As a coach, I have the unique perspective of seeing firsthand that people are not alone in their struggles.
The details may differ from person to person, but often, many of my clients share a common struggle, pitfall or source of derailment in their efforts to build a better life for themselves and stay on track.
I’ll bet many of you can relate to this particular scenario that I’ve been working on with several of my clients lately:
Let’s say you set out to start and maintain an exercise routine.
A slight feeling of trepidation stirs in your stomach because this isn’t your first time (or second time, or third time…) setting out to create and sustain this habit and you have some doubt in your ability to be successful this time.
The first 7 days, you do great. You execute your plan flawlessly, doing each workout you planned to do each day. You’re feeling great about yourself.
Then, life happens – specifically, a day when just about everything went wrong and you felt lousy and you didn’t do your exercise as planned.
Feeling defeated, the next day you miss again and by the third day, this dreaded thought triumphs:
“See, I knew it. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick with it. Other people seem to be able to stick to a workout routine, but not me. I’m just not cut out for it.”
I’ll bet you can relate to – if not that exact scenario, some variation of it. Specifically, that pattern of not executing your plan perfectly, getting frustrated with yourself and then getting derailed because of it.
But this path can be avoided altogether with a two-part approach. I’ve seen it work time and time again with my coaching clients.
The first part has to do with adjusting your mindset from the beginning.
As you set out to execute your plan, you need to know that you will miss a day or more of your new habit or routine. Everyone misses and it’s to be expected.
Since it’s an inevitability, a good plan takes that into account and makes provisions for it.
The easiest formula to use is the if…then… formula.
IF you miss a day, THEN you will make your workout the #1 priority for the next day and everything else takes a back seat until it’s done.
IF you miss more than 3 days in a row, THEN you will start back on day 4 but instead of doing 45 minutes on the elliptical, you’ll do 25 minutes so that you don’t absolutely hobble your way through the next day, making it harder to hop back on the machine again.
Whatever the habit is, ask yourself, “what’s the next right step at that point to keep the new habit alive?” and bake that into your plan.
Make a plan for when life gets in the way and you miss a point of execution in your plan.
The second part of the approach – and it’s a critical one – has to do with adjusting your self talk when you miss a day.
See, you need to know that missing is not a sign of failure or your lack of ability.
So, let’s adjust your self talk when it happens.
Rather than thinking, “I knew I’d fail, I’m a failure, I can’t do this”, try dropping the emotional value or story that you attach to your behavior.
A more helpful thought might be, “Well, like everyone does, I got off track and I have a plan for what to do in just this scenario.” or another really useful thought is “What can I learn from this?”
This destructive line of thinking is so ubiquitous that scientists have a name for it:
The confirmation bias.
In other words, we find what we expect to find.
So, if you start out thinking that you’re going to fail, you’ll look for evidence to support your conclusion all along the way. So, you see a miss as a sign of failure. It gets written into your story that way. The end.
So let’s stay one step ahead of our human tendencies. Let’s realize human nature and plan for the inevitable reality of life.
That’s how you can set yourself up for success.
Another piece of the puzzle is accountability and support for when you miss in your routine.
That’s one of the benefits of working with me 1-on-1 in The One You Feed Personal Transformation Program.
When you miss, we look at what happened together and adapt the plan to account for the unique challenges in your life.
With daily email check-ins, we get to adjust things in real-time together. You’re not in it alone. That makes a real difference.
If you’re interested in learning more about The One You Feed Personal Transformation Program, click here.
I’ll teach you the #1 technique I teach all my coaching clients – for free.
Do you know about the program already and want to book a free 30-minute intro call with me to see if it might be a fit for you? Click here.
Wishing you all the best.