every year to start once again on those same areas that you never seem to follow through on?
It makes us feel like a failure, doesn’t it? And it makes us lose faith in ourselves, or our confidence takes a hit. And every time we commit or say we’re committing, once again, and then don’t follow through all the way to our desired result, it feels like we’re lying to ourselves.
And how do most of us feel about liars? Yeah, we don’t like them. We don’t believe them anymore, and we don’t trust them, right? So not showing up for yourself over and over again leads to not liking yourself, not having faith in yourself, not trusting yourself, and not believing in yourself. And all of that results in a big old dose of self-doubt and lack of confidence. And we’re doing this to ourselves.
So what can we do about it? Well, for me, the first step in changing this was really understanding the reason why I kept making decisions that weren’t in my best interest. I learned that if I was not doing what I said I wanted to do, then there was a competing desire that was benefiting me in some way that I didn’t want to give up.
For example, if we procrastinate working out because we’re laying on the sofa watching Netflix, the laying around and watching TV feels good and benefits us in some way or we wouldn’t be doing it. And if we’re honest, we would rather have the results that the laying around gives us, which may be resting or enjoying life, than the results we say we want to get with maybe say working out.
So for me, I noticed this in several areas of my life where I was overworking and other things that I said I wanted to quit, but the working or overworking was giving me a benefit that I just didn’t want to give up. So awareness is step number one to showing up for yourself. Seeing what choices you are making and owning them, even if they’re not the ones you say you want and taking responsibility for them and then deciding which we really do want. Say, the watching TV or the healthy body. And mapping out a plan to see if we can have both.
So step number two is to take baby steps to create a habit of showing up for ourselves. And this habit forming is called creating your minimum baseline. And you can do this in any or every area of your life if you want to. So many of us are more all or nothing sort of people. I know I’ve been an all or nothing person for a long time. So back to our couch scenario, an all or nothing person sits on the couch for hours or maybe years watching TV and then we have a thought about ourselves that creates a feeling that makes us want to say, get in shape.
But if we’re all or nothing people, what do we do next? Yeah, instead of just doing something smart and taking a baby step to start taking care of ourselves, many of us go from the nothing on the couch to the all, and we create some elaborate plan like, I’m going to run a marathon. And it’s not impossible to go from couch potato to marathon runner. It can be done.
But is it necessary? And is it even what we want or what we need to get where we say we want to go? Would putting some regular steps in place around food and exercise that are more doable make more sense than a marathon if we want to create long term health and wellness that we would actually stick to?
Well, yeah, probably. So a minimum baseline is the minimum number of days and for how long and in what way you will do something for a period of time until it’s a habit. Now, here’s an example. An example of minimum baseline would be I’m going to walk for five minutes a day three times a week as my minimum baseline for exercise.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. What happens when most of us hear this? We think, “Five minutes? Well, that’s not going to do anything for my health. What a waste of time. If I’m not going to do 30 minutes or an hour, then why bother?” But that’s the kind of thinking that keeps us on the couch, y’all.
Here’s why to bother with five minutes three times a week. It’s not about the health benefits. At least not yet. It’s about showing up for yourself. And it’s not very hard to show up for yourself for five minutes three times a week now, is it? You can do it between appointments, between commercials of your favorite network TV show, or right before you start to binge on Netflix for a few hours, right?
Five minutes doesn’t really create an either-or scenario. It’s not, I can work out or, I can work, or I can watch TV, or I can go to dinner, or I can go to bed. Because you can do five minutes. With only five minutes, you can knock it out and then go do those other things.
But it’s in the consistency that the habit forms. Show up for yourself five minutes, three times a week for a month or two and it’s a habit. And then and only then are you allowed to increase your minimum baseline to more than five minutes. And please trust me on this because I know you will do five minutes once, maybe twice, and then you will want to do 10 minutes or 30 minutes or an hour. And I hear you. I get it.
Once you’re on the treadmill and you have your running shoes on or you’re heading outside with your running shoes on and your headphones on and you’re ready to go, it’s just as easy to walk longer than your minimum. And you’re right, it is.
But you can accidentally undermine showing up for yourself with this kind of thinking. Remember, five minutes does not create an either-or situation. But 30 minutes or an hour might. And if you haven’t built a strong habit of keeping your word to yourself and showing up for yourself in this area, this is often what our attempts look like.
So here we go. Day one, five-minute walk, right? Day two, we’re like, forget that, 30-minute walk. Day two’s a 30-minute walk and we do it. Day three, 60-minute walk. Doing good, right? Day four, too sore to walk or work out at all, so we lay on the couch. Day five, think about working out, think about five minutes of working out. Still don’t work out, still on the couch.
Day six, 20 minutes complaining and resentful and thinking about what we should be doing, walking or exercising, and basically have an internal tantrum from our emotional child and then we still don’t work out and we convince ourselves we don’t want to be thin or healthy anyway. Back to the couch. Day seven, situation blows up at work or at home and we get distracted and walking just doesn’t happen, and we justify it because it wasn’t our fault and we had to handle the important situation at work.
That was day seven. Day 30, you forgot for three weeks you were even supposed to be working out and now you feel like a failure again and you have to start all over. You’re hopeless. Why bother? Back to the couch.
So do you know why I can speak to this scenario? Because I have been there far too many times to count. Because I now know that minimum baseline really works. So whether it’s eating right for just one meal a day three times a week or exercising for just five minutes a day three times a week, or working on something else like personal development, or self-care, or a new project for your business that makes you money, and you only commit to working on those things say, five minutes or maybe 15 minutes three times a week, minimum baseline is the holy grail to getting you in the habit of caring for yourself, for your business, and reaching your goals like you were never able to before.
It’s the shortcut to keeping your word to yourself. It’s like a life hack. It’s a baby step. Following through with the actual work or exercise step is easy because anyone can do the five minutes or the 15 minutes of something a few times a week. Anybody can do it. It’s not hard. But the mindset work of consistently doing the minimum version until it’s a habit is the hard part. Because your brain is going to keep telling you it’s stupid and it’s a waste of time and it’s for wimps if it’s only five minutes, so why bother.
But I want you to ignore your brain and keep bothering because if you can learn to show up for yourself consistently in this way and even one area of your life, it can be the gateway to showing up for yourself in all areas of your life all the time. And I think minimum baseline is the path to self-care.
But self-care may not be exactly what you think self-care is. Sure, you can set a minimum baseline to get a pedicure or a massage once a week for two months and your body will thank you. But what I want to introduce you to now and this idea of showing up for ourselves is my new favorite definition of self-care that I learned from a lady named Heather K. Jones, who is a dietician and a wellness coach that worked with Bob Green, you know, who was Oprah’s trainer before she started her own business.
And here’s what Heather says that self-care is. She says, “Self-care is showing up for yourself with respect and kindness on a moment to moment basis. It’s how you treat yourself, how you feed yourself, and how you talk to yourself,”
Wow, right? Wow. Self-care is not getting your nails done or taking a bath. Well, that could be the activities you do during self-care, but what Heather is saying is this definition that she created is totally different than that, and it really helped me see that self-care is not an activity as much as it’s a mindset. Because as she says, self-care is showing up for yourself moment to moment. Picking yourself and what’s best for you in every single moment.
Do you hear this? I think this is one of the single biggest a-ha moments of my life so far. Self-care isn’t doing something to make you feel better for 15 or 30 minutes or an hour a day occasionally. It is literally showing up for yourself moment by moment by moment all day every day. And when we do that, we don’t need New Year’s resolutions. We don’t need diets. We don’t need a get rich quick scheme because we make the right choices for ourselves moment by moment every day and the results take care of themselves.
Wow. And I think that minimum baseline is the stepping stone to showing up for ourselves and this level of self-care that we’re talking about. Because if we can learn to keep our word to ourselves at a minimum, just five minutes three times a week until it’s a habit, then we show ourselves what we’re capable of. We build confidence and trust and self-worth and we learn to believe in ourselves again or maybe, for the first time ever.
And when we believe in ourselves and we trust ourselves, then we can begin to show up for ourselves. Not just three times a week for five minutes, but moment to moment in every decision and every situation. And that is when we create the life and the body and the business and the relationships that we truly want.
So how about you? Will you show up for yourself? Will you practice this new version of self-care by showing up for you every moment? And do you need to start first with baby steps? With the minimum? Remember, there is nothing wimpy about baby steps. For a baby to go from crawling to walking is a giant leap in their development. And for you to show yourself that you will show up consistently for you, no exceptions, no excuses, no matter what, even if it’s just for a few minutes a few days a week, then there is no limit to what you’re capable of.
So do it, my friends. Start today. Create a minimum baseline in one area of your life that you never seem to show up for yourself in and start now. Five minutes is all it takes to start. And realize that the big things in your mind, those gigantic dreams about your life and your business, this is the way to make them all come true.
So start showing up for yourself. I’m showing up for myself too. And thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you next week. Bye y’all.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of The Design You Podcast. And if you’d like even more support for designing a business and a life that you love, then check out my exclusive monthly coaching program Design You at tobifairley.com.