Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Falling Wagons: 6 tips to get back on track

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So you ate too much cheese, or chocolate, or cake, or drank too much beer, or didn't work out last night, or most nights. Nobody's perfect. Don't beat yourself up about falling off the wagon, instead, remember your destination and develop strategies to stay on track. Here are a few hints to help you do that.

Photo from Toronto History



Set more specific goals. 
If you feel that you've failed are you sure that you did? A SMART goal will not only give you something with which to measure your success, but will set out specifically what your actions will looks like. Reframe your goal using this strategy and you may have better success.

Don't take on too much at once.
Maybe there were too many goals at once, or the goal itself was too large. If you look at the goal and it overwhelms you, that's a good indicator that you need to take it in smaller steps. Review it and break it down if neccessary.

Look at your game plan and fill in the blanks.
Was there something lacking from your strategy? Did you avoid scheduling in your workouts or cooking session? Did you never remember to gather your gym clothes by the door, or bring enough lunch? Find out what the chink in the armour was and look for ways to fix it. They might be simple, like packing your clothes the night before, or adjusting your lunch so you don't eat out. If you're stuck for ideas, remember that others have likely gone through the same thing and an internet search may yield a few suggestions.

Photo by kenteegardin

Look for excuses.
Did you make them? There are obviously situations that are beyond our control and those definitely warrant respect, but there are some barriers that we put up and really need to examine to circumvent. 

Ask yourself what excuses you made and were there ways to avoid the problems you felt? Were there things you could change in your environment, schedule, an action, or attitude that might help you to overcome these percieved problems? If so, a list might be helpful, as might asking for help. For example, if you're trying to avoid sweets, but they're everywhere, telling your housemates you wish they'd keep the candy out of your sight will do a world of good. If I want to eat cake because it's there now, I'm hungry, and I don't think I have time to cook, having a list of easy to prepare foods, or keeping something like hard-boiled eggs in the fridge might also be helpful.

Recognize your achievements.
Photo by Julie Rybarczyk
Working out 3 times a week may not instantly give you the results you want, so it's nice to remind yourselve of the work you've done. A reward that fits into your goals can help to keep your motivation up and remind you of how far you've come. For example, since I'm cooking with more veggies, I had to get myself a few nice little kitchen things, they're nice and help with the activity itself, (just like my awesome hotpink sports bra since I'm working out more). 

Commit or Quit.
Examine the goal when you're assessing your success. Is it really important to you? If it is, then re-commit yourself, if not, then quit the action and ask yourself what the root motivation is. For example, one of my 30-day challenges was to meditate everyday, I could do it after work, but after the challenge, I didn't feel like doing it. I examined my aim and realized I was looking for a way to relax and make a mental separation from my time at work, time after, and especially my sleeping time (ever dream of spreadsheets all night?). I may take up the meditation again later, but I found I really enjoyed reading folktales and it had the same benefit, so I'm trying that now and I feel I'm still working on my goal.


Hopefully, the last few posts on setting and achieving goals have been helpful- I know I learned a thing or two in writing them, hopefully you did in reading them.  
If anyone has any tips, comments, or questions, please do share.  

As always, if you like what you read, remember to share, subscribe, or follow me on twitter.
Up Next: The continuation of Eat Healthy, Cheap, Fast.

Live well, Charlotte.

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