For those of you who have been following along, yes I still have a large stack of unread books on my nightstand, but only because I have bought more books (it’s a problem I have–to be discussed another time). But the good news is that I am getting through them by making reading part of my bedtime routine. I have also added accountability by joining a book club, but the larger accountability factor has still been Whoop.
Learning and seeing how certain habits, actions, and choices affect how I feel has been fundamentally mind blowing to me. I think for a long time I did not understand why some people could become so disciplined and religious to their routine, rarely making exceptions and content to “miss out” on things in order to keep their routine. I admit that I have been judgemental of these people at times, accusing them of being rigid, inflexible, or just “not fun.” But as with most things in life, I did not know what I did not know, and now I realize … I owe all those people an apology. Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly am not doing my bedtime routine perfectly every night, but I have been approaching it with a different attitude. My mindset has shifted from “I have to” to “I need to” which may not seem all that different, but the motivation behind the words are.
I have to vs I need to. As someone who struggles to prioritize their needs, initially “I have to” is what would get me by. For most of my life I have been externally motivated. This has looked like not wanting to let people down, fake-it-till-you-make-it, people pleasing, or wanting to come across a certain way to others. I’m not saying any of these are bad motivators, but they had very little to do with me and what I wanted or needed. Switching to an “I need to” has put the focus back on me and making my needs the priority—those needs being rest, sleep, and stress management. The accountability that Whoop has offered me in this realm has been surprising. It’s easy to say “I have to go to bed early tonight” and then just not doing it vs “I need to go to bed early tonight” and having the literal data to back that need up.
There is no longer “hearsay” or theories but actual proof of how my routine affects my day-to-day health. This is motivating to me, and not only the justification of sticking to something but also the justification of saying no. I am not just talking about saying no to people, but learning to say no to myself. The accountability of building up trust with myself again—that when I say I am going to do something for myself, I will actually do it.
I feel we do not talk enough about how building trust with ourselves is a key to truly taking care of ourselves. Believing that we are the priority means that our needs deserve to be met, especially by ourselves. Because at the end of the day, your relationship with yourself is the one that counts the most. If you are not going to prioritize yourself … who will? If you are not going to meet your needs … who will? Sure, there are ways others can assist in taking care of us, but ultimately the choice falls on us. If we don’t have a good track record of doing that, it becomes less and less of a priority meaning you yourself become less of a priority.
I consider myself a reliable and trustworthy person, but when it comes to keeping promises to myself, it has always been “optional.” If I do all the other things people need me to do, only THEN will I do the thing I need to do for myself. This leads to burnout and resentment towards others but ultimately towards myself for my inability to prioritize what I need and for burning the candle at both ends. Accountability has assisted me in building trust that my needs are important and deserve my best attention, not the leftovers of whatever I can scrounge up. Does accountability prompt an eye roll when a sleep reminder goes off at 7:30 PM because I didn’t get enough sleep the night before? Yes. But it’s hard to ignore the real-time data on how everyday routine life choices affect me.
As I was reflecting on the benefits Whoop has brought into my life, I didn’t expect increased self trust and accountability to make the list. I truly thought that this would be just one more thing to charge and was annoyed with having to wear it all the time. And like I’ve mentioned before, a hyper-crunchy granola fitness person who obsessively wears a fitness tracker is not who I’m aiming to be. But the awareness this has brought me is hard to ignore and has been fascinating as well. I have a lot more control with my routine than I realized, and that has given me a feeling of optimism towards the role I play in how I feel. I can trust myself to prioritize my needs and the biggest takeaway is—they are needs, and my needs are not optional.
Feelings this week: Proud of the work I have put in towards self trust.
Favorite moment from experience: Having a full two weeks under my belt of consistent sleep.
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