Monday, October 15, 2012

Relapse Comeback: Hitching to a New Wagon!

Are you on the right wagon?
We've all fallen off the wagon at least once or twice on the dusty trail to greater health. Oh, not you? Well, I definitely have! 

Whether its a weekend of lackluster food choices, too many sleepless nights making it easier to hit the snooze button, or something really rough like a junk food binge, everyone has a time or two when we feel like our healthy habits are a mile away and we don't even remember where we lost them. We have fallen off the wagon, and need to pull ourselves up by our boot straps and get back on.

But who says you have to get back on the same wagon?

Before you dust yourself off and climb aboard for another leg of the same old journey - the one that bumped you off the wagon in the first place - ask yourself a few questions to determine whether you might need another mode of transportation altogether.

Yes I realize I am beating the wagon metaphor to death. I can't help it, it's a good one!

Anyway, check yourself before you wreck yourself. The answers to these questions might help you decide if you need a new wagon:

1. What bumped me off? Retrace your steps as far as you can to the moment when you made the decision - and it is a decision - to ignore your healthy habits and do something unhealthy instead. Who/what/when/where/how/why? Understanding how our environment contributes to our decisions is a big part of making the changes necessary to get a different result next time.

2. Why did I let that happen? Healthy resolve takes time to build, and you likely put in some real effort in developing the habits that kept you on the wagon. That's great! But when we get tired, stressed, frustrated, pushing ourselves too hard to make unsustainable change, its easier to let a small bump in the road be what lands us on our backside wondering where we went wrong. It's okay, it happens to everyone. The important part is that we learn from it.

3. What should I have done instead? A great way to automate making better choices is to practice them. Simply reviewing what we should/coulda/woulda done prepares our minds to make a better choice the next time we are in the same set of circumstances. Then, visualizing ourselves in the same scenario but making a better choices helps convince our brain that that's what we've been doing all along. Trust me, it works.

The wagon is fun. Everyone's laughing and smiling and patting each other on the back for our jobs well done making healthy choices and living the good life. When we fall off, it can feel like a failure and like we're never going to get this whole healthy life thing right. Don't worry, you will.

But not if you're on the wrong wagon in the first place!

If you've recently relapsed in your wellness, congratulations! You've won the opportunity to stop, freshen up your plan, and make sure that the path you're traveling is the right one for you. If you're not sure how to do that, let me know. I'm here to help.

Get out there and get healthy today, even if you have to switch wagons midway through your trip.

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