On March 10th, I started a 30 day project – aimed to replace my need for an unhealthy “spring detox”, and find a more positive approach for self-growth. “Dieting” through a guide created to not take away – but nourish self-love and confidence.
You can find the original blog post for the guide here : https://maeflower.blog/2021/03/10/30-days-of-confidence-and-wellness-project/
Daily Affirmations: I knew saying daily affirmations would start to change my life for the better, but I never anticipated the ripple effect it would create in my life. By recording every morning affirmation I said to myself in the mirror, I’m able to see how uncomfortable it was for me on Day 1. I said to myself in the mirror, “This is Day 1 of my affirmations… I am severely hungover… and I don’t want to love myself today. But, I’m going to start this today – so here it goes”, proceeding with the ritual. Hungover or not – every morning became a little brighter in my world. By allowing myself to carve out 30 seconds of time to look myself in the eye and say phrases like, “I deserve every ounce of love I receive” has helped me believe it in a new way that almost came subconsciously. About a week into the project, I decided it was time to get back in the gym , after taking a 3 month hiatus. I became energized with a desire to not lose weight, but to become a stronger version of myself. Unlike other times I’ve stuck to a workout routine, I didn’t start obsessing over “Calories Burned” or “Steps Taken”. I spent time lifting weights and incorporating strength training, pairing with cardio to create a 45 minute workout, 5 days a week. Although the guide didn’t call for this, or any change in eating, I will proudly say, I started eating more. Without focusing on a calorie intake to burned ratio, I was comfortable enough to nourish my body even more, rewarding it for giving me the strength it does.
Another huge change that happened stemming from the practice of daily affirmations, was my ability to self forgive, specifically involving my responsibility in strained relationships. Through the last 7 months of therapy, I’ve been making progress with delicately and honestly repairing relationships I had started to cut-off, stemming from my avoidant and isolating coping styles. Daily affirmations focused towards self-love and acceptance gave me the courage to do more “repair work” on those relationships – more than I have in a long time. For someone who has a hard time letting people in, I was shocked when I started answering video calls and Facebook messages right away, instead of putting it off, and eventually never saying anything at all. Strengthening self-worth became reflective in my ability to have difficult but healing conversations with people who have forgiven me for my flaws. Almost as importantly, I’ve forgiven myself too.
Write in a journal everyday: As someone who has kept a journal since the 4th grade, this wasn’t a difficult task for me. What I enjoyed challenging myself with was the prompt of writing “5 things I love about myself & 5 realistic tasks to complete that day”. At the beginning of the project, I kept forgetting the line of “realistic tasks”. More often than not, I started writing down tasks I knew I wouldn’t complete that day, and frustration grew. Realizing that approach wasn’t working as far as creating trust with myself, I changed the approach. Some days writing down simple phrases like “Eat Lunch”, “Shower” or “Drink Water” is as satisfying to cross off the list as more difficult tasks. There is no reason to set standards of productivity for a day that is unrealistic, only to make yourself feel guilty and inevitably set yourself up for disappointment in the first place. After I made a few adjustments to my expectations, I’ve really enjoyed the focus this ritual has brought to my mornings.
Writing words appreciation for myself is a new concept for me. Introspection and story writing can come quickly – but ask me to write 5 things I love about myself? That came as a difficult task at first. The difficulty doesn’t stem from a place of insecurity (for the most part), but more in a way of not valuing the time for taking moments of self appreciation. If this project taught me anything, it’s that a 2 minute daily routine of celebrating yourself is a minimal luxury everyone deserves.
Work a hobby and document progress: In my original post, my intention was to focus an hour a day for practicing piano. I did pick up my keyboard and practice during this project…once. However, I’d still call this win. I spent so many afternoons finishing a paint by numbers I had started in November. At one point, I was worried I’d never finish it – but this project challenged me to follow through on a creative outlet. As for piano playing… I’ll get there soon!
What Didn’t Work
Read a book for (minimum) 30 minutes a day: I want to love reading so badly, but this came as a difficult commitment for me. A factor may be that the book I’m currently reading is more emotionally demanding than a fictional story-teller. Page after page of Self Matters by Phillip C. McGraw, PH.D. (Dr.Phil), has felt like I’m back in a therapy session, which is hard enough to do once a week over video chat. The book isn’t a bad read, but rather, it’s asking a lot of me, emotionally, than I’m able to give while splitting that energy into a lot of new directions lately. Although I’ve read more of it than I have in the last few months, it wasn’t a task I was able to follow through with during the duration of this project.
The challenge of a series of new routines started as an exciting project, and ended in improved self love, a completed painting, scribbled journal pages, and a body growing stronger everyday. Although certain elements of this proposal didn’t work best for my lifestyle, it was fun and interesting learning what does. Curious to find out what rituals work best for me, I can see myself trying projects like this or already existing “lifestyle change” routines. Nonetheless, I have every intention of integrating daily affirmations and focused journal prompts into my morning routine.