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The truth is that it takes effort and time to develop a habit of self-care.
And since we’re busy with work and family obligations, it can be hard to find time for ourselves.
So when we don’t feel like taking care of ourselves, what’s the best way to get motivated?
It’s a journey that doesn’t happen overnight, but there are ways to start making it easier. Read on as we explore how we can improve our self care motivation.
No Motivation to Take Care of Myself
I used to have a lot going on in my life (still do actually), so I’m not surprised that I let myself go.
And it’s also part of a pattern I’ve noticed: when things are going badly, or when I’m stressed out, I stop taking care of myself.
There are lots of reasons why people don’t take care of themselves.
Some people use self-neglect as a form of self-punishment — they feel guilty about something they did or didn’t do, so they punish themselves by not caring for their physical needs.
Others do it because it’s easier than dealing with their emotions — if you’re feeling anxious or depressed, getting out of bed is hard enough; showering seems impossible!
But here’s what happens when you don’t care for yourself: You get sick more often (and more seriously).
You put yourself at risk for infections and other complications from poor hygiene practices.
You appear less attractive to others and less confident about yourself (which can affect both your personal relationships and career).
These are but a few reasons not to wallow in self-pity and buck up!
I have done it and so can you.
The steps below will tell you how.
15 Ways to Motivate Yourself for Self Care
If you don’t care for yourself, it’s almost impossible to feel motivated to do anything else.
You can’t imagine how much better life would be if you were taking care of yourself and feeling great—but how do you get started?
The tips below worked for me over the years.
Understand that you do not have to follow every single one right off the bat.
Ticking one off the checklist at a time is a win any time.
1. Learn Your Self Limitations
What keeps you from taking care of yourself?
Are you too busy? Do you not have enough money? Are there other factors that make it difficult for you to set aside time for self-care?
Identify these things so they can be addressed and resolved.
When setting goals, make sure they are reasonable and achievable so they don’t lead to disappointment or failure when they aren’t completed as planned.
For example, if your goal is to exercise every day for an hour, but then realize that this isn’t realistic for your schedule, consider breaking up the exercise into shorter sessions throughout the day instead.
There are several types of self care that you can target, and understanding what’s stopping you puts you in a better position to overcome the limitations.
2. Making it a Priority
An important step is deciding that self care is something that’s important to you.
If it isn’t already on the top of your list, then it needs to be moved up there—and soon!
It will take some planning and effort on your part, but once this new habit becomes ingrained in your routine, things will start looking up immediately.
The only way for self-care practices like meditation or exercise routines to become habits is through daily repetition.
So set aside some time each day (even if it’s just 15 minutes) where no distractions will get in the way of making sure that this practice gets done without fail every single day.
3. Be Clear About the Benefits of Self Care
One of the best reasons to practice self care is that it gives you more energy to help others and be a better version of yourself.
When you are stressed or overwhelmed, it’s easy for your mood to take a negative turn, which can have an impact on all areas of your life—including how you interact with the people around you.
You may not even realize how bad things have gotten until something triggers an angry outburst or depressive episode.
Self care helps keep our mental health stable so we don’t become frustrated or irritable when we face challenges in our daily lives.
This type of positive outlook can benefit everyone around us because we’ll be more likely to be patient, upbeat, and kind during stressful situations rather than snapping at others out of frustration.
Figure out your own reason and it can be a very powerful motivation to stay on course.
4. Make a List of Things to Do
If you have a lot of things to do, it can be hard to remember what they are.
Make a list of things that need to be done, then organize them by priority.
For example, if you have lots of work deadlines coming up, put those at the top of your list with a reminder about when they are due.
You can also divide activities into different categories: personal responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning and taking out the trash; social activities such as going for walks with friends or attending group meetings; and health-related tasks like exercising or going to the doctor’s office.
Organize them in order of importance and urgency, starting with the most important and urgent things on top, then working your way down.
5. Remember a Good Time
Think of a time when you felt really motivated and try to remember what that felt like.
Now, think about how great it would feel if you could have that feeling all the time and use it as motivation.
What was it? How did it feel? What were you doing? What was going on in your life at that time? Can you do anything similar now?
If there’s something specific that motivates you — like getting dressed up and going out with friends — make an effort to do that more often.
6. What Makes You Happy
Make a list of everything that makes me happy, and look at it whenever I’m feeling down.
If you find yourself feeling depressed or anxious often, try making a list of things that make you happy.
This may sound simplistic, but it’s actually a very effective trick!
Whenever you feel down or overwhelmed by negative emotions, take out your list and read through it — slowly and mindfully.
Let each item bring up positive feelings in your body as you think about them (e.g., smiling, relaxing).
7. Add It to Your Schedule
I know of many people who depend on their calendar function to keep track of everything they do in their lives.
The app might be helpful but I always preach moderation, and in this case, you can be smart about it and schedule me-time into your calendar.
Personally, I am somewhat of a night owl, so I do have time to spare during these hours.
You can consider starting a night routine and if so, you can try out this self care night checklist to help you get started.
8. Find a Friend
Find a friend who’s willing to spend time with you and help you along.
Having someone else there can help keep you honest about what you’re supposed to be doing.
Set up a schedule so that your friend knows when they should check in on you and make sure that you’re following through with your plan.
It can be difficult to get motivated when you’re alone, so a friend in these times can be invaluable.
Better yet, you can take the initiative and throw a self care party for others!
9. Use a Self Care Habits Tracker
If you’re having trouble making time for self care in your daily life, track how much time you spend on each activity.
This will help you figure out where you need to make changes and where your time is going.
If it turns out that all the time left over after work and chores goes toward binge-watching Netflix every night, then maybe that’s something you need to change.
Alternatively, a self care tracker can also remind you of the things you could be doing to ensure you are putting yourself first more often.
10. Do What You Enjoy Most Often
You may be used to taking time out for yourself, but if it’s not something you enjoy doing, then it’s unlikely you’ll stick with it in the long run.
So make sure that whatever self care activity you choose suits your personality and interests so that it will be enjoyable for you.
For example, if you’re not good at spending time alone with your thoughts, then maybe reading a book or watching a film isn’t right for your self-care routine.
However, if you love going on walks by yourself, then this could be just what you need!
I also find that saying no to activities that aren’t important helps me to be more mindful about what I’m doing.
If you’re not sure what your routine should consist of, ask yourself this: What do I enjoy doing on my days off or when I’m not working?
11. Seek Out Small Wins Each Day
The power of small wins is that they can help you build momentum.
You may feel like you’re not making progress, but when you look back at your day and see that all those little things added up to something bigger, it’s easier to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Small wins also give us confidence in our ability to do more and keep going.
If I’ve conquered today, then tomorrow will be easier too!
It’s a powerful feeling; one that keeps us motivated when the going gets tough or when things seem insurmountable.
Small wins allow us to see ourselves in a positive light.
They help us build a positive self-image: “I’m strong! I’m capable!”
We have faith because we have proof!
12. Sleep Well
Sleep is a vital part of self care because it helps you to feel refreshed and ready to face the day. There are a ton of benefits to it!
If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain won’t function as well, which means that you won’t be as efficient or productive at work.
If you do not have any issues, that’s great! But if you do, here are a few simple things you can do to enjoy a more restful snooze time:
- Set aside a time before bed when you can relax and unwind. This can include reading a book, meditating, or doing yoga
- Create an environment that’s conducive to sleep by keeping the lights low and using earplugs if necessary
- Make sure that your room is cool enough so that you’re comfortable without extra blankets or layers of clothing on top of your pajamas
- Try a weighted blanket – super comfortable and makes you feel safe
13. Practice Gratitude
Count your blessings and have gratitude
It’s easy for us to get caught up in our own problems, but when we focus on what we do have, we feel happier and more satisfied with life.
Make a list of things that make you happy, whether it’s your health or the fact that you live in such a beautiful place.
Then write down at least three things each day that make you grateful for having them in your life.
14. Positive Visualization
One of the best ways to motivate yourself is through positive visualization.
This means that before you do something, you imagine yourself doing it and how good it will feel.
This technique has been studied in various fields and has been found to be an effective way to improve performance.
Visualize what it would be like to succeed at your goal.
This could be as simple as picturing yourself eating healthy food or exercising more often.
Try writing down or drawing what success looks like for you, and then revisit those images whenever necessary.
Prefer to say it out loud? Daily affirmations for motivation are your best friend here.
15. Reward Yourself for Completing Tasks
I think because we don’t always see the payoff from taking care of ourselves right away like there is no immediate payoff, that demotivates us.
Sometimes we have to wait a few days or weeks before we feel more relaxed and less stressed out.
At other times, there is no immediate reward at all. It’s just something you do because it’s good for you, whether or not anyone else notices or cares about it.
But why not reward yourself then?
Celebrate your achievements (such as staying on track for 7 days in a row) by giving yourself a small treat or getting something you have been eyeing for a while now.
Reward as motivation is a proven technique that works!
Myth busted: Self-care is not Selfish
There is a misconception that self-care is selfish.
If you don’t take care of yourself, who will?
You are the only person who can do it, and if you don’t, then things can go downhill fast.
Self-care is important for your mental health, physical health, relationships (romantic and platonic), career success, and future goals.
If you are constantly putting other people before yourself or feeling bad about the choices that you make in life because they aren’t what everyone else thinks you should be doing (or not doing), I encourage you to rethink the idea that self-care is selfish because it isn’t!
Self-care is Maintenance
It’s important to realize that self-care is not a cure-all. it’s maintenance.
Just as you wouldn’t try to fix a broken car by changing the oil alone, you also shouldn’t think that self-care will be enough on its own.
Self-care is easy to do and can be quite enjoyable!
But it’s not meant to replace therapy, medication, or any other treatment plan you might have in place for yourself.
It’s just one part of the puzzle that can help us feel better overall—not an end goal unto itself.
How Do I Motivate Myself for Self-care?
The first step to motivating yourself to practice self-care is realizing that it’s a choice.
You can choose to do it and you can choose not to do it.
If your schedule feels too busy or short on free time, then maybe it’s time for some prioritizing and re-prioritizing!
When I say “self-care,” I mean taking care of yourself so that you feel balanced, happy, and healthy—but not necessarily with an expensive spa treatment or a fancy vacation.
It could mean something as simple as taking a walk outside (with or without your dog), drinking water throughout the day, getting enough sleep at night, and eating breakfast each morning.
These small things might seem insignificant compared with other tasks like cleaning the house or cooking dinner, but they can make all the difference in keeping up with your mental health during stressful times—and we all know there will be plenty of those!
Why Do We Lose Motivation?
I believe that we lose motivation because of a disconnect between our thoughts and emotions.
The mind is an amazing thing — it can think up all kinds of reasons not to take action or make changes in our life.
It will tell us that taking care of ourselves is a waste of time, or that we don’t deserve it.
But on the flip side, you can dictate how your mind thinks.
Reminding yourself daily of the positive things in life helps tremendously in developing the right mindset.
Why is Self-motivation Important?
Being self-motivated helps you be more productive in life, which will lead to more good things happening.
We are getting things done, which makes us happy and keeps our stress levels down. That means fewer worries and more happiness!
In Conclusion: Self Care Motivation
Remember that self-care is not just about looking good or getting better.
It’s about you and your wellbeing, and it’s something we should all be doing.
Self-motivation can help us get there, but sometimes we need a little push from friends or family to get started!
If you feel like you need more motivation on this topic, talk with someone who knows what it takes to take care of themselves well.
You can’t do everything perfectly, so don’t try!
Focus on the things that are most important, and let go of the rest.
Letting go of perfectionism can be hard, but it will help you relax and enjoy life more.