The Secret to Balancing Self Improvement and Self Acceptance

I wanted to change so much about myself: using my time wisely, worrying less what other people think, exercising more, eating less sweets, etc.  

You may want tighter abs, sleeker hair, a better wardrobe, a better relationship with a loved one.

You might want to change a lot about yourself too…

The question is should you?

To answer that you need to consider why you want to change. Are you doing it because you want approval?  Are you doing it to avoid criticism or an argument?  Or are you doing it because it’s a bad habit and you want to make better choices?

I created a worksheet to help you navigate this thinking process which you can access here.

Know Why You Want To Change

I want to be a better mom but I needed to know what drove this desire to change.  Wanting to be a better mom at x, y, or z was because I was comparing myself to other moms.  

This isn’t a healthy reason for me to want to change.  I wasn’t doing it for myself. I was doing it because of someone else.  

So if you find the reason you want to change isn’t for yourself, but really for someone else or another reason, maybe you need to deal with the emotions and root behind that change first.  

If you’re changing to make someone else happy, to avoid conflict, or because you feel inferior/inadequate then there won’t be true satisfaction in the change.  Underlying feelings of resentment or a bigger issue may arise because your changing didn’t fix the underlying issue, it just covered it or delayed it.  

Change needs to come from within not outside.

Consider if the Need for Change is Real

Address the negative self talk.  Is this true?  Do you have evidence to support your need to change?

For wanting to be a better mom, the answer was no.  When I considered all the things I did, I realized that I was doing just fine and that negative self talk was unnecessary.  Sometimes how you feel doesn’t fit with the evidence in your life.  

Sometimes, though change should definitely happen.  If I want to avoid diabetes (it runs in my family) and arthritis (too many knee surgeries) then I need to eat well and exercise to stay fit and take care of my body.  If I’m not doing this (gotten lax at) then wanting to change this is a good idea.  I’m doing it to maintain my health.  I’m doing it for me.  This is a great thing.  This is the complete opposite of wanting to be a better mom.  

Is this a conversation you need to have with someone?

Sometimes you need to talk to someone if you feel you want to change a part of yourself, especially if there are underlying reasons that need to be addressed.  That could be a conversation with a loved one, a friend for advice and support, the person who wants to see that change if applicable, or a therapist to help you work out the underlying cause of the need for change.  

I could have people in my life say you’re a good mom, but until I confronted my own feelings and the evidence in my life, I was always going to feel like I wasn’t a good enough mom.  You need to believe it for yourself. Other people can validate you, but you have to change the thinking within yourself.  

If there’s truth to it…what strength do you have to help make progress?

I’m organized and love routines.  So creating a routine, a go-to list for things to do with my kids and planning it out helped me have lots of special moments with the kids. This made the shift within myself to believe I was a good mom because I could see the evidence in the relationship I had with my kids.  

For maintaining fitness and healthy eating I used my strength of planning and problem solving to set goals, work through obstacles, and creating solutions so that I could see moments of success that could turn into habits.  I used my habit tracker in my planner for my monthly goals, and I planned out my meals and workouts.  

Use what you’re good at to help fuel your change if you’re ready.  

Start small.  Build off each individual success so you can keep your motivation.  If you did it today, you can tomorrow, and in a week you can even up the ante if you wanted.  

Sometimes you don’t need to change anything at all about yourself, 

Except how you feel – about yourself.

May you find peace in who you are and find success in the everyday to help you get where you want to go.

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