I’ve been a runner for years. I run almost daily but definitely every other day, week in and week out. You can imagine my dismay when my bare pinkie toe went toe-to-toe (pun intended) with my husband’s steel toe boot. Although I didn’t want to, my black, blue and swollen toe indicated I needed to lay off running for a moment. That moment was excrutiatingly long. Finally the black and blue went down a bit and I thought that day would be my day. Imagine my dismay when I laced up only to be confronted with a three day pouring rain storm.
This morning I finally got to go on a run after almost two weeks off. The last time I’d not run for two weeks was at least 6+ years ago when I was in the final stage of pregnancy with my youngest child.
This morning as I set out I thought, “Ah, that feels good. I’m back on track.” Yes, through the years I’ve had ups and downs with running. I’ve had setbacks, pauses, weather problems, injuries and all kinds of things that have required me to “get back on track.” Because of that, it’s very easy for my brain to understand that:
It only takes one moment to get back on track.
Compare that to what your brain might make a minor setback mean. Yes, our brains like us to stay in this all or none, black or white. We’re either on a diet or we’re cheating and giving up and clearly we were always going to fail. We’re either working out like mad day in and day out without fail or we’re couch-ridden sloths who are lazy.
So often there’s no room in our brain for what smart people call cognitive dissonance. You see, your brain thinks that the fact that you are a healthy person working toward a goal AND that you are a person that occasionally eats for joy CANNOT be true at the same time. So, when you step outside of what you imagine your perfect healthy self to be, it wants to put you in the other category. The well-I-failed-nevermind category.
But how does that serve you? Well, it doesn’t. Instead, what if it was simply true that you get to decide differently. So, if you have a minor “setback” you can DECIDE what you make it mean.
One of our FAVORITE decisions for our clients to make is this:
It only takes a moment to get back on track.
Yes, just like it took a simple moment to get off track, it can take a simple moment to get right back on track. Just like it took a moment for my pinkie to get annihilated, it took one moment to put one running- shoe-clad-foot in front of the other and begin a run.
Just like it took a moment to devour the ice cream, it will take a moment to eat the healthy food you planned the very next meal. It takes just one healthy choice to be right back on plan!
It’s a moment. You get to decide. Instead of going into a downward spiral where you brain tells you what to think you can decide to tell it what to think.
Many times your brain will think you have to wait until tomorrow or even next Monday or even next month to “restart” or get back on track. Nope, not actually true brain! you can get right back on track immediately whether it was a whole day, a whole weekend or even a whole year. The great news is the very first workout or the very first healthy food you throw down you gullet means YOU ARE BACK! You don’t have to wait, you don’t have to swell or linger in the spot you’re not super proud of. Nope, you can immediately get back to it.
And then, all of the sudden, your identity changes to the kind of person who can deal with setbacks. You’re the kind of person who trusts herself or himself to be able to get right back on the horse if you fall off. That’s the ultimate confidence and trust with yourself.
So, challenge your thoughts. Next time you find yourself off your plan, off of what you decided to do, get right back on the horse. Decide now you won’t let your brain go into drama mode. What makes this process even worse is that your brain telling you how terrible everything is makes you feel bad. When you feel bad, you’re probably going to repeat the behavior and that will definitely make things worse. Choose instead to stop this pattern right in its tracks. Decide you won’t let your brain tell you what to think, you’re going to tell it what to think!
The good news is this applies not just to your health and fitness but also every area of your life where you have a plan or a standard you’ve set for yourself. Did you go off budget? Well, instead of making it worse, let’s get right back to it. Fix the damage next paycheck if necessary, but double down on sticking to what you said you would do right now! Did you yell at the kids? Well, do what makes sense to make it right and then immediately jump right back into acting and responding patiently and calmly.
It only takes a moment to get back on track.
If you are willing to accept this idea, willing to implement it, you will soon find yourself with so much evidence that you are the kind of person who stays on track, no matter what. And the entire process to reaching your goals is going to be much easier.
If you’re interested in working with us to get healthy, get organized or get out of debt, fill out the contact form here and we’ll be in touch.