Today I want to talk a bit about “setbacks” and their implications on a fat-loss or health change journey.
Life is a mindset, and we can all look at different things in different ways, and the result of that is different actions and reactions for all of us. This is perfectly normal as we are all different. I just want to try to give you an alternative way of looking at things when you “fall off the wagon” as they say.
What do I mean by “falling off the wagon?” Firstly, its not a term that I particularly like, but we hear it all the time, so let’s call it a setback.
These can be things like, getting out of your routine of exercising, getting back into a bad habit of eating junk food, or drinking too much at the weekends.
Anything that is a recurrence of previous actions, thoughts or behaviours that get in the way of how we actually want to live or behave, is a setback.
Now this can be in the form of a lapse or a relapse. So, I just want to show you something that is a well understood process in the world of psychology. Hopefully this will show you that setbacks are absolutely normal, they happen to everyone and are sometimes an important part of the process.
Once you understand this and change the way you think about setbacks, you can begin to accept what has happened, reset and get back on course. Rather that just saying “sod it” and chucking in the towel completely.
The Cycle of Change
Understanding the Cycle of Change and the different stages.
In pre-contemplation you do not acknowledge that a problem exists. You have not yet found a reason to change the way you are living.
In contemplation you are somewhat ambivalent – you are in two minds about what you want to do. Sometimes you really want to change, sometimes you don’t even thing about changing. You are not ready!
In action you start preparing and planning for change. When you are ready you make the decision to change and kick into action, this can become all-consuming and you throw yourself right in!
In maintenance the change has been done and your living it, its integrated into your life. Some support may still be needed at this stage. In maintenance lasting change is learned, practised and becomes possible. When you are able to maintain what you have achieved you exit the cycle entirely.
However – this is the part I am talking about!
Lapse is a temporary return to ‘old’ unhelpful thoughts, feelings or behaviours.
Relapse is a full return to the old behaviour.
Now understand this!
Lapse and Relapse are viewed as an intrinsic part to the Cycle of Change and DO NOT MEAN FAILURE. I repeat, THEY DO NOT MEAN FAILURE!!!!
It doesn’t mean that lapse or relapse is desirable or that it should be expected. It simply means that change is difficult, and it is unreasonable to expect anyone to be able to modify a habit perfectly without any slip ups.
So what do you do?
You ACCEPT, RESET, and START AGAIN. When relapse occurs, several trips through the stages may be necessary to make lasting changes. That’s fine, don’t beat yourself up and think you are the only person that has slipped up.
Learn from your mistakes!
We hear this saying all the time, but most of us don’t actually give it any though as to what it means or how to actually learn from our mistakes.
Take a few minutes to sit down, maybe with a pen and paper and actually think about what it was that knocked you back. Review, reflect and learn from your setbacks.
For example – Was it the meals out and cocktails with friends 2 weekends in a row? If so, what can you do to limit the effect it has on your progress?
One tip – track what you have (drinks and food) when you are out at the weekend. Don’t say – “I’ll start again on Monday”, that’s the worst thing you can do!
Think of it like spending money. If you spent a load of cash at the weekend, you cut back in the week don’t you!
Think of your calories and activity levels in the same way. Have fun, track the heavy consumption. Then you can make better choices for your food and drink in the week, while adding in some more activity to counterbalance.
Hopefully I am getting across what I am trying to say.
I just want you to change the way you think about setbacks, they are normal and are just part of the process, NOT A FAILURE!
If you want a good starting point to get back on it after a setback, you can try the Free 10 day feel better guide I have here. It’s easy and is a great way to get going again.