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How often do you put yourself first?
If you’re like most women I know, then it’s not often.
As women, we’re wired to care about the needs of others, to make everyone around us feel comfortable and taken care of. That’s an important quality of a strong, feminine leader.
That same line of thinking also creates opportunity for comparison. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to those around us, putting others on pedestals, and thinking that their needs are more important than our own.
We think if we selflessly give to others, or sacrifice what we want for what other people want, we’ll get those people to like and respect us. We derive our sense of value from the approval of others.
And in doing so, we’re sending a signal to our brain that we’re not worthy of spending time on ourselves. That we don’t deserve to put ourselves first because other people need us.
Putting someone else’s needs before your own makes you believe, even subconsciously, that they are inherently more worthy than you.
That’s simply not true.
You’re worthy because you’re alive.
You deserve to spend time on yourself and put your needs first for the simple fact that you exist, and believing that is the first step toward building self-worth.
One of the best ways to put yourself first is to create a Morning Routine or Ritual, where you spend time doing something just for you. Something that lights you up, brings you joy, or makes you feel whole.
Committing to a daily morning ritual helps you build self-worth by declaring that this is your time, and you deserve to do something for yourself.
Here’s how to Build Self-Worth with a Morning Ritual:
Choose to put yourself first
Start by making a conscious choice to put yourself first. Use this affirmation to create positive emotions and connections:
I deserve to put myself first. I am worthy of spending time on myself.
Then, determine how much time you can dedicate to your morning ritual, based on your current morning routine. Do you have a long commute? Do you have to get the kids ready for school? Think about how you currently spend your time, and how much time you’re willing to set aside for yourself.
Many people (including many men) recommend spending an hour on personal development first thing in the morning, but that’s just not realistic for most women. Women take on the majority of household and childcare activities, so taking an hour for yourself may feel like a burden rather than an act of self-care.
Instead, you get to be in control of how you spend your time. Reverse engineer your morning ritual by choosing how much time you’d like to spend on yourself. There are no rules, no standards, and no have-tos here. This is your time, and you need to feel comfortable with it.
You may choose to wake up 30 minutes or an hour earlier than normal to give yourself the time and space to really dedicate your practice. Or, you may decide that 10 minutes is all you can do in the morning. The time spent is not important; what is important is creating a realistic schedule you can stick to.
Plan what you will do
Next, decide what you will do with the time you set aside. You may have time for one activity, or you may have enough time for two or three. There’s no correct order of activities, and there’s no perfect routine. It’s about doing what feels good to you and making a commitment to yourself and your own personal or spiritual growth.
Here are a few examples of activities to include in your morning ritual:
Meditation: You can use a guided meditation app like Calm or Headspace, download my free guided meditations or join the Self-Worth Society, or simply pay attention to your breath. Meditation helps to calm anxiety, improve self-awareness, reduce stress, and improve your overall wellbeing.
Journaling: You can free write in a blank journal, choose a guided journal, find journal prompts online, or write about how you want to feel that day. Journaling can help you work through difficult emotions, identify your goals, or improve your creativity.
Affirmations: Affirmations help rewire your brain by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. By proactively choosing your thoughts, you can shift your emotions and create positive behaviors to get the results you want.
Reading: Whether it’s novels, self-help, autobiographies, or historical fiction, reading helps you improve your vocabulary, critical thinking skills, focus, and concentration. Getting lost in your favorite book can also reduce stress!
Exercise: There are so many benefits to regular exercise, whether you choose to incorporate simple stretches, a short yoga practice, or a long run. Remember to be kind to your body, especially first thing in the morning. It’s important to stay hydrated and not push yourself past what you can comfortably do.
Creativity: An often-overlooked ritual practice is doing something creative! Whether you choose to grab a coloring book, your knitting bag, a puzzle, or painting supplies, spending time being creative allows you to express yourself and connect with who you are. It also reduces stress, improves critical thinking, and gives you a sense of inner accomplishment.
Prepare your ritual space
Next, determine a place where you will do your morning ritual, and what you might need to do it.
This depends on what you decided to incorporate into your morning ritual. If you want to include exercise, make sure you have enough space to move around, and that the equipment you need is readily available. If you want to meditate for five or 10 minutes, you can choose to sit on the side of your bed or supported on the floor.
If you can, choose a space where you won’t be interrupted, and a space you can return to each day. Make this your sacred space. If you live with family or roommates, let them know about your space and the time you plan to do your morning ritual.
Place everything you need for your morning ritual in this space; grab your journal and a pen, the book you want to read, a meditation pillow or yoga mat, or your art supplies.
You may choose to make your space more inviting by include a cozy sweater or blanket, lighting a candle, dimming the lights, or bringing in a warm cup of coffee or tea.
Commit to a daily ritual
It’s time to commit to your new morning ritual! This is your time and your space to fill with things that light you up. To help the habit stick, try to commit to waking up at the same time every morning to start your routine.
If you have trouble waking up at the same time, try to set an intention before you go to bed. The night before you start your morning ritual, set an alarm, then silently set an intention to commit to your practice. You can try something like:
I will wake up feeling refreshed and excited to start my new morning ritual.
When you wake up the next morning, you’ll feel more energized and ready to set aside the time for yourself. It might be hard at first, but keep going. Experiment with what feels right for you.
Maybe that’s making a cup of coffee or tea before beginning your morning routine, or maybe sitting quietly with your warm beverage is your perfect morning routine! You can do your morning ritual immediately after you wake up, or you can choose to take a shower or brush your teeth first.
This is your time and your practice, so the only thing that matters is that you’re taking the time for yourself that fits into your lifestyle. That way, it becomes easier to make it a daily habit.
A morning ritual helps you build self-worth from the inside; from a strong sense of inner wisdom that you are enough just the way you are. You don’t need validation from other people, and you can give even more to others by putting yourself first.
Setting aside a few minutes each morning to do the things that light you up sends a signal to your brain that you deserve to put yourself first. The more time you spend with yourself, the more you’ll start to believe that you ARE worthy and you do deserve to take the time to do the things you love.
Take action now: Build a habit around your morning ritual. Decide the one, two or three things you want to incorporate into your morning, and commit to doing those things for 30 days.
Taking this time for YOU is so important for your wellbeing and sense of self-worth. We don’t often give ourselves permission to just be with ourselves, so by creating your own sacred time each morning, you’re telling the Universe that you’re committed to putting yourself first.
What will you include in your Morning Ritual? Share with me over on Instagram @suzzihartery