| A Better You |

Commit to Thyself

Small steps and affirmations can gradually transform your behaviors and help rebuild your trust in yourself

Commit to Thyself
Shoshana Schwartz

One of the side effects of a lack of self-discipline is losing faith in yourself. Like water wearing away at a stone, each unmet commitment erodes your sense of trust in yourself. It goes beyond diets you can’t stick to and bedtime routines you don’t keep to; this sense of despair becomes all-encompassing. You start to see yourself as unreliable, consistently unable to depend on your own word.

Changing this pattern seems impossible. Embarking on a self-improvement program that you know you won’t stick to will further undermine your self-belief.

To break that patten, think small. Then think smaller.

Consider the many daily actions that you typically do with some consistency. Do you floss your teeth, put your plate in the sink after eating, turn off the lights when you exit a room? Do you wish each family member a nice day when they leave, or daven before your first coffee?

Choose one of these easy, daily actions that you already do most of the time. Observe yourself as you do this action, then walk over to the mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say, “Well done! I can act with consistency.” Day by day, you are rebuilding belief in yourself as a reliable human.

But what if you uncover inner resistance? Perhaps you notice a wave of annoyance over the burden of having to floss every single day. Or maybe you take it a step further and boycott the floss for a week, or even skip brushing here and there in a mini act of rebellion.

It seems puzzling. They are your teeth, and only you benefit from flossing them. Why would you rebel against yourself?

Yes, there’s a part of you that wants healthy teeth and that wants to engage in other positive actions. At the same time, there’s another part that wants to make itself heard. It’s saying, “You can’t tell me what to do!” or “You’re not in charge!” or “Fine, I’ll do it this time but don’t expect me to be perfect from now on!” or some other message.

It may be tempting  to quash that voice, label it as unhelpful and childish. However, the voice is actually providing extremely valuable information. It’s shedding light on what’s really underneath your resistance to commitment to this specific task, or even commitment in general. When you hear, “You can’t tell me what to do,” coming from inside you, there’s a good chance your objection is not to flossing, but to authority and the burden that seems to place on you.

There may be a little girl inside who still feels small, misunderstood, or bossed around. She might just need a listening ear — yours. Whether you provide her with crayons, pen and paper, paintbrush, modeling clay, or some EFT tapping, give her a chance to express what’s bothering her.

Of course, sometimes wounds run deep and require additional resources. But often, kids just need a chance to say what they’re feeling in order to shift from recalcitrant to cooperative.

Small steps and affirmations can gradually transform your behaviors and help rebuild your trust in yourself. Listening to your inner dialogue and validating the younger you can make that transformation even deeper.


Shoshana Schwartz specializes in compulsive eating, codependency, and addictive behaviors.


Money Talks: Part Two
Rivky Rothenberg and Tsippi Gross


our last column, we discussed the importance and difficulty couples may have talking about finances. One trick we recommend is for couples to plan these conversations in advance. Talk about talking about money. When a financial decision needs to be made, about a purchase or anything else, it will very likely be too late, and possibly too triggering, to have this talk. Having a regularly scheduled time to discuss money is key to keeping you both feeling secure and in control of financial decisions, leading to a reduction in stress and more connection.

“I know my husband is stressed about money, and I myself have a lot of anxiety about money, not knowing how much we have. Talking about this topic is not thrilling for either of us. But we sat down together and made a plan. We decided that slotting a set time on our calendar, when we’re both prepared for what we’ll talk about, will work best for us.

“We found a time in the morning when the kids are out and decided to go somewhere nice to talk. I know there will be some things we won’t agree on, and maybe some things I don’t want to hear… but the important thing is that this is a start. I’m proud I finally decided to get involved in our finances, and I appreciate my husband seeing the importance of the conversation and making time to speak. I’m looking forward to making our finances a regular part of our conversation.”

Here are some questions you can use to jump-start a conversation with your spouse about finances:

Where and when can we talk about money in a way that would be calm, positive, and productive?

Why is it important to each of us to talk about money?

What would our ideal financial relationship look like?

What kind of behavior do we want to model for our children?

What triggers you about money?

What should we do if one of us feels triggered about money?

How do you think we should make financial decisions?

How should we resolve disagreements?

Is there someone we both trust who can help mediate a conversation between us regarding our finances, in case we disagree on a big item?


Rivky Rothenberg, CPA has vast experience helping families with money. Tsippi Gross is a business consultant and fractional COO who focuses on results. Together they started Ashir, a nonprofit financial consulting program to help families go from financial stress to money confidence.


The Ideal and the Real
Abby Delouya

Ideally, Yamim Tovim would be stress-free, filled with joyful moments — emotionally and spiritually nourishing pockets of time amid the hard work and busyness. But it’s okay if it doesn’t work out that way.

Sometimes, being together with family, having all the kids home, and juggling complicated logistics like hosting, serving, and cooking can just feel overwhelming. It’s only natural! Make it easier by not comparing yourself to anyone else, and don’t “should” yourself all of Yom Tov. Try to free yourself from impossible expectations, and set reasonable goals instead: “I will walk for ten minutes a day,” “I won’t make fancy desserts, especially when the kids are happy to have basic brownies….”

Try positive self-talk, and be proud of the small wins.


Abby Delouya RMFT-CCC, CPTT is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice, specializing in trauma and addiction. Abby is also the COO and Director of Intake of Ray of Hope.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 889)

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