So, did you start yesterday all clean and fresh and eager to get fit, get healthy, and generally take control of your life?
Are you still on a high or is the motivation already starting to wane?
If it’s the former, well done you! Small successes spur us on to achieve bigger and better things.
If it’s the latter, fear not. All is not lost! I once read that one chocolate isn’t the end of a diet. I think that’s so true. Just because you slip up doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. It just means you’ve hit a dip in the road and it’s up to you whether you give up, curl up, and never try to see what’s over the horizon, or you crawl right out of it and keep on truckin’.
Let’s say you decided to give up smoking, but succumbed to one cigarette in a moment of weakness. Does that mean you failed? No, it means you’re human. Instead of telling yourself that you’re a smoker, understand that you’re a non-smoker who just had a tiny setback before moving on.
I don’t drink alcohol. Never have. But, do you think that if I’d had one drink, that I’d suddenly be classed as a drinker? Of course not! One drink wouldn’t make me a drinker, the same as one cigarette doesn’t make you a smoker. Yes, it could certainly be the start of a slippery slope, but an isolated incident doesn’t define you.
One bar of chocolate doesn’t make you unhealthy, and one missed workout doesn’t make you lazy or unfit.
But you have to be careful. One incident can lead to another, and another, and… pretty soon they’re no longer “isolated incidents”; they’re a habit. Once you smoke that first cigarette, it’s so much easier to smoke another. Once you eat that first piece of chocolate, it’s so much easier to eat another.
But you don’t have to! Recognise that you have a choice. Yes, it can be hard to recover from a slip-up. But “hard” doesn’t mean impossible. “Hard” doesn’t mean failure.
Of course, the best way to stick with your resolutions is to maintain control 100% of the time. After all, you certainly have control over that first stumble. It’s much easier just to not reach for that first piece of chocolate than it is not to reach for that second piece.
As Mathew Perry, self-confessed alcoholic, recently said, once he has one drink, he can’t stop having another and another. So how does he stay sober? He realizes that, while he may not have control over subsequent drinks, he has control over whether or not he allows himself that first one.
It’s much easier to say no all the time than it is to say no after having said yes once.
But, again, it’s not impossible. Falling off the wagon doesn’t mean you can never get back on. Obviously once you’re on, you should try to stay on, but a little tumble doesn’t mean you’ve been left behind forever. Dust yourself off, straighten yourself up, and get yourself back in the driving seat. (Maybe you just need to re-define or re-evaluate your goals. Click here to read about how to achieve almost anything you set your mind to.)
Do you seriously think one little slip-up makes you a failure? If Usain Bolt didn’t win one race, do you think that would detract from his success? Do you think it would mean he’d never win a never race again?
Do you think that one blow-out suddenly means you have to scrap the budget? Does one lie-in mean you’ll never get up early again? Does one day of neglecting the housework mean you’ll never have a clean dish again?
Confession corner: I wasn’t super productive yesterday. I normally start a new year on a buzz of adrenaline, and the day is spent cleaning, de-cluttering, eating healthy, and doing some form of exercise. This year? Not so much. I got a bit of cleaning done, but that was pretty much it. I just wasn’t feeling it. (Plus, having a baby to look after is pretty much a ‘get out of jail free’ card, don’t you think? 😉 )
But I’m not beating myself up about it. I know it doesn’t mean that the rest of my year is going to be unproductive. In fact, I’m already starting to get back on track today.
Hang in there! You’re doing great. Even just WANTING to change is commendable. Recognising that a certain thing hasn’t been working for you and identifying what you need to do to change it is the first step.
Taking one or two steps back doesn’t mean you’ll never complete your journey. Keep marching on!
So tell me, how are you going to make 2014 the best year yet?