Don’t Sweat The New Stuff

We live in unprecedented times, complete with new time crunches, choices, and multitasking nightmares.

If there’s a roof over your head, money in the bank, and food on the table, then you might also be ruminating about how you’re spending time in general, and what constitutes winning and losing in this new world. 

If you’re living with self-doubt, facing uncertainty at home and at work it is likely to give that rude dragon of yours a lot to yell about: Why can’t you keep the kitchen clean? When is your boss going to figure out that you don’t know what you’re doing? Why can’t you get through homework time without yelling at your son? 

Having studied mothers and their self-doubt for over a decade, I’ve created a tried and true technique to help you feel more successful and confident—even when you don’t know what the future holds. 

Let’s get started. Make a list of three things that are new to your life. This can include anything from daycare closures and working from home, to going through a divorce, breast cancer diagnosis or caring for aging parents.

Looking at your list of what’s new in your life, I’d like you cut yourself a break for the newness and unfamiliarity that stares you in the face every day. Writing them in your journal, on a Post-it, or the back of your hand helps to wrap your head around this key fact: of course you don’t know how to handle these situations because you’ve never faced them before. 

You’re a rookie, and rookies don’t nail anything the first time. 

If you don’t do this exercise, you’ll subconsciously sell yourself short and feel like a failure. When you don’t admit that you aren’t used to caring for a sick family member, raising teenagers or committing to a new exercise routine, you’re likely to explode.

But when you admit that a task or scenario is new, you can give yourself grace for not acing it right away.

When I struggled with finding the right words and fighting off fatigue while writing Slay Like a Mother, I took this exercise to heart and continuously reminded myself that of course writing a book for the first time is hard, because I’d never written a book before!

I even took the lesson a step further to drive this home. During an especially hard day of writing, I took out a Post-it note, scribbled, “I expect this to be hard,” and stuck it to the bottom of my computer screen. Whenever I felt frustrated with the process or myself, I’d look at that Post-it to help me manage my expectations.

I suggest you keep your list of three things close by too—on your mirror, in your journal, or on scrap paper in your purse. And perhaps you’d benefit from the “I expect this to be hard” message on a Post-it note front and center in your life. This way, every time you struggle with your new normal, you’ll remind yourself that you’re new to these three responsibilities. You’ll forgive any mishaps as you go along. 

Mustering up a little love and self-compassion for yourself when facing new battles will go a long way toward saving your sanity. And after you slay the three current scenarios staring you down, more will be waiting in the wings which means you’ll be a rookie all over again. And again. 

The good news? Once you learn to love yourself as you navigate new challenges, the skill never goes away, it just gets stronger and better every time.  Keep slaying!

Katherine Wintsch