At first glance, “self-care” and “entrepreneurship” sound like they do not belong in the same sentence. The dedication required to make a business profitable and sustainable, especially when you’re the only one sitting at the desk, makes it very difficult to nurture your own needs. Two years into building and growing a writing consulting business, I am starting to understand that I have needs (and I need to fulfill them) as well.

Wearing Many Hats

When I take care of myself, I am a better business owner, mentor, wife, mother, family member, community volunteer and friend to others in my life.

I decided to list some of my roles because, like many of you, clients and people depend on me to be at my best. Some days, this gives me energy and motivation to complete a tough assignment so that I can do something I enjoy, like take an exercise class or help at a special event at my daughter’s elementary school.

There are also days when it’s 3:00 p.m., I haven’t eaten lunch and that sinking feeling washes over me that I will not go to sleep until the wee hours of the morning to meet a deadline. I had many days like this during my first year of business. While I have learned how to negotiate reasonable deadlines (when possible) and improve my time management skills, I still have days when my eyelids are twitching from fatigue and a to-do list so long that it makes me shudder.

Challenging myself In 2018, I decided to participate in Ali Edwards’ One Little Word® challenge and chose a word to focus on for the year. I selected “growth.”

I told friends, family members and other business owners about my participation in the challenge, and made some goals in all areas of my life. For daily motivation, I have quotations that inspire me in my office, as well as a Pinterest board dedicated to this challenge.

Telling people that I know and trust has helped hold me accountable, and create new, healthier habits (as well as break old patterns).

Five of my personal and professional goals for 2018 are:

1. Hire and train contractors for my business.

2. Select and complete a professional resume certification.

3. Volunteer my time, personally or professionally, at least once per month.

4. Make time to eat lunch on a daily basis.

5. Incorporate physical activity into my day.

My Results

With half of 2018 complete, I have completed the first three goals, and I aim for the last two every day.

When I make lunches for my family, I also make a meal for myself. One of my mentors recommended that I start the day, whenever possible, by being physically active; during my workout, I reflect on my short-term goals for that day. I will admit that there are still days when I do not eat lunch until later in the afternoon or I run on the treadmill at 10:00 p.m., but I have learned that each day is a new opportunity to try again.

If you are committed to incorporating positive professional and personal changes in your life, please be gentle with yourself throughout the process. Making changes can be uncomfortable while you’re implementing them, but you’re worth the effort!