The Power of Self-Compassion: Key to Consistent Health Habits

November 8, 2023

In the hustle and bustle of life maintaining consistent health habits can be an overwhelming and difficult task. The fitness industry has shouted at us for years that discipline and dedication are the key to maintaining health habits and achieving fitness goals. But what if we told you that self-compassion might be the real game-changer? In this article, we’ll explore why you should be showing yourself more compassion (rather than forcing yourself to be more disciplined) when it comes to sustaining your health habits and offer three simple ways to strengthen your self-compassion.

Self-Compassion Matters:

Discipline and dedication might have some merit, but they can be unforgiving and relentless. Self-compassion brings a gentler and more sustainable approach to maintaining health habits. Here’s why self compassion is important:

  1. Real, Not Perfect: Self compassion recognizes that you’re human. It acknowledges that obstacles, challenges and setbacks are inevitable and instead of demanding perfection, or constant progression, or consistently high performance, it encourages kindness, learning and resilience. Self-compassion helps you show yourself grace and adjust your actions to better suit your situation or ‘season of life’.
  2. Reducing Stress: The pressure of strict discipline, a ‘no-excuses’ mentality and unwavering dedication can lead to stress and burnout. Self-compassion promotes a nurturing relationship with yourself and your health which can help reduce stress and anxiety and positively impact your overall health.
  3. Long-Term Consistency: Self-compassion fosters a sustainable, long-term perspective on health. It’s about self-care, not self-criticism. When you treat yourself kindly, you’re more likely to stick with your health behaviours for the long term. And long term consistency with our health behaivours is where the REAL health benefits lie!

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Three Simple Ways to Improve Self-Compassion:

1. Tune Into Self Talk:

The thoughts you have about yourself – and how you speak to yourself – is called your ‘self-talk’. These thoughts tend to be relatively automatic; that is, they pop into our minds unintentionally and outside of our control. How we talk about ourselves and our body is a seriously important. Eating the perfect meals and exercising consistently don’t actually matter if we’re berating ourselves or hating ourselves all the time.

It might be difficult to begin, but you want to try and pay closer attention to your thoughts and emotions – without judgment. You can support your mind to do this with phrases such as: ‘My mind is telling me … [insert thoughts].’ Or, ‘I’m having a thought that … [insert thought].’

Try setting yourself a time each day to check in with yourself (maybe whilst you brush your teeth, or eat breakfast). Or, try keeping a bit of a journal to track your thoughts and self talk. Flexing this awareness muscle will help you notice when self-criticism is creeping in and allow you to work towards replacing it with self-compassion.

2. Talk Kinder To Yourself:

It’s important to understand that we can’t stop negative thoughts. It’s impossible. But it is possible to change how we talk to ourselves. See if you can introduce more compassion into your internal dialogue in response to unkind self- talk. Offer yourself encouragement and support when you can. Speak to yourself gently, as you would to a loved one. For example, say you don’t meet your weekly health habit intentions or goals this week – avoid harsh self-criticism and instead offer yourself the same compassionate pep talk you’d offer to a loved one.

Try not to berate yourself if you catch your inner mean girl talking smack. Self compassion is a skill like any other – it requires practice and patience and it’s okay to have moments of self-criticism.

3. Connect with Supportive Communities:

Surround yourself with people who share this compassionate mindset. People who show unwavering support, without the pressure to perform, progress or perfect. People who uplift and encourage you. Whether it’s other busy Mums, your fitness community, friends, or online communities, finding a support system can boost your self-compassion. Whats more, when we share our challenges, we often find that others can relate and provide valuable insights.

A great place to seek out these communities (if you haven’t found them already) is to ask your friends, or put a call out in your local community facebook group. Here’s four supportive local communities I love being apart of:

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Self-compassion is the gentle yet powerful force that can transform your approach to maintaining consistent health habits. It’s about being kind to yourself, reducing stress, and embracing a sustainable, nurturing relationship with your well-being. By strengthening your self-compassion muscle, you’ll experience a greater sense of balance and well-being. Remember, you are deserving of self-compassion, and it’s the key to your long term health and happiness.

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READY TO SAY YES TO YOURSELF AND YOUR HEALTH? OUR YES-2-YOU OFFER IS A GREAT PLACE TO START (or re-start)!

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