Journeys don't occur in vacuums
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
One reason many people 'fail' at 'diet' attempts or exercise plans is that they see so many changes that they want to make and/or need to make...and dive in too suddenly with to attempt to make too many changes at one time. Well, that would be just dandy if we all lived in those self-contained vacuums, not affected by Real Life's external disruptions. But we do not. And frankly, some people believe they have 'failed' when in fact they've merely 'slipped'. Turning a temporary setback into total defeat. This does not have to happen if we plan coping strategies, progress at a reasonal rate through short-, medium-, and long-term goals that reach toward the ultimate ones.
Weight and other huge lifestyle 'issues' don't exist in a vaccuum.
Change of old habits, therefore, will at times feel like forces from all sides are against the change. Remembering this fact.... ACKNOWLEDGING IT!.... is important.
Acknowledge while setting and striving toward goals that temptation, frustration... LIFE... exists and keeps on happening regardless of what we WANT.
Disruptions and negative events are part of life. They pop up when least expected, which is in part why coping with them can be complex. We can't sit around planning for them, but do need to be flexible enough to handle them without completely unwinding ourselves (ie falling apart). When the disruption is a major life event or tragedy, all our energies and attention are needed to deal with it. If our plan for change is modest, we can eventually get back on track with the plan with more ease than if we'd taken on too much all at once. Being too aggressive in pursuing the ultimate goal can for many people be the perfect set-up for failure. Being realistic about goal-setting is crucial. That's why SP has so many wonderful articles about that topic, too! Do a SP site search using the words " goal set article " and see what I mean!
Few people in need of major lifestyle changes do well by taking on too many changes at once. I'm a firm believer that we need to break down big problems into smaller parts and handle those parts one at a time - slowly, thoroughly...and forgivingly. Forgivingly? You betcha! Accepting who we are, what we want, what we CAN accomplish are factors incorporated into any journey whose goal is personal change. And honestly looking into that proverbial mirror means facing facts about ourselves that just plain hurt. We can be angry with ourselves for 'stupidity' or any other name we put to some failing habit, but the fact is that we need to forgive our past behaviors and move onward. Most of us are harder on ourselves than necessary; our self-talk is nastier than anything we'd ever convey to anyone else. I know I've looked in the mirror and thought things about myself that I'd NEVER say to anyone else! How about you?? (Example? Last night! I looked in the mirror and thought, "My face is a %#! plaid mine-field of wrinkles! GROSS!" Then, I put the magnifying mirror down, looked in the bathroom mirror over the sink and felt a lot better. (Or should I have thought it was just a messy graph-paper image with lines drawn by a blind four-year-old? Hey, it is what it is!) Okay, so I'm aging. I accept that. And realize that the era of using such magnification of my image may have passed! And. I know I'd never tell anyone her wrinkles were a bizarre pattern of plaid.
Unless you live in a vaccum, lasting change of ingrained habits takes time and patience. I choose to not think that such and such an event 'destroyed' my nutrition or exercise plan. But know that events can and will in the future slow down my progress. And that sometimes one current plan will have to be amended because of this or that life event. Just as I want to make changes in my own habits, in my weight, etc: the world keeps on spinning and changes around me will continue to infringe on my predetermined plans.
Being flexible keeps a journey going.
And sometimes changing the path taken is enlightening, so maybe the seemingly negative events just make us stronger, better... and more capable. In the long run.
No, lifestyle changes do not occur in a stagnent, controlled environment. We are strong enough to bend like the willow tree to let the winds pass through and by us while we remain deeply rooted in our commitments.
When Life gets in the way, it's time to go back to basics. Start afresh; revitalize the journey. Slowly. Every small change is worth celebration. Because we overcome more than just that target goal when we reach it; we do it despite the swirling mass of Life that can't be control by a vacuumed existence. And that's pretty kewl, isn't it?