Give Yourself Credit!   

   How often do you give yourself credit? Not for something big like getting a new job, finishing a project or volunteering for a cause but for the every day things you do right each day.  My guess is not often.

   This begins early in life. At first parents praise each step and each bite of food a baby takes. Slowly those things become a common occurrence and we decrease the amount of praise these activities receive. This happens with almost all newly learned positive behavior. The initial excitement followed by a span of encouragement and eventually the behavior becomes an expectation.   

     Conversely when a negative behavior is exhibited such as hitting it is noticed and punished. Not only when it first occurs but repeatedly throughout our lives. 

   That is not to say we need to praise a 12 year old for walking to the bathroom on their own but it does show a pattern of positive reinforcement for a behavior decreasing over time and more consistent attention being paid to negative behavior over a longer period of time.   In essence we train ourselves to pay more attention to the negative than the positive.  This creates a space where we put ourselves down more than we pat ourselves on the back. When we get up for work on time we go about our day as usual, but if we get up late we begin berating ourselves and setting the scene for more things to go wrong.   There are hundreds of positive things we do right everyday.  Maybe even thousands if we really get into the details of it.  Many times we wait for someone else to give us the credit we are seeking when the person it should mean most from has the ability to hand it out at any time. YOU!!     Taking a moment each day to give yourself credit and noticing the wonderful things you do can be such a rewarding habit.  It refreshes your energy, focus, patience and provides you with a more positive outlook. Once you begin to notice the positive in yourself you are more apt to notice the good in others.

 This can help you improve relationships both professional and personal.  It can increase your ability to problem solve because it amplifies your empathy for others and fine tunes your ability to see things from a different perspective. 

   Giving yourself credit is a hard habit to form but one well worth the effort for your own well being and those around you.  You can start just by trying to teach it to someone, by repeating this information you increase the likelihood that you will remember to give yourself some recognition in the days ahead. Let’s face it, if you can not see how wonderful you are it makes it that much harder for others to see it too.

Take Some Me Time, not Just Mom Time

So many moms claim that they take time for themselves, but do they? A cup of coffee or an uninterrupted phone call does not qualify as me-time—that is mom-time. It’s a nice break, but it is not quality time with one’s self that can fully recharge our batteries. This is often the result of guilt over leaving the kids, house, pets and other responsibilities to a parenting partner or a sitter.

When it is not the guilt, it may be the fear. We ask, “Will this other person do things the way I do? Will I walk back into a disaster?” Remember that me-time is about time with and for ourselves, not because we are looking to escape (maybe sometimes) but because if we take time to treat ourselves, then we come back refreshed, with a more positive and energized outlook that allows us to do our 3 million jobs better.

Taking time for ourselves allows us to de-stress and put our best foot forward for our family and ourselves. The first step is to remind ourselves that we cannot control everything that happens while we are gone. Life will continue, and it will be okay. The second step is to do something that we Love. Go to a movie, go on a hike, go shopping alone. Do something that is either relaxing or exciting.

Whatever we choose, we should label this time something that reminds us that it is a little gift to ourselves that is well deserved. When we label something, it often feels more like a priority and we put effort into it. Not only will we see the returns, but so will our loved ones.

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