How To Quit Falling Off the Wagon

...And Maintain Motivation To Reach Your Goals

Throughout the REGULAR calendar year, there are no true mindset trends among my clients. 

But, I find that as my lovelies return from the unordinary -- travel and celebrations —  and get back into their normal routines and habits from more relaxed existence , many begin to look back on their holiday breaks with regret. 

Like this week for instance, I've heard the phrase “I need to get back on the wagon" A LOT.

Pretty harmless. Very typical assessment. I could easily breeze right past this comment and direct them to the first exercise of the day.

But instead, I stop them in their tracks every time. And we sit on the big cushy gym mats at Drive and discuss this very important truth:

A tumble -- or even a few! -- should never be considered a complete derail.

If you get lost on a journey, you’re still on that journey. You are quite possibly just a decision or two -- maybe a missed week of workouts or a couple of seasonal beverages -- to the right of the path.

But, you still have the map in your hands.

You may find it easy to get discouraged by these sidetracks and tempting to rip up that map in a fit of frustration or a delusion of doubt. 

But remember this.

You can easily recalibrate your coordinates and calculate a new route at any time. You may still proceed to your same intended destination. It’s just a matter of resetting your own internal GPS and continuing to move forward.

There will be some times that hitting cruise control will be easy and available. These are moments that we should not take for granted. They will even occur more frequently further down the road -- after we have become more seasoned travelers.

But it’s super important to note that bad weather, road blocks, and traffic are always possible. No matter how long we've been on the trail. They are part of normal every day life. And completely out of our control. 

What you can control though, is your willingness to decide that these obstacles ARE part of the journey. Because in fact, how we respond to these particular challenges, is what ultimately determines our long term success.

It’s perspective. You can react to the challenges and mishaps with exasperation and despondency. Or you can choose to face the tough spots with an unperturbed demeanor. 

And I’ve got some real advice that you can begin to utilize right away. Because I believe, you can't really change your mindset without the accompanying supportive action. 

Prepare yourself for the journey

Willpower is finite. Decision making fatigue is real. Every choice we make diminishes our ability to make further choices, just like every rep in the gym diminishes our energy for the next set.

Mental burnout and physical fatigue can even be the culprit of some of these "off the rails" moments. These are the times you'll find that even the most motivational memes are meaningless to the cause of turning around your thoughts. And that stupid cheesecake you didn't even want, wins.

We need to plan ahead as best we can to protect ourselves from exhaustion, so that we can make decisions with more ease.

Make your decisions easier

Rid your kitchen of the leftover holiday sweets and any food that can trigger those "off the rails" thoughts. Now girl, this does not mean you need to toss all the good stuff. Throw away JUST the foods that make you feel like you are no longer on the path. Example: I NEED to throw away the Christmas cookies. But, I keep the ice-cream that is a usual indulgence of my non-holiday life.

Make an appointment to move

Whether it's signing in to all of your classes on Sunday (when your brain is most fresh)or planning to meet friends at the rock climbing gym at a specific time, find a way to eliminate the question of "Am I going to move today?"

I practice this myself by grabbing training programs from other coaches at Drive and creating accountability. Make it a no-brainer and make it enjoyable so you don't have to waste energy on deciding if you are going to get out of bed. Prepay for that trainer session you've been meaning to make and go.

Plan out as many meals as you can.

I work in New York so I see some of the busiest people on the planet. So, priority number one is to figure out how to make sure they have the right fuel to get through each day.

 If your schedule is stacked and you cannot prepare and cook your own meals, there is likely a service in your area that can. The more meals you have accounted for in advance, the less you have to worry about while your knee-deep in a proposal that was really due yesterday. Consider that convenience when you are balking over the time it takes to food shop or the money you spend on to-go meals.

Oh , and sleep.

You'll find that if you allow your brain a good eight hours to shut down every night, you can make more intelligent and smart decisions in a snap while awake.

Be present in the moment

This one is particularly difficult for most of us who are over scheduled and under fueled. We begin to worry only about the outcome, what's happening next. Thoughts like: "But I can't eat lunch because I gotta be skinnier by Spring Break!" "If I don't get this cardio in now, I won't look good in this dress on Saturday." The pressure begins to build and our willpower is threatened. But if we can be mindful of what we are feeling right now, what's happening right now -- we can realize what's important to our bodies right now.

Breathe.

Notice how taking a few good belly and ribcage expanding inhales with a nice slow exhale, can suddenly provide more possible solutions to your toughest decisions. There are moments throughout the week that I feel like the walls are about to cave in on me and those "whatever, nothing matters" thoughts start to creep in. I come back to my breath for a few moments and suddenly even a New York City subway car looks bright with possibility. 

Change your perspective.

Use the tough spots where you have limited options or limited willpower as welcome challenge. These are the places you get to practice your problem-solving skills. And each challenge you respond to with this even eagerness will build your confidence and add a sense of ease to the obstacles you are sure to meet in the future.

Reflect back

How we perceive our past decisions also influences our present and future decisions. We begin to create a story of who we are based on where we've been. So, it's important that we take a look back and acknowledge the wins. Because over time, more wins begins to change our perception of ourselves and who we are as confident and powerful individuals. This is how the road becomes easier over time, as I mentioned earlier.

If your story is about a chick who takes care of herself and does the right things to reach her goals, you will likely take better care of yourself and do what you need to do to continue to reach your goals. 

Log more than just food and workouts

Log your food and workouts. But more importantly for our purpose, don’t forget to include some notes on the events of the day. This practice can help us not only to become more mindful, but to reflect back with the additional knowledge of how your decisions were influenced by everything else that was going on, including the obstacles. This could be the difference between logging a loss or a win.

Just be nice

And as you are logging, SCRATCH THAT, keep this one in mind all of the time: Be kind to yourself. Take a constructive approach to the critique of your less than stellar decisions and remain objective.

Realize that making the best decision out of the choices that you have available, is the truest definition of perfection.  

You don't ever have to fall off

So, where do you want to go? What do you want to accomplish in 2017?

Change is hard. Creating new habits is certainly not easy. Just skip the harsh judgements and the "should" and the inspirational posts. You have only to decide that the goal is worth it in your next tough decision. And you are already on your way.