You Didn’t Come with a Manual – So Write One

A couple of years ago, I realized that I had a lot in common with my pet hamster (after reading a book called “Caring for Your Hamster”). Besides back hair, we both had needs that had to be met – for survival and to enjoy life to the fullest. Except the hamster came with a manual. As humans, we tend to take care of our own basic needs well enough. I mean, we feed ourselves and get at least some sleep. But we could be doing a whole lot better when it comes to self-care. And when wedding entrepreneurs don’t take good care of themselves, their business suffers. Because they aren’t at their best, they don’t get as many clients as they might want and they end up feeling even more stressed out.

So many of us think we just need more self-discipline.

Good news! You don’t.

You just need to make things easier. For example, taking the guitar out of the closet and then out of its case was just too much trouble for me (even though it sounds easy). So I never played the thing, even though I always “meant to,” because the guitar was out of sight. Then I bought a stand and now I keep the guitar in the living room, out of the case, within arm’s reach. I play all of the time. This is a super simple trick to get yourself to do the things you want to do.

Instead of beating yourself up and feeling guilty all of the time, think of your every day self as a hamster: you want to do the right thing, you just need a little push in the right direction.

I began to collect these little tricks and put them into a little manual I called “Caring for Your Jeff.” When I review it regularly, I avoid these pitfalls altogether (at least I avoid them more often). And if I start to feel stressed and disconnected, I can usually go back to the manual and see which aspect of my life I’ve been neglecting.

You can make your own manual.

Call it “Caring for Your [your name].” As you discover little things you can do to develop better habits, add them to your manual. I recommend also writing down the consequences of NOT doing the thing. To get you started, here are a few from my manual (with some background info).

Excerpts from Caring for Your Jeff:

  • Make sure Jeff has a full water bottle nearby or he’ll feel thirsty and get sick. (I noticed that if I have to get up to go get a drink of water, I just won’t do it. But if I have a full water bottle in front of me, I’ll keep drinking from it.)
  • Jeff needs to exercise every day or he’ll be crabby and tired. (Most people I know need exercise more for their mental health than their physical well-being. This is definitely true for me.)
  • Keep the guitar in an easy-to-reach spot or he’ll lose his connection to music and feel ungrounded. (I don’t just like to write music, I need to do it.)
  • Jeff needs to meet up with friends at least twice a week or he’ll feel isolated and depressed. (I have to schedule in fun time, especially when working from home.)

These may sound silly because they are obvious. The point is that we don’t do things that are obvious. We do things that are easy. This is one way you can remind yourself on a regular basis to be good to yourself. It also reminds you of the impending consequences of letting something slip for another day. I hope it helps. I hope you love it.


One thought on “You Didn’t Come with a Manual – So Write One

  1. I love this!! It is so important to remember to take care of yourself, when you’re in the business of helping others. When you practice self-care, people (and your clients!) can tell! How you take care of yourself and go thru your day is a direct reflection of how people will see you and your business. I also love the idea of manual for yourself! :)

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