“Fall seven times, get up eight.” - Japanese Proverb
It doesn’t matter how often you fall. What matters is how you land and where you end up. Cats have nine lives, and always seem to get second chances. Cats also land on their feet whenever they fall. Coincidence?
In the years ahead, you’ll go through successes and failures, highs and lows, steps forward and steps back, times of plenty and times of difficulty. When the dust settles and the books of life are squared away, you’re doing well if you come out the other side better, stronger and happier for the experience.
Some see weight loss and healthy living as struggles. Usually, it’s because they have an all-or-nothing approach that only accepts perfection. Faced with anything less than 100% success, they fall into guilty despair, convinced that they’ve failed. Then they revert to old habits and the cycle starts over again.
We don’t see it that way. Healthy living is a process of learning. Life doesn’t always pan out like you thought, and fate has a toolbox full of wrenches to throw into your plans. Dieting setbacks can show up in a lot of ways. Do any of these look familiar from your dieting past?
Plateaus: “The scale is simply not moving, and I’m getting frustrated.”
Burnout: “I just can’t keep up this tough regimen anymore.”
Weak Moments: “I had a really bad week, and spent all weekend eating cheeseburgers and donuts.”
Discouragement: “I’m never going to make it all the way, I might as well give up.”
Interruptions: “Why did I have to get sick now?”
Injuries: “Can’t believe I pulled a muscle right when I was starting to see progress.”
Since you’re developing a new, healthy lifestyle, you can do things differently this time. Instead of expecting perfection, you can concentrate on damage control, on bouncing back. Here are four strategies to help you along:
Keep a positive attitude
Several studies have shown that optimists reach more goals than pessimists. They see more success not because they fail less often, but because they get back up more often. People with positive attitudes see setbacks for what they really are. When you have a setback, it’s not a brick wall that must be climbed (or that can stop progress altogether). You’ve merely met a gate; it may delay you for a second, but if you open that gate and move through it, you’ll soon be on your way.
Trust in your plan
You spent a lot of time setting up a smart dieting plan with smart strategies that made sense for your tastes and your life. You laid out the steps you needed to take to move steadily forward. You knew that weight loss was just a matter of time if you followed that consistent plan. Well, what was true in the beginning is still true, even after you have a setback. The same plan will work. If you get back on the horse and keep riding, all the work you’ve done to this point won’t go to waste. Remember that you can do this because you’re doing it the right way.
Believe in yourself
Self-discipline can be hard. But you have the skills and knowledge to overcome that hurdle often enough to build healthy habits. If things go wrong or you make a mistake, instead of beating yourself up, give yourself a pep talk. You are worth the effort. Your weight loss goals and new lifestyle deserve another shot. After all, you’re already doing more than most people even try to do.
Give yourself good reasons to keep going
Return to the basics of motivation to get back on track. What were your main motivations from the Motivation Exercise? Who can you reconnect with that might give you a lift? Have you been rewarding your good behavior often enough? The answers to these questions may hold a golden nugget of motivation that you may have forgotten about. You can also find sources of motivation in the Motivation Resource Center.
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