THE BLOG

How to Make Yourself a Priority

02/02/2015 11:18 am ET | Updated Apr 04, 2015
Matthew Wakem via Getty Images

There once was a very poor man who scrimped and saved to buy a goose. For weeks after he bought the goose, it laid no eggs. The man was distraught thinking he'd lost his investment. But one morning he went out and underneath the goose was a golden egg. The man couldn't believe his eyes. He laughed, danced, and kissed his wife.

He went into town sold the egg and bought enough food for his family for a month. A few weeks later, the goose laid another golden egg. Again, the man was so happy. He took the egg to town, sold it, and bought shoes for his children and a new dress for his wife.

For many months this continued, the man took good care of his family, moved them into a new home, bought a new horse and cart, and they lived quite comfortably.

But over time, the man got increasingly greedy and impatient. It became harder and harder to wait the six or eight weeks for the goose the lay another golden egg. One day the man decided he had enough of this waiting and so in the middle of the night he snuck out with a large knife and a plan. He would cut the goose open and get all of the golden eggs at once.

As he sliced into the goose, she awoke and looked at him as if to say, "How could you?"

Soon he was covered in blood and feathers and was full of regret. He fell to the floor weeping, because within the goose was nothing but more goose. He had ruined himself and his family in his greed to have it all right now.

Story Time Is Over
Okay, story time is over and you're probably wondering why I told you a nursery rhyme.

Too often in our desire to get more done we treat ourselves like a golden goose.

I've talked to so many clients who believe if only they could get more done and get it done more quickly they would be happier. Yet I see these same clients work and work until they are stressed out, exhausted, and unable to be very effective at anything they do.

And each time they come to me wondering what happened, I remind them of a very simple truth: You are your greatest resource.

You can make more money, buy new gadgets, and make more friends, but the time and mental energy you have is finite. Which is why if you truly want to live a happy life and help others at the same time, you must take care of yourself.

You won't get very far eviscerating yourself to get to your golden eggs. Instead you must learn to nurture yourself like you would a precious goose or even more aptly, as you would your own child. If you don't, you are dooming yourself to a life of stressed out semi joy that won't help anyone -- including yourself -- create happiness.

Take the Self-Care Challenge

1. Practice: Today for practice just answer these three questions:

  1.  What are four to six things you can do to take care of yourself?
  2. Why don't you make time for these things?
  3. When is it okay to take care of yourself?
2. Reflect: Now looking at your list I want you to ask yourself
  • Why do you feel this way?
  • Do you see self-care as essential or as a guilty pleasure?
  • Did you see good self-care modeled when you were growing up or not?
  • Do you feel selfish when you engage in self-care? And if so why?
  • Finally: What if I treated yourself more like a valued resource and less like old TV you've got to bang around to make it work.
3. Share: As always share in one or all of the three following ways.
  1. Blog: Write a post about your perspective on self-care and why you do or don't do it more often.
  2. Post: Share on social media a short thought about self-care or something you learned through your reflection. 
  3. Comment: Write a comment on the post about your experience, ask a question, or share a concern. No matter what it is just share some aspect on your experience.

Note: This post is part of a 30 Day Series -- the rest can be found at mindfitmove.com/30dayhappy