Radical Acts of Self-Care: The Question That Saved My Sanity & Changed My Life
"Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug.”
Have you ever heard that saying?
As a passionate, ambitious, busy woman, you know the feeling I’m talking about. Half of this quote gives us a picture of moving full steam ahead, living life in the fast lane, and plowing over anything or anyone that stands in our way. The other half feels like a failure, even if it puts it in a funny, joking way. It feels tired, gross, and like you just can’t seem to do anything right.
Many women often feel like they’re either moving around frantically or not moving at all-- wearing “busy” as a badge of honor even at the expense of their health (I’ve been there, sis!) or feeling guilty because they feel like they aren’t moving enough (the myth that our worth is based on productivity).
Swinging between windshield and bug is not a healthy or satisfying way to live-- it doesn’t make us feel happy or confident. In order for us to feel good about ourselves and to achieve the goals we desire most, we have to create clarity on who or what will get the best of our energy and time.
Last year, I was feeling that push and pull between overwhelm and exhaustion, drive and guilt, until I burned out. I decided I needed to restructure and clarify my life. There is one, simple question that made a huge impact on my life and I still ask myself this every single week:
“What are my three priorities?”
The definition of priority is “the condition of being regarded or treated as more important than.
This means that by definition having too many “priorities” is contradictory to the nature of priority, itself. So many times women put so much pressure on themselves to be everything to everyone-- which leaves you with no energy to be who you need for yourself. Let me say that again: if you’re everything for everyone else, you can’t be who you need for yourself.
(Photo by My Life Journal on Unsplash)
When I heard the Jim Collins quote “if you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any,” this really clicked for me and I immediately began pivoting to make a change. The idea of really separating goals from distractions (even really enticing distractions) came to me from reading Willpower Doesn't Work by Benjamin Hardy and it's been hugely impactful on my life.
I journal every day, but every Sunday night for the past year, I’ve had this question as a journal prompt while I’m setting up my week. I write out and name my three priorities, then I create a second list called “what I want to do if I have the time, energy, and resources.”
By doing this journaling activity, I give myself clarity on my priorities and permission to break free from the lie that my worth is based on how much I do. I draw a line in the sand between what’s actually important, and what’s just urgent (interesting fact: this is the same decision-making strategy that President Eisenhower used).
I can still write a longer list of goals and create to-do lists that filter into these priorities, but this shows the order of importance and what I’m most committed to. By doing less, I’m actually able to achieve more for myself and feel better about it.
I think you’re more likely to trust the process of what it takes to reach your goals when that process feels supportive. Creating clear boundaries on your time and energy, to me, is a radical act of self-care that sets the tone for my life. It demonstrates self-trust.
Try out this journaling activity this week and answer the question for yourself! What are my 3 priorities?
Do I find it difficult to narrow it down to only 3? If I could pick 3 priorities for my future self, how close am I now from actually living those priorities? Be honest with yourself about your desired outcome and the lifestyle you’re aspiring to.
By putting pen to paper, you’ll move your thoughts from the subconscious mind to the conscious mind, bring more clarity to your life, and have a beautiful starting point to work on reaching for your goals and advocating for your boundaries.