We are all on our own journey.
Wherever you are on your journey, it’s okay.
I want you to stop beating yourself about it. Feeling badly certainly won’t do you any good. In fact, it will likely hold you back and keep you from moving forward.
Most of us are hard on ourselves.
Maybe you tell yourself, “I’ve been ‘really bad’ with my nutrition & exercise so I have to be be ‘really good’ by kicking my butt tomorrow.” Maybe you binge the night before you begin your ‘diet’ as your last hoorah. Maybe you tell yourself, “I can’t eat that because I was ‘bad’ and didn’t work out this morning.”
If you shared these kinds of thoughts with me, I would see a really red flag waving behind your head. You are not only hard on yourself, but this approach and dichotomy sets you up for failure. Your standards are extremely high because you are punishing yourself for being so ‘bad.’ When you can’t meet them, you slip farther into your punishment.
It creates a cycle of feeling badly about yourself.
What good is that? How does that serve us? What needs to change is the ‘all-or-nothing’ attitude.
I recently started shifting my thinking.
Instead of “good” or “bad”…
My choices either:
• Serve my immediate gratification or
• Serve my big picture goal
I like to use the example of the top of a mountain to represent our big picture goal & the waterfall to represent our immediate gratification.
At the top of your mountain is your ultimate desire. When you are making choices that serve your big picture goal you take steps at getting higher, closer to the top of the mountain. You feel good about the steps you are taking to reach your goal at the top.
But let’s say mid-mountain you get tired and lose focus. Your motivation for continuing on your designated path dwindles and you feel you don’t have the resources to go on. Maybe it’s difficult for you to see the improvement you have made on your journey, maybe you weren’t as prepared with your plan as you should have been, maybe you lose patience, or maybe you didn’t have a realistic pace and burned really hot & just burned out.
Just then you see the path to a refreshing waterfall. You choose the waterfall – which represents immediate gratification.
That’s okay. Enjoy the waterfall! Don’t feel bad for taking a break.
When you get your motivation back, it may take a bit longer to get back to your original path, but you can still get to the summit.
Just be aware of how long you are at the waterfall and how deep you go in refreshing yourself. If you get too distracted, you may even get over-confident, slip up and fall into the current that carries you back down the mountain. Hmph.
Whatever happens, accept your choices and move on.
Glean what you can learn from your experiences and move forward.
Things to consider:
1) Food ≠ rewards, EXERCISE ≠ PUNISHMENT! You may be really good at pushing yourself during a workout, but consider what is driving you.
2) Give yourself a break from the usual high standards and extreme measures. Think BALANCE. Do something to treat yourself so you DON’T FEEL SO DEPRIVED. For example, this may be a massage or a piece of chocolate. If it’s a food treat (note, this is NOT a reward), make sure it is in the middle of the day & portion controlled so that you don’t sabotage your entire day.
3) If you wouldn’t say harsh words to your best friend, don’t say them to yourself. BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND. Be kind to yourself.
4) Find ways to ENJOY YOUR WORKOUTS. Come to a class. Laugh. Smile. Associate the positive things you get with exercise.