Being kind to yourself is one of those things that sounds easy in conversation but difficult in practice. Last year I spent a month being generous toward others in the hope that I would find fulfillment and increased happiness (I did).
So my editor asked me to turn that generosity inward. Spend a month doing acts that allow me to appreciate myself, reflect and grow.
But the truth is, saying some Hallmark-worthy phrases to yourself isn’t an exact science for increasing your feelings of self-worth. At least not that we feel right away. But that doesn’t mean it’s not working. Growth—in any form—is never easy. It takes patient, persistence and self-compassion, a reminder we need more than once per day.
Related: 8 Reasons Self-Care Isn’t Selfish
Being kind to yourself isn’t about feeling good. After all, doing what feels good isn’t always what’s best for us. But taking the time to compliment myself, to nurture my self-compassion—no matter how annoying in the moment—sends a messages to future me that she, in all her imperfect 45-year-old glory, matters. That’s a gift worth giving.
Check out my full list of self-kindness acts and give it a shot. You just might surprise yourself.
2. Write down one thing to celebrate and let myself feel that happiness.
4. Read one book chapter for pleasure.
6. Make my bed.
7. List three things I appreciate about myself.
9. Do one thing to further my career. Replace “I have to” with “I get to.”
12. Listen to one new uplifting song. Focus on the words, and don’t multitask.
13. Note every instance of negative self-talk. Replace with positive words.
15. Put my phone out of reach for one hour.
17. Watch one funny video and let myself laugh and recharge.
19. Change my screensaver to something uplifting.
21. When I’m down, imagine what an uplifting friend would say to me and say that to myself.
23. Exercise in any way for 20 minutes. Replace “I have to” with “I get to.”
25. Reconnect with an old friend.
27. Write a love letter to myself.
28. Don’t go home right after work.Go to the library or the park, or go to dinner alone.
30. Make my favorite snack food.
This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.