12 Free Gifts To Give Yourself This Year
This year while you’ve been prepping to give gifts to the special people in your life, we’ve been prepping gifts you can give to yourself. These gifts fall into a few key categories: time (making time for yourself), self-awareness (thinking through what you want and making sure you have more of it), and energy (making sure you have the energy to achieve your goals - whatever they might be).
15 Minutes of Meditation:
Push all of your thoughts to the side and let your brain simply focus on your breathing. If you’ve never tried meditation (or tried it once and thought it wasn’t effective), consider getting a bit of extra support. Apps like HeadSpace or Calm can go a long way toward helping you practice meditating.
A Curated Stress-Busting Spotify Playlist:
Always make sure you have an instant energy-booster nearby! This year, take the time to build a playlist that makes you feel GREAT every time you listen to it. You can use it all throughout 2019 for those days when you need a pick-me-up.
If music isn’t your thing, build a bookmark list of youtube videos that makes you laugh, smile, or light up inside.
A Quick Reality Check:
Self-awareness is a gift that we all think we have but studies show only about 5% to 10% of people are truly self-aware. Part of self-awareness is about understanding what you want, understanding your reactions and behaviors, and understanding how these behaviors impact the people around you.
You owe it to yourself to think about what it is you really want (and what you very much do not want). What makes you happy? What stresses you out? What do you often blame on other people when really you should take more responsibility? What do you take responsibility for when really it’s 100% out of your control? Take a few minutes to think about your values and preferences. Then create a plan for realigning your work life and personal life with those values and preferences.
You’re kind to others. But are you kind to yourself? Negative self-talk can truly hold you back from achieving whatever it is you would like to achieve. Whenever you talk to yourself, pause to ask if you would talk to a friend this way. Turn your self talk into encouragement and support.
Be the friend to yourself that you would want to be to someone else. Encourage yourself to keep going, keep learning, keep achieving.
Any time you start to talk to yourself like a jerk, pause to recognize the thought as what it is - a thought. Then push it out of your mind and move back to the positive thoughts that keep you moving in the right direction. Here’s a solid article on how to improve your self-talk.
Note: getting rid of negative self-talk isn’t about giving up your critical thinking abilities. It simply means you shouldn’t be a bully to yourself.
Time to Learn Something New or Enhance Your Skills:
You deserve to learn that skill you’ve been putting off. Dedicate half an hour to watching a youtube video, go to the local library, or whatever it is you need to do to take that first step. Think you don’t have time? If it’s a truly a priority, you’ll get creative to make this new skill a reality.
Clear Boundaries Without Guilt:
It’s one thing to set clear boundaries. It’s a whole different skill to maintain these boundaries! Often we set boundaries just to feel guilty about them later. Think through the boundaries you need to set in order to make progress toward your goals (whatever those goals might be).
Sometimes boundaries are with our coworkers, other times their with our family and friends, and still other times they’re with ourselves. Essentialism (by Greg Mckeown) is our go-to for how you can think about setting clearer boundaries.
A Day Off of Work Just For You:
We get that not everyone has loads of holiday days. But taking a personal day (or mental health day) to relax and recharge is both a gift to yourself and to everyone else around you. Think you’re too busy? Consider delegating, focusing on improving your time management, or setting clearer expectations and boundaries.
Motivation isn’t some magical thing that just appears. It’s really up to you to create environments where you can feel motivated and energized. Spend some time thinking about what it is that makes you feel inspired to make progress. For some people, it’s listening to a podcast or reading a book. For others, it’s a little bit of exercise or a clear deadline. Experiment until you find what works best for you.
Then write it down so you can remind yourself whenever you’re struggling to get motivated!
When was the last time you cranked up the music and had a dance party by yourself? Drew a picture? Or hosted your friends for a game night? Playing is something we let children do but then forget to make time for it ourselves. Here’s the science to back it up.
Spend Time With People Who Energize Us:
Who are the people who leave you feeling happy, energized, and inspired to take on the world? Spend more time with those people! Even if they live half way around the world - that’s why the world invented FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Skype.
While we’re on the subject….it might be time to consider who zaps you of energy and create a plan for turning those relationships into energy-boosting ones. If that’s not possible, consider limiting your time with them until it is.
Clearer Goals Broken into Bite-Sized Pieces:
Been kicking yourself for not making progress toward your goals? They’re probably unclear or too big. Consider refining them and breaking them into step-by-step pieces.
Whenever you’re not sure what the next step would be, that’s when your step becomes “Do online research to gather more information” or “Meet with someone who can help me determine my next step.” Once you have the list, schedule these into your day! Read more about setting goals here.
A Well-Managed Network:
We all have networks. They consist of our family, friends, coworkers, neighbors. But they also include our local barista, our doctor, our cousin’s best friend, and more.
Invest in your future by maintaining your network well today. This means checking in with people just to see how they’re doing. Remembering birthdays. Delivering on any commitments you make.
Take a few minutes to think about the people you’ve neglected over the years. Read more about investing in your network here.