We’ve all been in this situation. You realize you’ve completely derailed from your healthy regimen. You skipped 2 workouts, you unexpectedly had a slice of cake after dinner, you have been buying meals out every day. “What’s done is done. I’ll start up again Monday”.
You can probably relate pretty well with this scenario in some way or another. It’s very interesting how much power we give to *Mondays*. What is so special about Mondays? That it marks the beginning of a new week? What about the sun coming up every morning, or the clock ticking for each new second? These, too, pose opportunities to begin planting new seeds.
Realize Mondays are nothing special and start today.
You’re giving all the credit to Mondays, when it is actually YOU who initiates change. It’s you who decides, you who acts. You will bring about the change, Monday won’t do it for you. Why wait? All that time between when you plan to restart and when you actually do is time spent doing exactly what you wanted to avoid - not practicing the new habit.
Take one step at a time
To reach our ultimate overarching goal, we need to break it down into small, manageable pieces, otherwise its nearly impossible to take real action. What measurable, practical steps can you take RIGHT NOW to get you on the right path? Rather than: “tomorrow - I will be back on my clean eating regimen, exercising 5 days a week, and practicing meditation every morning!”,
say “tomorrow - I will make a list and go to the grocery store so I have what I need in the house to eat healthy.” Now you have a clear step to take.
“But I had good intentions”.
This is a good way to relieve a little bit of the disappointment in ourselves when things don’t go according to plan, but its also a good way to delay your goals even more. If you think about it, you don’t have to DO much at all to have good intentions, so if you make your intentions the ultimate measure, you won’t go beyond the intention and turn it into action.
Second, let’s face it, you’re not going to be perfect, things won’t always go smoothly. It’s important to be honest with yourself when you fall off track, and it’s equally as important to be gentle and forgiving. If you bash yourself for not sticking to plan, you’ll likely become discouraged, and STAY off track... until Monday, maybe.
If you are honest with yourself, examine what went wrong, and get right back on track, you’ve hardly regressed by that point.
Pinpoint your “why”
If you don’t know WHY you are trying to incorporate a new habit into your life, it makes it much harder to stay committed. Think about your values, and what kind of results you would like to see manifest. If your reason for eating healthy is because “that’s what I’m supposed to do, that’s what my family wants me to do”, it won’t stick.
When your why for eating healthy becomes so you can ward off the disease that runs in your family, so you can live a longer, healthier life and have more energy to do the things you love, the commitment will begin to solidify. Don’t focus on the ‘why’ that the world around you throws at you, focus on the ‘why’ that is based on your intrinsic values. From there, crafting the habit will be about that ‘why’. The habit is simply the means to reach a goal.
Commit before you even start. Sign up for this week's fitness classes NOW so that you've committed before you can wake up the morning of, giving it a second guess. Prepare your healthy meals in bulk now so that you'd have to go out of your way to choose something else. Form your environment to reflect your goals and it will be much easier to execute. Find what you can do that commits you to performing the habit before you actually have to perform it. It's natural for us to want to take the path of least resistance, so try to make that path the one that makes way for the habit.
Honor all of your victories
Avoid being "all or nothing" when it comes to your goals. When you're trying to make a lifestyle change, know that you are not going to get it perfect the day you begin. Learning a new skill, a new habit, takes time. It takes "rinsing and repeating" before it is ingrained. It's important to acknowledge the progress that you DID make, rather than harp on all the ways you did not get it perfect. Address what needs improvement, and use that to your advantage, not as discouragement.