So you’ve started your new training plan and you are working on the daily habit to improve your life. You’re losing fat, getting stronger and feeling better. Things just seem to fall into the right places. Sure, it’s a bit of an effort to keep up with it all but you can push through. It should get easier eventually, they say.
Then one Friday night you get home from work and park yourself on the couch, dial the local pizza joint and order extra large pepperoni pizza with double cheese and a sausage crust (they make those, seriously). And since all that just happened, you feel as if you’ve failed the day and therefore demolish the leftover Mars-bar cake sitting in the fridge. That, and you drank a half a bottle of Scotch.
Once the dust settles you look at the battlefield left behind and feel guilt, shame and black clouds hovering over you. “How could this happen“, you wonder. Everything was going so well! Just this morning you felt in complete control of the goals you had set up for yourself.
The worse you can do in this situation is to feel sorry for yourself and think that you have failed. Yes, it happened but worrying over a spilled milk (or sausage crust) isn’t going to improve the situation in any way. The best thing you can do is to take an objective look back to see how you got here. How could this happen when you thought you were the master of your universe. You thought you were running the show.
So, let’s trace your steps. Here’s some questions to ask from yourself after an epic sausage crust pizza/Mars bar cake episode:
- What happened 24 hours leading up to your pizza feast? Stressful day at work? Your co-worker Chad being a dickhead? Was there another specific event that set it off earlier?
- What happened a week, even month leading up to it? Were the habits you were working on too strict for you? Was it the combination of restrictions of the past month that eventually just built up and became too much to deal with?
- Do you have enough people supporting your changes or are you doing it on your own? Is there someone you can talk to when things get tough?
- Who where you with when you dialed the pizza parlor? Is her/his company having a negative effect on your decisions?
- Was your environment set up for success? Did you have enough food at home to make a healthy meal?
- Could you have another delivery service on speed-dial who you know make super-tasty meals that support your goals?
- Do you make worse decisions when drinking alcohol? Can you prepare for them?
- Or did you just feel like eating a pizza because you hadn’t had one in a while? There’s nothing wrong with that. Pizza now and then won’t crush your success. Next time, could you order a pizza and eat it slowly while being mindful? So that you’d feel the pizza is enough, instead of hammering down the sweets as well.
Retracing your steps to see what lead to the culminating event can be a major learning opportunity in figuring out how you could handle a similar situation better in the future. Or even better, how to avoid similar situation altogether.
In the end, there really is no failing, but only learning. Learn from each situation (let’s not call them “failing” anymore) so you can do better in similar situations tomorrow. These are the steps you go through to become your own coach. Embrace each learning opportunity.
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