Step #1: Create Your Self-Care Intentions
Let’s begin by creating an intention for each of these six areas:
Physical: care for your body (everything from sleep to sex to seeing the dentist)
Emotional: care for your feelings (acknowledging & processing feelings, changing distressing situations)
Mental: care for your mind (the interesting new book, meditation, games, challenges, flow)
Spiritual: care for your spirit (a worship community, a cause greater than you, nature)
Social: care for your relationships (friends who get you, family time, lunch with your coworkers)
Practical: maintenance care that supports your life (financial, housekeeping, car registration)
I’ve written about the process of creating powerful intentions here, and recommend reading that for the full process if you are not familiar with it. To recap here and give you a self-care example:
Step #1a: Pick a Self-Care Focus Area
We’ll choose spiritual for this example.
Step#1b: Name Your Ideal Outcome
I’d like to be living fully connected to the Divine, allowing life to be an adventure, opening my heart to let source flow through me, delighting in the gorgeous creation of earth
Step #1c: List Things You’d Like to Experience along the Way
Divine synchronicity, moments of awe, moments of profound connection (to people, plants, animals, the earth, Source), radical faith
Step #1d: Decide How You Want the Experience/Process to Feel
Delicious, inspired, fun, adventurous, light, floaty, joyous, blissful
Step #1e: Write Your ‘Shitty First Draft’ (SFD)
I am in the process of living in radical faith, fully connected to the Divine, allowing life to be an adventure filled with Divine synchronicity, opening my heart to let source flow through me and experiencing moments of profound connection (to people, plants, animals, the earth, Source), delighting in the gorgeous creation of earth, filled with moments of awe.
Step #1f: Refine it to the Essence
I am in the process of living in radical faith, opening my heart to let source flow through me and delighting in the gorgeous creation of earth.
Once you have your intention, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step #2: Bring Your Intention Down to Earth
You can tell that I often end of with very lofty intentions – which is fantastic. I love them and find them very inspirational, and hope you create ones similarly inspiring to you. However…there is no possible action step that I can see from my intention. Our next task is to see what this means on a practical level using these questions:
What does your life look like when you are living that intention?
On any average day, how do you know if that intention is being fulfilled?
For me, this looks like making decisions based on faith, opening up and being present when out and about, taking time to notice the beauty all around me. I will know it is being fulfilled by a sense of connection, of flowing love, and moments of awe and delight at the beauty of the earth.
Step #3: Determine Supportive Actions
Often, the down-to-earth version of the intention still has a very idealistic feel to it. For example, I know taking time to notice the beauty all around me fills me up spiritually. That doesn’t stop me from playing video games instead of spending five minutes outside staring at the clouds.
A supportive action in this case is something I can do that will allow me time and space to notice the beauty without feeling like I’m rushed or giving up something else that nourishes me in order to do it.
Supportive actions for me might include keeping a blanket in my trunk, saying no to things I don’t really want to do to keep my schedule open, setting aside a specific time to go outside and be present, putting limits on my work time during weekends, setting aside five minute breaks and throwing on shoes to go outside.
There are usually hundreds of potential supportive actions for your vision – keep a running list whenever you think of one so you can come back and implement it over the course of time.
Step #4: Finding the Smallest Possible Step
Out of all your supportive actions, find the smallest one. For me, for example, this would be setting a timer for a specific time during the day to go outside and fill up on beauty for five minutes. For other, more complicated actions, keep breaking them down until you have a very small step.
For example, ‘keeping a blanket in my trunk” could be a multi-step action. The first step could be scouring my house to see if I have any extra blankets. If not, a step could be determining my budget for a blanket, calling friends to see if they have blankets they are donating, heading to Goodwill to see if there is an available blanket, scoping Amazon for beautiful blankets.
My point being – make sure your steps are tiny and immediately actionable. Large steps like “keep a blanket in the trunk” often don’t get done, because they involve multiple actions and start to feel like a project (though a small one, for sure.)
You can move on to the next step when you have one concrete actionable step that will support your intention.
Step #5: Take One Step & Repeat Tomorrow
Now it’s time to take the step! You can of course take additional steps in one day, but you only really need to take one to start moving toward your intention. If you commit to taking one tiny action step towards your intention each day, you will gently create a self-care routine that supports your highest vision for your life.
You can repeat this process for each of the six areas of self-care to create a working master list of action steps, and then pick and choose action steps to take daily. It might be that you focus on one area for a week, then move to another category. Or you might just choose whatever tiny action step appeals to you most that day.
In this way you can transform your self-care routine slowly, with a minimal amount of resistance and effort. Happy stepping!
Want my whole guide to creating a self-care plan? Click Here to Get Your Copy