Start Small
Q: I am an unemployed nurse. I have an 8-year-old child and a wonderful husband who loves me. But I'm 100 pounds overweight; I eat poorly, and I don't exercise. I also don't know how to say no and end up volunteering so much that I'm exhausted and have barely any time for myself. I know I need to make some changes, but how? Where do I start?
—Cyd Keser, San Rafael, California

Beloved, You have taken the first step toward healing: acknowledging the problem. When people are in a caregiving profession, they often don't put themselves first or even second. As a result, they tend to fall victim to an "I don't matter" syndrome. Here is a simple journaling exercise to uproot that unproductive belief and help you learn to honor yourself.

1. For nine consecutive days, complete the following statement nine times, in nine different ways: I don't matter because ___________________________________________.
The goal is to keep writing until you run out of reasons.

2. Now we'll build the foundation for some new, better ideas. Complete this statement 21 times a day in 21 different ways for nine consecutive days: I do matter because _____________________________________________.

3. Finally, let's create some positive habits. Every morning for nine more days, write nine different statements about what you will do that day because you matter. Here are some examples: I will eat healthy, nutritious foods today because I do matter. I will exercise for 20 minutes today because I do matter. I will say no to all requests made of me today because I do matter. Choose three statements per day and use them to implement your new behaviors. I will ______________________________________ today because I do matter.

I believe in you!
—Iyanla Vanzant, host of OWN's Iyanla: Fix My Life