How To Put Yourself First Without Feeling Guilty

How To Put Yourself First Without Feeling Guilty

how to put yourself first without feeling guilty

Realistic Ways To Start Prioritizing Yourself

This is all about how to put yourself first without feeling guilty. And let me start by saying…


This is a heavy topic. This will not just be a decision you make one Tuesday morning and never look back.

Goodbye, guilt. You are not welcome here.

It would be nice if it were that simple. No such luck.

It’s a process. It’s a journey.

These ideas are a roadmap to start minimizing guilt. Not banish it from your life once and for all. (not possible)

Life is demanding. We can all agree on that. 

When stretched thin, one of the main things we push further and further down the list is ourselves. 

We mustn’t give ourselves a permanent spot at the very bottom of the priority list. That’s when life can begin to feel less joyful and much less fulfilling. 

Being aware of the fact that you deserve to be prioritized is great. These ideas are about taking it a step past awareness. 

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Here Are 11 Ideas All About How To Put Yourself First Without Feeling Guilty

1) Grab a Notebook

Now, go ahead and open that bad boy up and let the words flow. Get a conversation going. (this notebook set is so pretty)

Words on paper are powerful. And putting our thoughts or concerns on paper takes the pressure off our brains. Your mind is an amazing thing. But it can only take so much.

Ask and answer some questions. Specifically, questions surrounding guilt and prioritizing yourself.

What comes to mind when it comes to prioritizing myself? What do I feel guilty about? Where does this guilt come from? What happens when I neglect my wants and needs? Is this guilt productive? Am I being fair to myself?

Questions can lead to understanding. In order to work on the way guilt impacts your life, you need to understand it in a deeper way.

Writing is also the perfect way to practice self-awareness. And to reflect on your choices, behaviors, and habits. 

On a personal level, seeing my thoughts and emotions on paper is extremely validating. It just clicks better when I have it out there in the world in front of me. 

This might be why I love books so much. (these personal growth books are worth the read)

2) Insert Small Joys into Your Life

Bigger might be better when it comes to a plate of nachos. 

But when it comes to things that bring us joy or happiness, small things are just fine. In fact, small things done consistently are where it’s at.

The things that we can make happen. They are doable. They fit into our lives without much effort. 

Putting ourselves first does not have to involve these elaborate plans. I have a friend who does a 10-minute meditation every morning. 

I have another friend who vows to only do something she truly enjoys during her kiddos’ naptime. 

This could be savoring a cup of coffee in the morning (a funny mug is a must). Taking a walk every evening. Having music playing whenever possible. Wearing comfortable clothing. Wrapping up in a cozy blanket and enjoying your favorite treat. 

Watching comedies that make you laugh and not just binge murder mystery shows. (I’m talking to myself here)

The possibilities are endless. 

Incorporating small moments of joy into your days can significantly boost your happiness and well-being. And it’s a great way to dip your toes into the land of prioritizing yourself.

3) Set Boundaries

So often in life, taking on more and more seems like what we should do. Saying no doesn’t always feel right.

This could come from childhood experiences or societal expectations. 

With that said, boundaries are necessary. They may also feel quite uncomfortable in the early stages. 

That can make things pretty tricky. We need them and they don’t always feel good. 

Boundaries don’t have to be these massive things. Think of them more as small, invisible lines that you draw and do your best to stick to consistently. 

I go to a weekly book club on Monday nights. Both of my girls (10 & 3), do not like to go to bed without me. They protest consistently. But I go. I go even if the kids are not happy about it. I go even when my husband has had a long day at work. 

And while getting out of the house is not always this carefree and pleasant experience, I go. Because I matter too. Getting a break and having adult conversations are important to me. 

I am not an expert in the boundaries department. However, this book is the holy grail of boundaries. The author breaks it all down in an approachable and understandable way. 

4) Practice Kindness

First off, just like every other idea on this list, being kind to yourself is not always easy. Is it a relatively simple idea? Yep.

But it’s not so easy to put into action.

Treat yourself how you would a friend… with compassion, grace, and understanding. You can hear or see those words a million times and that doesn’t guarantee change.

It takes practice. 

One way to start this is by having some go-to positive affirmations. Words to turn to when negative self-talk is comin’ in hot. 

I deserve joy. I deserve to prioritize myself. Find ones that speak to you. Hopefully, one day in the future, meeting yourself with kindness will no longer feel like an insurmountable challenge. 

5) Take Care of Yourself

There are endless ways to do this. And there are no right or wrong answers here. 

But let’s look at some heavy hitters. 

Sleep. This impacts every part of our lives. Now, every season of life does not allow for sleep to be at the top of the list. (hello kids) But when possible, give it your best effort. 

Water intake. Our bodies need water. Lots of water. 

Nourishing foods. Feeding our bodies things that make us feel good. 

Moving your body in a way that makes you feel good. (not as a punishment)

These things are never perfect in my life. Probably not in yours either. I am still always so pleasantly surprised by what a full night’s sleep and some extra protein at meals do for me. 

These things can help in creating a sturdy foundation. Also, the way we approach these parts of life will inevitably bleed into other parts of life. 

6) This AND That

Balance. That’s not my favorite word. The idea of balance gets criticized pretty harshly. 

When it comes to putting yourself first or managing your responsibilities, it’s not a this or that scenario.

It’s more of a this and that situation. Two (or more things) can be true. Right? We don’t have to go all in on one or the other. 

Putting yourself first does not mean you are completely neglecting something or someone else. Prioritizing yourself in no way means you let everything else fall by the wayside.

Here is a reminder that your sole purpose in life is not to make everyone around you happy and satisfied while you suffer in silence. 

7) What Are The Benefits?

What good things come from us prioritizing ourselves? Look for and name the positive outcomes.

How does putting yourself first contribute to the overall satisfaction and fulfillment you feel in life? How does it impact the vibe of your life? 

We can often fall into this trap of thinking that doing things for ourselves won’t change much. It won’t move the needle drastically so why bother?

But when we start doing things and then noticing and acknowledging the impact of those things, that’s when we really get movin’ and groovin’. 

Examining the actual cause and effect of actions or choices is a game changer. 

Touching back on what I mentioned earlier about my weekly book club, looking at the outcomes of my kids protesting helps me as well. The reality is that they are fine. Me being gone at bedtime is not harming them. But if I chose to ignore what I needed and stay home, that would impact me in plenty of not-so-great ways. 

8) Communication

Without open and honest communication in our closest relationships, things may not shift in ways we need or want them to. 

Do you ever fall into the trap of assuming people are mind readers?

My husband and I have been together for 17 years. I spent many of those years thinking he should just know what I need. He should be able to see when I am struggling and do what he can to help me. 

The thing is… he always has done things. But if I do not clearly let him know what I need then I will always be disappointed. And that’s not fair for either of us. 

Asking for what I want or need is the only way I am going to get it. 

Another aspect of this is that people may not respond the exact way you would like them to. It’s vital to practice not taking everything personally. This is so so so tough. 

But people are allowed to react to things in whatever way they want. We don’t have to take that on as something else to worry and stress about. And that doesn’t mean we are harsh and don’t care about others. 

We simply don’t have to engage in every piece of pushback that comes our way. 

9) Social Media Break

Social media is not this big bad monster out to get you.

There are pros and cons to it, of course, just like with most things.

The thing with social media is that it bombards you with opinions. And those opinions tend to sway heavily to one side of an issue or experience. 

There’s not a lot of middle-ground info. Middle ground may not be as exciting. And on social media, people are out to get your attention. 

Taking a step back can be just what we need to get a clearer view. A more real-life perspective. It can remove the abundance of outside influences and make space for what we truly think and feel about a matter. 

10) Set Some Realistic Goals

Approaching this from the mindset of what can I make happen is how you get the ball rolling. What factors can I control and put into play?

This directly relates to what we talked about earlier with small joys.

There is a lot in life we do not have complete control over. And it’s easy to get caught up in that. The vicious hamster wheel of the areas we don’t have as much wiggle room. 

Search for the wiggle room. The pockets of time you can control. (no matter how small those pockets are)

11) Check-in

This will not just be something you look at one time and then never circle back again. It’s more like a constant circle. 

With how different each season of life can look, adjustments will always be part of the equation. 

Checking in with yourself regularly can help you determine what’s working and what’s not. And checking in keeps the momentum going. 

This isn’t about maintaining the top spot on your list of important things no matter what. 

This is about discovering real-life ways to view your wants and needs as important and valid. 

Also, a big part of this is recognizing that taking care of yourself is not only beneficial to you. It positively impacts those around you. 

Do you have any thoughts on how to put yourself first without feeling guilty?

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How To Put Yourself First Without Feeling Guilty

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