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The Good, Better & Best Strategy

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my 28 years, it’s that there is ALWAYS more than one strategy to finding success.

The kind of success that I’m talking about is feeling confident that we are taking care of ourselves (addressing our basic needs at minimum)-i.e.-replenishing our internal well. Afterall, we can’t pour from an empty container!

But being a woman: mom, wife, and full-time worker feels like a never ending marathon. It requires the upmost discipline to make conscious efforts towards our own wants and needs in addition to making sure that our family’s wants + needs are addressed as well. Once we add work into the mix, it’s just a messy game of “Duck, duck, goose” (moms running around frantically trying to “catch” their targets as best as possible and then throwing themselves on the floor praying nobody tags them again.)

Quite often, everything ends up fine for everyone. Our children are happy with full bellies, our husbands maintain their boy-ish grins (most hours of the day at least) and our work requirements are met (some days are better than others, right?). But when we evaluate our own wants & needs, seldom do we find ourselves pleased with the outcome. Too often, our reserves are being utilized when they are already drained.

Women are masters of endurance (whether we realize it or not). There is a reason why women are better at multi-tasking compared to men (even though Google will tell you there is no scientific evidence of this, I have yet to see my husband hold a conversation, while changing a diaper and avoid burning dinner on the stove. ((I still love you honey!)) Women truck on through the hurdles and obstacles of daily life to meet everyone’s else’s needs and sacrifice their own because A. They are too tired to exert whatever energy is leftover on themselves (so they rely on couch potateo-ing with Netflix and a bag of chips to recharge) or B. They like things done a certain way and if it can’t be done “right”, then they don’t want to do it at all.

The problem with both of these approaches is that it forfeits our basic essential human NEED (yes need) to care for ourselves (above just basic hygiene of showering, brushing our teeth & putting clothes on our back). There is a serious lack of understanding that self-love goes in the same boat as drinking water and eating on a daily basis. If we consider self-love from that angle we can address 2 of the biggest misconceptions people have about self-love:

  1. Self-love is expensive- Truthfully, how many times do you eat expensively? & even if you do, you know there are cheaper alternatives to give your body the nutrients it needs without blowing your budget.
  2. Self-love takes up too much time-Just like eating on the go, it CAN be done. No, it isn’t the BEST way to do it, but it meets your basic daily requirement.

& This is where the Good, Better & Best strategy comes into play!

Now that we know that self-love IS essential and IS possible on a daily basis, how do we ensure we replenish our reserves on a daily basis? I utilize the Good, Better & Best strategy as a way to meet my basic needs (these are your PERSONAL basic needs ((everyone’s looks a little different)). This is what I consider level Good. Levels Better & Best cater above our basic needs. You may consider them “luxuries”. Again, what one person considers a basic need or luxury varies from person to person, so there is no right or wrong way to label your own wants or needs.

I’ll share a story with you to showcase an example of my own levels.

A night not too long ago, I came home from work and had to get Persephone down for bed. She has been going through a bit of sleep regression and has been harder to get to sleep at night. Even though she’s tired, she’ll fight through it (unless Eddie and I let her sleep in our bed). It was about 9 o’clock in the evening when I returned home from picking P. up from my parents house after work (Eddie was on his night shift and not home) and after nearly an hour of trying to get her down for bed, she was lightly dozing on my chest. I was starving. So I placed her gently in her crib (well as gently as a 6 month pregnant mama can) and was determined to get some food in my belly. Buuuuut, she felt me place her down in her crib and immediately started to wail wanting to get picked back up.

I had choices to make. I could A. Grab a cheese stick as dinner on my way to bed, skip taking off my makeup, screw brushing my teeth and sleep with P. in my bed with my work clothes still on and figure out getting myself cleaned up in the morning OR B. I could let her cry safely in her crib while I ate some food, prepared myself (not rushing, but not lolly-gagging either) until my basic needs were met and THEN if she was still crying, grab her and go to sleep together.

The choice wasn’t easy. No mother WANTS to hear their child upset. ESPECIALLY if the situation can be avoided (i.e. by mom’s putting themselves dead last). But I had to stop and think, “What is the real price of option A?”. First off, it would go against everything I stand for and coach other women to strive for. It would also send a hypocritical message to Persephone, that when another person WANTS (not needs) something, you should put your needs last in order to meet another’s wants. Secondly, it would be sending the message to myself that I do not value or respect myself. That when push comes to shove, I’d rather avoid challenges than fight for myself. Neither of those messages were things I wanted my daughter to absorb.

Raising the next generation of confident, self-assured and empowered women requires some uncomfortable choices to be made-and it starts with us as mothers. I know that I inherently absorbed the “feeling” that I need to put everyone else’s wants above my own needs, because I saw my mother do it with me and my siblings. And while her intentions were good, they set the standard that leads to a vicious cycle of pouring from an empty cup. And once we get started, it takes a lot of conscious work and effort to reform the habit.

That’s why I love the Good, Better and Best strategy so much. It guarantees that your basic needs are met and that anything more is just an added bonus! After I stayed committed to my Good level decision, within a 5 second window of placing my toothbrush back in its holder (my last basic need practice completed), P. was out for the night peacefully. I immediately headed to the kitchen to make myself sleepy tea and hopped into bed to journal about my experience (both which are self-care practices that I LOVE to relish in, but consider to be a luxury because they aren’t a requirement. Essentially, my relationship with myself won’t suffer without it, it is only enhanced).

That’s the way you should look at the Good, Better and Best strategy when considering what your basic needs are compared to your luxuries. Once you have a good understanding of what your base level (Good level) is, it’s easy to interchange your Better and Best levels depending on the day or area of life you are evaluating. & Remember this doesn’t need to be done every hour of the day! Just like we only eat a few times during the day and aim to have about 8 cups of water a day, every decision doesn’t need to be a mental stress case of “Whatever am I to do?!”. If you consider this strategy at least once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once at night, I guarantee you will SEE and FEEL a HUGE shift in your relationship with yourself. In addition, you will model the importance self-love to your children so they too can navigate the murky waters of advocating for themselves amongst layers of other responsibilities.

As long as your basic needs are being met, you CAN continue on. Do this everyday for a month and you will feel more energy, be more clear minded and make healthier decisions for you (and your loved ones) on a daily basis.

Give yourself the 30 Day Good, Better, Best Month Challenge and let me know how it makes a difference in YOUR life!

Because you’re worth fighting for mama.

Xx,

Coach Elena

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