Breakthroughs, Empowerment, Feeling Your Best Let’s Take the “I’m Pleasing Myself” 30-Day Challenge – Please Yourself, For Once Written by: Kathy Caprino

This weekend, I had a pretty harsh wake-up call (that cosmic 2×4 that hits you across the face that you never want) and it knocked me to my knees. (There was a lot of crying involved as well.)

What I realized through the experience was this:

  • I have spent WAY too much time the last year (who am I kidding – it’s been my entire life) focusing on meeting everyone else’s expectations of me. Or more accurately, too much time worrying about pleasing other people, rather than pleasing myself. So much time, in fact, that I’m a bit hazy on exactly what would truly and deeply please me.
  • I’ve literally exhausted myself to the bone in meeting crushing deadlines (and lots of them) that are totally self-imposed, and could be much better controlled than I’ve been allowing.
  • In the past two months, I’ve had days and weeks of totally losing myself, particularly in the often arduous process of building my business to the next level. Yup, I “lost” myself.

It’s crazy. As a trained therapist and a career coach, I spend hours upon hours every week writing, speaking, coaching and training on these very same issues, so it’s always a surprise when I fail my own wisdom, and don’t follow the awesome advice that I can so easily give to others (and that friends have been trying to share with me for the past six months).

But there’s another reminder I needed today – I’m human.

If you feel like you too have been crushed to the ground lately, racing around to please everyone else, and have forgotten how to go about pleasing yourself, I’d like to offer this.

Together, let’s go on a “I’m Pleasing Myself!” 30-day challenge.

Let’s figure out exactly what pleases us, and start doing more of it, every single day. Let’s take a look at the food we eat, the work we do, the people we spend time with, the tasks we engage in, the environment around us, the work culture we’re immersed in, the conversations we have, the news we read – the works.

And let’s also embrace a strict commitment to deal head-on with our serious addiction to “Pleasing others.” I’d love to say “I’m done!” with pleasing others, but I know better. I know that it’s not an overnight fix – it’s a life-long process. (For more on this important topic of how we deal with inner and outer expectations, read Gretchen Rubin’s fascinating book Better Than Before, and stay tuned for my upcoming interview with Gretchen).

Can we do this together? I need a bit of support too. How about we take these six little steps, every single day for 30 days, as our “I’m Pleasing Myself” 30-day challenge:

  • Focus on yourself exclusively for 10 minutes at the start of the day– Each morning, before you race off pleasing others, ask yourself “What do I need to do to really please myself today?” Sit with that for 10 minutes, and don’t let you mind skirt off to “what do I have to do for my family or my boss?”
  • Take control of your obligations and rein them in – Ask yourself, “What deadlines have I self-imposed, that aren’t necessary or important to reach?” For each of these, add some more time and push the deadline out so you don’t kill yourself getting something done for no good reason.
  • Reach out and ask for help – Think about the help you need today, and go out and ask for it. Make that call, write that email, call that friend. Do it.
  • Take at least THREE 15-minute breaks (besides meals) – Give yourself more time (three breaks at least) to push away from the computer, get up and stretch, relax, talk to your friend, drink a cup of tea, go outside. Let your body relax. Play with your pet. Take the tension off your neck and shoulders and breathe.
  • Be with what you’re eating – Don’t wolf your food down in 3 minutes while standing up (boy is that a familiar activity). Sit down, get some water, and “be” with your food as you slowly chew it. My grandmother (“Yaya”) would say – “Horses eat standing up – sit down!” Don’t eat like a horse.
  • Say YES to what you love – Wherever you can today, say “NO” to the projects, tasks and activities you hate doing, and “YES!” to more of the work you love. Just say no.

I’m serious about taking this challenge, and I hope you’ll join me. Please share below how it goes for you – how long you’re able to focus on yourself, how many days you made this happen, and what’s in the way of loving and pleasing yourself more and more each day. And let us know what other “I’m Pleasing Myself!” activities you can embrace that fit your life and work.

I have a feeling we’ll all be shocked at how this will change our lives for the better. You in?


25 thoughts on “Let’s Take the “I’m Pleasing Myself” 30-Day Challenge – Please Yourself, For Once”

  1. Hi Kathy, I have been on LinkedIn for about 1.5 years and I been following you since then. you have helped me a lot already so I will do this challenge with you starting tomorrow.
    I will keep you posted and here is to us doing something for no 1 “ourselves”

  2. Thank you, Dhabir, for following my work. I’m so happy to hear that my messages and materials have supported you. Thrilled that you’ll take this Challenge with me. Please share how it goes all along the way!

  3. Great simple steps Kathy and from experience (at least with taking breaks and playing with my cat) I know they work. Any suggestions with sustaining the motivation over the next 30 days?

    Chris Maklell

  4. Thanks so much, Chris! I appreciate your feedback. My best tip for sustaining motivation is to get help – ask a friend or a coaching buddy to help you stay accountable to yourself. It’s so very easy to slide back to our old ways, but when we have someone on our side with whom we’ve shared our staunch commitment to making progress on this, it helps us stay motivated through the push and pull of returning to our old habits. Hope that helps! Please let me know how it goes for you over these 30 days.

  5. I’m in. Maybe I can’t do all 6 every day, but if I can consistently do even half of them, it will shift me towards a better “interior” habit and towards all 6. I especially relate to numbers 1, 2 and 4!

  6. Trying to stay true to the 30 day challenge, today the idea of pushing back those arbitrarily decided, self-imposed deadlines had meaning for me.

  7. Well, you have just made my day, I thought you were mirroring me.
    I used to run myself ragged pleasing other people, and I was let down every time.
    Until a friend introduced me to the most valuable tool, for remembering who and what I am.
    I remember crying also as this was my wake up call and it’s called {THE SECRET}. If I start to forget or am distressed at all, the DVD gets played, the best purchase I ever made and if you have not heard of it, you certainly have now, I strongly recommend it to anyone.
    Interior design is a very rewarding job but can be quite stressful.

    Love from me to all in this crazy time we are all living in, especially us all here living very close to the middle east. Christine.

  8. Thanks, Christine! So happy you’ve found your tool for reminding yourself to love and please yourself, and stop racing around focused only on pleasing others. Kudos! and thanks for sharing. All best to you.

  9. Hi ND – Thanks so much for sharing. I love your list – I can just feel how restorative (and fun) these activities are! I took a very long walk with my dog yesterday and I felt like a new person! (It’s been so cold I haven’t wanted to walk, but I realize how crucial exercise and nature are for my well-being!) And eating quietly, calmly and in a focused way – life-changer for me!

    Thanks for your kind words about my ability to ask for help. It’s not easy for me, but so what – we need to stretch out of our comfort zones to grow.

    Let us know how your challenge goes! Thanks again.

  10. Am on Day 6 now, and it is having some subtle and not so subtle results. This attention to self for 10 minutes every morning has made me more aware in a general way of what is and is not productive, constructive and useful for me. I find myself having drastically cut down my time on FaceBook, more selectively screening and managing incoming phone calls, and thinking more logistically about promoting my work…..and then acting on it.

    Doing this for 30 days is sure to shift one’s perspective in the long term!

  11. Thank you, Kathy, for sharing the opportunity to work on this issue, I need to do a lot of changes.

    I made one step today. Usually, at work, I eat my lunch standing. Today, I was eating it sitting,

    As I was reading your article for the first time, it felt wrong to think on what is pleasing myself. The habit of pleasing others is so deep within me. I’ve got to work a lot.

    And these posts are so encouraging to me.

  12. Am on Day 17 of the 30 Day cha;llenge. Started off extremely well, and even had a new morning routine which I was well able to stick to. Am feeling a bit gray or low in the past few days, however, and am not sure why. Had a huge revelation in recent days, so maybe I am coming down from that. I sort of accept these gray days and just keep the routine, for without it I would be feeling worse. One thing I came up with in the ten minutes of thinking about and asking myself about what would really please ME, one thing was to stick to some minimal but regular exercise even in the miserable weather we are having. I am also limited to what I can do because of some back problems. So for 10 minutes every day, I pedal away on an old exercise bicycle someone gave me. And while cycling, I close my eyes and use those 10 minutes to think about what ELSE I might please myself with today. I think that’s a bit funny!

  13. Kathy, hope you are getting some well deserved quality self time and pampering. This was a great idea and though I decided Im trying to delelop my own routines on this theme, you have,once more, made me more mindful. Thank you!

  14. Hi Vally! So glad you’re starting the challenge!! It’s self-paced, so make tomorrow your first day, and follow the steps I’ve outlined and add in any other steps that will motivate and please you!. Let us know how it goes for you!

  15. Well, I am 3 days away from having completed the 30 days. It helped me develop a morning routine around those 10 minutes that was non-negotiable, and even though there were 2 or 3 times something urgent came up and I could not do the routine in the morning, I always managed to make space for it later in the day.

    The spillover effect of focusing on one’s self for 10 minutes at the start of every day has been very positive, and made me more focused throughout the day on what my needs really ARE, whether it has to do with food choices, limiting Facebook time, choosing not to engage in conversations with certain people, and much more.

    It was a great idea Kathy, and one that is going to last longer than 30 days!

  16. How wonderful, MJF! Thank you so much for sticking with it, and observing yourself in the process of committing to pleasing yourself, every day. I’m so very glad it was meaningful to you, and will have some positive lasting effects. I love too how you approached this – realizing that sometimes “life” intervenes and gets in the way of our “routines.” But if we let that push us off our track, we’re done with! Thank you for sharing!

  17. Well that’s it! The 30 Day Challenge is now over…but it’s not. As mentioned above, the new morning routine I develolped as a result of it are not just suddenly going to be stopped because 30 days are up. I will adopt it now as part of a new approach to Life and be glad for the benefits large and small that have come with it, and surely will continue. Great idea, KC!

  18. Yay, MJF! Thanks SO much for taking the challenge, and reporting back on your outcomes and experiences. For me too, it’s been a very liberating (and different) experience to wake up and think about what I want each day. It reminds me of the feeling I had the first time last Fall when I was an empty nester, and I went grocery shopping – I suddenly recognized that for 21 years, I had shopped with only one thing in mind – what my family wanted to eat, not what I loved. Crazy how we can so easily forget that WE matter. Thanks again for taking the challenge. I hope it helps you throughout your life remember that you matter dearly!

  19. Thanks, Consuella. So here’s the deal – for things to change in your life, you have to CHANGE things. Your schedule at work is crazy – that’s probably not going to change. So what can you do in your life to make the changes you need to? How about waking up 10 minutes early, lying in bed and just thinking about yourself, your life, and what you want more of. Just 10 minutes a day — focus on you, and what you dream of having and asking your higher guidance for help to get it. Again, life won’t be happier unless you commit to doing things differently. We make a lot of excuses for why things can’t change, but the people I know who’ve created amazing lives have pushed through that, and done something BOLD. I hope that’s the “nudge” you need! All best.

  20. Good morning Kathy,
    I started my 10 min my time this morning. It was nice to sit in my livngroom in peace and quiet to reflect on me.

    thank you

    Until next time

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