In the hustle and bustle of life, I find it challenging to carve out time for self-care. Self-care is important, but it can be hard to find the time and easy to make excuses. I think most of us, if not all of us, often feel pulled in multiple directions, striving to satisfy the demands of work, family, volunteer, commitments, friendships, etc.  Especially after becoming a mother, I find myself constantly drained by the competing demands of work and family.  I am perpetually running on empty, racked by feelings of guilt and failure (#momfail), when there are not enough hours in the day. I have been telling myself that I need to take better care of myself; make a concerted effort to carve out some “me” time and fill my cup.  But, after a long day at work, that “me” time takes away from time with my daughter and husband and the cycle of guilt continues.  Balancing competing obligations can be a struggle, but I also need to be intentional in my quest for self-care.

Easier said than done, right? Expressions such as “don’t run on an empty tank” and “fill your cup” abound, but at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words.

As much as I love book club and coffee dates with friends, yoga is what truly fills my cup.  On my mat, I can just be me, not someone’s wife, mother, daughter, friend, or co-worker. No pretenses. No makeup. No skinny jeans. No one to impress or take care of except myself. For an hour or so, I am  ignoring phone calls, emails, and social media. Although it is sometimes a struggle to block out the thoughts and worries swirling in my brain, it is an opportunity to reflect on myself and refill my cup.  Although it sometimes feels selfish, the chance to take care of me, allows me to become a better version of myself.

Engaging in self-care should be a continual year-round effort, however, good intentions are frequently lost in the busyness of life. In the first part of a new year, we naturally reflect on the year behind and dream of the year ahead of us. By now, a lot of New Year’s Resolutions have failed. That’s because, unfortunately, a lot of New Year’s Resolutions look like this: Watch less television. Join a gym. Eat less sugar and carbs. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Cut back on alcohol and caffeine. Drink more water. (And I’ll admit that I probably need to do all those things, except for join a gym.)

The problem with these resolutions is that they are not SMART.  Attributed to Peter Drucker, many experts and teachers assert that in order to accomplish a goal, it must be:

S- Specific

M- Measurable

A- Attainable

R- Results-oriented

T- Time-bound

Here is my SMART goal for 2018:

Attend at least one yoga class per week in 2018. That might not sound like much, but it is a SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound.  Here’s to filling my cup, drop by drop in 2018!

— Amanda Kennon

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