Friday, July 14, 2017

30-Day Self-Love Challenge + Free Printables!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Don't worry - all opinions are still my own. These links simply help to keep Haley Marie Blog alive and well! 

Hello, beautiful! In case you missed my post 12 Ways to Love Yourself Right Now, I'm here again promoting one of my favorite topics: self-love!

You might be wondering - what does self-love have to do with being a #girlboss in college? Well, I think if we all loved ourselves a little bit more, we'd stop being our own roadblocks and get out of the way of our own success.

That's why if you want to get better grades, feel less stressed-out and land the perfect internship, self-love is a necessity - it's not an option, and it's not selfish! Think of it the way you think of homework, or college applications: self-love is just another thing you need to do for yourself to help yourself achieve your dreams.

Unfortunately, there's no manual for self-love. In fact, society tells us loving ourselves is selfish and weird, and that we should prioritize our career, our family and just about everything else before our own well-being - when in reality, everything else suffers when we don't love ourselves!

That's what this 30-day summer self-love challenge is all about: learning the lessons they don't teach you in school about how to love yourself and put yourself first. But first, I want to take a moment to tell you about an awesome resource from my fellow blogger over at Blessing Manifesting. 

Blessing Manifesting offers a Self-Love Bundle with tons of incredible resources like ebooks, journal prompts and more for just $89. All together, you'll get 30 days of self-love notes, 7 days of selfie prompts, 3 weeks of journal prompts, 4 ebooks, 12 weeks of self-love printables, meditations, workbooks and more, and the 2017 Self Love Workbook. Click here to purchase the package through my affiliate link and you'll be supporting both Blessing Manifesting's amazing self-love mission and Haley Marie Blog!

Now, without further ado, let's jump into the 30-Day Summer Self-Love Challenge - and be sure to scroll to the bottom to find out how to get your free printable version + self-love questionnaire! 

Journal for 10 minutes uninterrupted.

Taking time out of your busy schedule to get to know and understand yourself better can completely transform your life in ways you wouldn't even believe. So, today, try setting a timer for 10 minutes and free-writing whatever emotions, thoughts, feelings and desires come to mind. The most important thing? Making sure you won't be interrupted! Do whatever it takes to get some valuable alone time, whether it's locking yourself in the break room or warning your family and friends about this challenge.

Listen to a self-love meditation.

You probably already know all about the benefits of meditation on your mind and body, but what about for your self-esteem? There are tons of meditations out there specially designed to help you love yourself more. If you didn't already download it for my 2017 Whole Body Reset, try the app Meditation Studio - for just $3.99, you'll get unlimited access to tons of meditations, including plenty on the topic of self-love.

Use self-love affirmations.

Have you ever heard of the Law of Attraction? Basically, it states (in different words, of course) that our vibes attract our tribe - in other words, by thinking positively about a situation, you can actually attract a positive outcome! The same is true of loving yourself: by using affirmations like "I love myself," "I respect myself" and "I accept myself," you can actually change the way you see yourself - even if you don't already feel that way! Fake it until you make it, as they say...

Eat intuitively.

Most people are so busy that eating is just another step in their day, rather than something they actually savor and enjoy. So, today, I challenge you to sit down and really tune in to how you're feeling while you eat! Take note of your hunger signals, eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full - and don't forget to take special notice of the color, taste, texture, sight and smell of your food. As weird and even gross as this might seem at first, slowing down to pay attention to your food can change eating from an ordinary everyday activity to a true act of self-love.

Turn off your phone 30 minutes before bed.

It's important to honor your body's need for sleep - and turning off your phone early can help you get the shut-eye you need. Additionally, logging off before bedtime is not just a healthy sleep habit, but also the perfect opportunity to spend some time alone before you go to bed. Instead of texting your friends or scrolling through Instagram, try using those 30 minutes to do some journaling, take a warm bath or enjoy a nice, warm mug of tea or decaf coffee before bed. You might just find your sleep and your mood improving over time!

Engage your senses.

Ever felt like you lost touch with your senses throughout the day? Maybe you're so focused on your work that you tune out with the sounds, sights and smells around you - or, you're listening so intently to your boss's words that you forget to notice your own hunger cues. Today, try to find a few ways to get in touch with each and every one of your senses in some small way. For example...
  • Sight: watch a favorite movie, watch a positive TED talk, color in a coloring book or eat lunch in a scenic locale
  • Touch: ask your partner to give you a massage, apply lotion or essential oils, go to a yoga class or play with play-dough or a stress ball
  • Smell: burn a candle, diffuse an essential oil, put on a favorite perfume or bake something delicious
  • Hearing: create a positive playlist, listen to a podcast, work in a busy coffee shop, listen to a guided meditation or sing in the shower
  • Taste: cook your favorite meal, drink a cup of coffee or tea, try a new restaurant with a friend or savor a piece of dark chocolate

Try yoga.

Yoga is the perfect practice to adopt during this challenge, since one of the values at its core is self-love. With yoga, you can learn how to better tune into your emotions as well as to the movement of your body.  Since yoga classes can be a little pricey, try Yoga with Adriene's free videos, like Confidence Boost Yoga or Yoga for Love. Her inspirational, personalized approach to yoga will teach you how to appreciate yourself where you are right now! 

Write down five big goals for the future.

What would you do if nothing was stopping you? We probably all have goals that our friends and families (or college advisors, cough cough) convinced us were "realistic," but what about those big dreams that might not be so practical? Well, tonight's the night to put all thoughts of reality aside and dream as big as you can! Take this opportunity to write down at least five big dreams you have, and how you plan to achieve them - turning the unattainable into the attainable :) 

Spend $0.00 today.

Believe it or not, the way you relate to money says a lot about your emotional well-being. Lots of people (myself included) shop to fill the emotional holes in their life, whether it's caused by boredom, sadness or restlessness. So, today, set your budget for $0.00 and see how much fun you can have with what you already own. Building an increased appreciation for what you already have, rather than always striving for more, will help you love your life even more. 

Track your water intake. 

Hydration is key to keeping your body happy and healthy - and honoring your body is the perfect way to love yourself. Drinking enough water might seem simple, but if you actually track how much water you drink in a day, you might be shocked by how far below the eight glasses a day standard you actually fall. Make it your goal today to get at least eight glasses - or more! I once read that Gal Gadot, aka Wonder Woman, drinks at least a gallon of water every day, so clearly hydration is crucial to treating yourself like the superwoman you are.

Do a write-and-burn.

I learned about write-and-burns from Lucie Fink's video, 5 Days of Personal Acceptance and Self-Confidence - in it, she wrote down her top five biggest regrets on a slip of paper and burned them with a lighter in her kitchen sink.  Literally burning your regrets can help you love yourself more by erasing your worries and revealing all the things you have to be grateful for. But, make sure to be safe about it: no open windows or gentle breezes allowed! 

Read a book of poetry. 

Poetry was something I used to love back in middle school, but haven't followed for awhile now - I love it because of the way it makes you think about the way you relate to yourself and others. Plus, it's just downright beautiful! My personal favorite poem is Maya Angelou's Still I Rise, which is - no surprise here - the greatest self-love anthem ever written. So, pick up a book of poetry today and try to find yourself within the pages. You might just be surprised by what you discover!

Enjoy a mindful drink.

Getting coffee or tea is an important morning ritual for many of us - but it's one we often take for granted. How many times a week do you stop by your local drive-through Starbucks for a Venti iced, only to find yourself chugging the entire thing in 20 minutes? This challenge is all about slowing down to enjoy the little things in life, like your daily cup of coffee or tea! By actually tasting the coffee going over your tongue and expressing gratitude for the small things like this, eventually you'll find yourself feeling more loving and open to everything in your life. 

Create a gratitude jar.

Speaking of gratitude, the happiest people in the world have an active and flowing gratitude practice. Showing gratitude for your family, your friends and everything that makes you special can help boost your self-love and confidence. So, today, find a recycled jar and fill it with things that make you happy and thankful. Next time you experience something remarkable, special or joyful, make note of it and toss it in the jar - that way, at the end of the year, you have an entire jar full of things to be grateful for! 

Buy yourself flowers. 

So many of us wait for an important holiday as an excuse to get flowers - so instead of waiting for Prince Charming to swoop by on Valentine's Day, stop by Trader Joe's or your favorite local mart and pick up a beautiful bouquet. Brightening your office space with flowers is a quick and easy way to boost your mood. Plus, getting yourself a gift like flowers shows you love and appreciate yourself just as much as the dozens of other people you buy gifts for every year.

Write yourself a thank you note.

Speaking of things you do for other people, you probably say "thank you" a dozen times a day - but how many times do you thank yourself for the things you do for YOU every day? That's what today's challenge is all about! Using your nicest stationary and prettiest pen, jot down all the reasons why you're thankful for who you are and what you've done for yourself. You might just find a spark of self-love glowing inside :)

Go to bed early.

As I mentioned before, getting enough sleep at night is one of the most important expressions of self-love there is! So many of us obsess over the "trendy" things like meditation and yoga, but forget the basics like eating and sleeping enough. So, tonight, tuck yourself into bed an hour or two earlier than you usually do - in the morning, your extra energy will thank you for it!

Break up with negativity.

After my freshman year of college, I realized a lot of the friendships I had in high school were actually pretty toxic. Negativity can be a drag - after all, dealing with negative people takes up a lot of your time and energy, leaving less of that valuable energy for achieving your goals. So, today, vow to break up with at least one negative force in your life. Whether it's an unhealthy relationship or the number on the scale, breaking up with negativity will lift an incredibly huge weight off your shoulders, allowing much more room for love in your life!

Complete the self-love questionnaire. 

Want to get a sense of your progress after almost 20 days of this self-love challenge? Take the self-love questionnaire in my free printable library! This printable resource will help you analyze and find new ways to boost your love for yourself. Simply click here to sign up for my email list and get access to the questionnaire 100% for free :) 

Try meditative walking.

If you struggle with quieting your mind during meditation, I urge you to try meditative walking! Instead of sitting still with your eyes closed while you meditate, you actually listen to the meditation's guidance while you're going for a gentle walk. Personally, I find that the fresh air and beauty of nature helps me tune out better than traditional techniques. So, today's self-love challenge is to use a free app like Stop, Breathe & Think or Simple Habit to try out meditative walking! You might just find that you love this new approach to meditation more than any other you've tried. 

Create something! 

As a content creator, pumping out creative blog posts is a huge source of self-esteem for me. However, something you might not know about me is that I also love to create traditional art as well! Ryan and I actually met in our high school art class - I might be biased, but how cute is that? :) Whether it's drawing or watercoloring, I find that creating something out of nothing helps me find a deeper sense of appreciation for myself and what I'm capable of doing. Today, I dare you to try it out for yourself!

Read a book of poetry. 

Poetry was something I used to love back in middle school, but haven't followed for awhile now - I love it because of the way it makes you think about the way you relate to yourself and others. Plus, it's just downright beautiful! My personal favorite poem is Maya Angelou's Still I Rise, which is - no surprise here - the greatest self-love anthem ever written. Pick up a book of poetry today and try to find yourself within the pages. You might just be surprised by what you discover!

Make a list of five things you LOVE doing (& do one!).

Oftentimes, happiness is much closer than we think. We might think doing that one thing to make us happier feels impossible, when in reality, all it would take is getting off our couches and doing it! So, today, make a list of five things you love to do with all your heart - not things you think should make you happy, but things that make you really, truly, genuinely joyful. Then, make it a point to do at least one thing off your list today (and enjoy the smile on your face when you do!). 

Try the ABCDE technique.

The ABCDE technique is a way of overcoming negative beliefs about yourself and the world around you - aka another way to show yourself self-love! According to Steps for Stress, here are the steps to practicing the ABCDE technique. All you'll need is a journal and something to write with! 
  • Adversity. What's the negative situation you're facing right now? Whether it's stress at work or bad grades in a summer class, spend as much time as you need confronting the reality of your problem.
  • Beliefs. This is the subjective part of your experience - in other words, what are the negative thoughts running through your mind? Some examples might be "I feel stupid because I failed that test" or "I'm scared I'm going to screw up again at work."
  • Consequences. Our thoughts influence our behavior, which is why it's so important to nip negative thoughts in the bud. So, this part is all about writing down what behaviors are likely to result as a consequence of your negative beliefs - for example, if you feel stupid, you might hinder yourself from taking a tough class even though you love the subject.
  • Disputation. This is the fun part: disputing your negative thoughts is basically fancy talk for "argue with yourself!" Look for reasons why your negative thoughts aren't true or don't make sense, and try to reason yourself toward thinking more positively.
  • Energy! Finally, notice the difference in your thoughts, feelings and - most importantly - love for yourself after you've disputed your negative thoughts. Chances are, you'll experience a sudden burst of energy that encourages you to get through the rest of your day! 

Create a morning ritual.

Now that we're nearing the end of the challenge, it's time to start thinking about ways to continue loving yourself after this challenge is over. Creating a morning ritual centered around self-love is one great way to do it! Whatever your favorite part of this challenge has been - maybe it's meditating, journaling or creating art - set a goal to do it every day as part of your morning ritual. 

Practice manifesting.

As a Pinterest quote put it so wisely, "What you think about all day is what you end up manifesting." In other words, manifestation is the practice of bringing positive events into being by clearly visualizing them. One way I love to practice manifestation is by writing things down over and over and over again as if they were true. For example, if I wanted to manifest more money into my bank account, I might write in my journal "I am wealthy," "I have an abundance of money" and "I live a luxurious lifestyle." Today, try manifesting 1-3 goals into being by writing them down as if they were already true - you might be surprised by the difference this makes in your life!

Learn your Myers-Briggs type. 

One important step toward loving yourself better is understanding yourself better. My personal favorite way to gain a better understanding of myself is personality quizzes - and what better personality quiz than the O.G. Myers-Briggs test? My current fave is the site I'm an INFP - comment your personality type below!

Read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

If you haven't already, reading Big Magic is a must-do for anyone who identifies as a creative and wants to learn to let go of fear. Even if you don't already see yourself as creative, Big Magic can help you uncover new creative possibilities within yourself - giving you even more reasons to love and respect yourself for who you are.

Take yourself on a date.

When you love a guy, you don't hesitate to take him on a special night out - but how many times a year do you do that for yourself? So, tonight, don't wait for an excuse to get dressed up. Instead, take yourself out on a date tonight to your favorite restaurant, buy yourself some flowers and amp up the romance! Show yourself you love yourself the same way any good guy would.

Write about what you learned.

Congratulations - you made it to the 30th day of this challenge! If you've gotten all the way here, you've probably learned a thing or two about self-love, and about yourself in the process. So, the last challenge of this 30-day adventure in self-love is to set another timer for 10 minutes (just like we did at the start of this challenge!) and spend some time free-writing about what you've learned. If you've uncovered something new about yourself, accomplished something you didn't think you could or overcame a longtime fear of yours, you might find you have a lot to write about :) 

To Get the Printable Version + Self-Love Questionnaire...

Want to get a helpful printable reminding you of the steps in this 30-day challenge (plus my bonus self-love questionnaire!)? Get both printables 100% for free by following the three simple steps below!

  1. Subscribe to my newsletter, Haley Marie Monthly, by entering your information below.
  2. Check your email to confirm your subscription.
  3. A confirmation email will hit your inbox with the link and password to my free printables library - be sure to bookmark it for future reference! ;)

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