Over the last few months Llouana (the other owner/founder of Group Therapy Associates) and I have been working out a vision statement.  Some might call it a guiding philosophy for our work both as therapists and as business owners.  It’s been a long process but I’m proud to say that we finally seemed to nail it in the last month (read it here).  In a word Group Therapy Associates is built on a foundation of compassion.  Compassion for others and ourselves is a mantra that we both strive to live by… and something I needed reminding of this week.

As I count down the days to the end of May I have been overwhelmed by all the things I haven’t done yet.  May is a pretty full month for me…  it is mental health month, SOL testing for my kids, I am running my first 5K, and I am in a wedding.   I had so many goals for all of the things happening this month- daily mental health tips to raise awareness, weekly book reviews and blog posts of my favorite mental health resources, study sessions with my kids, running 3 miles a day.  Unfortunately most of these goals are not exactly happening as planned.  In fact, lately I find myself waking up each morning already ruminating on the list of things that I didn’t accomplish the day before.

But this morning I reminded myself of the company vision-  Be compassionate.

Compassion is not just a feeling, it is an action.  It is recognizing the struggle and then finding ways (no matter how small) to help.  For me part of that process is learning to be a cheerleader sometimes.   Often I am so focused on others  or the list of things that I haven’t done yet that I miss the opportunities to cheer myself on and I know that many of you are doing the same thing.  The problem with beating ourselves up rather than cheering ourselves on, is that we stay stuck in the same unproductive rut.  We play the internal tapes that remind us how much we’ve screwed up instead of focusing on the voice that says “good job, now keep going” and then wonder why things never seem to move forward.

So today, I am giving myself a rather public pat on the back.  Not because I want to rub it in that I ran 2 miles (not bad for a girl who hasn’t been to the gym in a week!), and wrote my book review (check out IAmModern.com later this week), and finally found the perfect shoes to go with my bridesmaid dress.  I say Hooray for my accomplishments, however small, because to do so encourages me to keep going.   When I make a public proclamation of what I’ve done, rather than hide away feeling bad about what I haven’t done, I help to create momentum that keeps me moving  toward my goals.  Sometimes just taking a minute to recognize (or let others recognize) what we have done, is all that we need to continue taking the necessary steps toward changing a situation, improving a relationship, or just running again for the first time in weeks.

So tell me… how do you turn on your inner cheerleader when you get stuck in an unproductive cycle?  I’d love to hear what tricks you’ve learned over the years to motivate yourself when life gets too overwhelming or you’ve allowed yourself to be less than compassionate with your own shortcomings.