Got a healthy goal or resolution? Good for you!
But if it hasn't happened already, it will:
You will mess up. You will have a bad day or a bad week or even a bad month. You will Suck whereas once you Rocked.
So what do you do next? Give up?
Awfully tempting! Because the easiest way to avoid the miserable feeling of disappointment we get from not living up to our aspirations is to stop having any.
It's too hard! I quit! F--ck it!
Or... you could take a deep breath, and figure out how to go forward.
I've got some thoughts, but I'll be really curious what others might have to say about coping with getting back on track after you take your eye off the ball.
(And for those of you just joining us, you can still be part of the Resolution Giveaway and Support Group! It really is turning out to be awesomely motivating (at least for me) and could also win you a free 4 session package of Life Coaching, or at a minimum a big whopping discount. But if you're suspicious that Life Coaching is some evil enterprise Satan dreamed up or you are otherwise uninterested, then no worries! Comment freely and support your fellow blogreaders, and there's no need to feel awkward about declining a package should you, to your horror, be chosen).
(To catch up, go to the the original Resolution Support Giveaway post, then the second Find the Fun in Your Resolution post, and adjust the instructions accordingly so that you are making a 3 part comment and contributing 3 supportive replies).
(Those of you here from the beginning, you know the drill!)
A Few Ideas on Dealing With Messing Up and Backsliding:
1. Normalize Failure
Gosh, are you not perfect? Did you fail to live up to your highest standard? Join the freakin' club!
I won't belabor this one, but be assured you are not alone in slipping up on your way towards your goal. EVERYBODY does, sooner or later.
I vaguely recall that some life coaching textbook said that starting in about week three of a lifestyle change, there is often a huge dip in progress and a feeling of hopelessness for many people. Sucking it up now and hanging in for the next week or two may be tough, but it will pay off bigtime in terms of habit formation for the long run.
(Btw, this 3 week thing was used as a rationale for selling coaching sessions only in packages rather than letting them be available as individual sessions. The theory is if that if a client commits up front to at least 4 sessions, long term change is much more likely! Does anyone else but me think it may also be in part because most life coaches really dig getting the cash in advance?).
2. Analyze and Trouble-Shoot
This step may not be necessary if the slip was some weird anomaly that you know won't happen again.
Let's say you were walking the last block to the gym when a van destined for the local zoo got rear-ended by a careless FedEx driver, liberating a hungry occupant that you'd need to navigate around.
No worries: you are officially excused! Go to the gym tomorrow.
But let say there were no traffic accidents involving Jaguars, automotive or otherwise, blocking your way to the gym. The reason you bailed is that you just didn't freakin' feel like being there.
You could chalk it up to so a failure of willpower, and beat yourself up for being such a wuss so early in the process. You can subconsciously label yourself weak-willed and get that doomed feeling that you are just not the sort of person who ever follows through. This does wonders for motivation going forward.
Because often failures aren't about willpower alone. There are triggers!
Perhaps a bunch of little things conspired to make gym-going less likely. You were hungry, or tired, or you caught a glimpse of a jiggly bodypart in the restroom mirror and felt shy, or your chatty coworker kept going on and on about everyone going out for pizza and beer after work and he wouldn't shut up until you agreed.
You may want to try to notice troublesome triggers and plan sneaky ways of avoiding them or outsmarting them. How might you eliminate some of the things that are sapping your motivation? Engineer your environment to make it easy, rather than a struggle, to kick resolution ass.
Your Coworkers Will Thank You Too
And try to notice what you say to yourself. Tuning in to your "self-talk" may sound doofy, but changing it really does make a huge difference in your ability to defeat self-sabotage that can derail progress. Some day no doubt I'll be prattling about it in a Cranky Fitness ebook, but in the meantime there are TONS of resources out there for how to do this.
3. Tweak a Bit, Abandon Ship, or Re-Commit
Maybe the problem isn't with your motivation or willpower or logistics... maybe it's the goal itself.
Are you someone who normally Gets It Done but are struggling? How about modifying your goal so that it is more approachable but retains some of the flavor of the original goal?
One tweak that often helps is to turn a goal that is about Results into one that is about Process. If you want to lose 20 pounds and it's taking longer than you thought and you're getting discouraged? Make your goal more about activity or dietary habit changes that you will institute (perhaps gradually), and every day you do what you said you would is a Win, and go ahead and feel good about your efforts even if the results take their sweet f--cking time. Because continued efforts are what build new habits for the long run.
Or turn a Virtuous Goal into one that's more fun. Go from walking to competing in a 10K race... of your own devising! Run it with a couple of good pals and set the finish line at your favorite pub for post-race beer and burgers and loser buys the first round.
Maybe you've chosen a goal that you're not passionate about but return to every year because you're supposed to. If there's no way to inject passion into it this round, what if you shifted your energy to something entirely different you really feel motivated to tackle? (And yeah, I am a great believer that sometimes it's better to be a happy quitter and focus on your true priorities, whatever they may be).
And then, once you've swapped out your goal for something you feel is better suited: CLEAN SLATE! Get fired up again and kick some ass and don't look back.
So how you guys doing this week? Any impressive FAILS or y'all pretty much on track and feelin' pleased?
Photos: Failing Street: CJ Daniel
Jaguar: Tambako the Jaguar
Buckingham Fail: Dadavidov
Volleyball Fail: Dadavidov
Duct tape: jk5854