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Backsliding

Backsliding

What is Backsliding?

Backsliding is when you fall back into an old habit an can occur at anytime when you are attempting to create and maintain positive change. It can take the form of abandoning positive habits or allowing old habits to creep back into your routine. For me, backsliding is often triggered by stress or exhaustion. I will skip a workout or two and find it that much harder to then take all my supplements and way easier to go grab a bottle of riesling. Resistance to positive change will manifest as backsliding, so often it feels more comfortable to revert back to old habits. Especially in the face of serious progress.

How to Stop the Slide

When I feel outta control, I usually start getting back into my routine by adding in some of the most powerful positive actions I can think of. Sometimes, it’s just takes a few good nights of sleep and a fancy bath and I’ll feel right as rain. Other times I make an appointment with my coach therapist if I am having trouble getting back into a sustainable routine.

Usually I find old habits creeping in when I have been neglecting myself and backsliding can be a wonderful wakeup call that it’s time to fix your routine. Identifying stressors, eliminating anxiety triggers (I have to be very careful with caffeine as it can effect my mood) and upping my mealtime game can all help me come out of a backslide.

Taking a look at the admin goals that I have been unable to accomplish is another good way to identify frustrations I may be resisting handling. Remembering that it is ok to ask for help from a trusted love one or better yet, a professional is important to me when I am overwhelmed with resistance and feeling unhinged.

After a Backslide

Once you get back into a positive routine, it may be easy to beat yourself up about the backslide. Not only is that not helpful, it’s stressful and loses the lesson you hopefully learned. Often, I backslide when I set myself unreasonable goals or face a stressful obstacle or setback. With experience, I have been able to learn from some of those situations and am better able to avoid creating situations that have led to backsliding in the past. Now when I realize I’ve been eating like crap or not getting enough sleep, I look below the surface and try to get to the deeper reasons for why my routine went off the rails.

A truly sustainable lifestyle does not demand perfection, there are lessons to be learned in backsliding. The trick is to fix your routine and move on.

The Importance of Routine

The Importance of Routine

Fix Your Routine

Little things, performed consistently can have massive effects over time. Making certain habits a part of your routine, such as developing a physical practice such as yoga or weight lifting and improving the quality of foods in your diet can be two of the most important positive habits you can cultivate. Recently, my routine was adjusted because I was craving more home time this rainy SoCal winter. A little adjustment to my usual routine of go-go-go was what I needed.

With an unmanaged routine, I feel too busy and it totally stresses me out. To fix my routine, I started saying “no” to nights out and “yes” to early bedtimes. I took a few days off without scheduling any work or chores. myself some breathing room, I have reduced the drama in my life and have regained a lot of my positive attitude and spark.

Routine as A Series of Choices

In the past I have fallen into routines of poor choices. Not making self-care or sleep a priority, undercharging for my work or undervaluing my skills. Eating too much sugar or junk food or neglecting my workouts. It has yet to be the end of the world. To get back on track I revisit my goals and begin to re-introduce some of the positive habits that I know make me feel my best back into my routine. It’s not always easy but being honest about how i’m currently administering to my life is usually what it takes to keep me on track. What becomes part of your routine will have a great impact on what goals you can accomplish. Little consistent steps lead to powerful positive change and I know from personal experience. Deliberately creating a routine that includes lots of opportunities to make positive choices has made all the difference for me when it comes to having goals and having wins. I want to hear about your routines and how they have helped you to reach your goals.

 

Setting Good Life Goals

Life Goals

Why Goal Setting Matters

Goals setting is the foundation of administration. To administer means to attend to the running, overseeing or operation of a business or organization. If you want to create positive change in your life: financial, physical, educational, whatever it may be for you, life admin is critical to getting it all handled. Good admin works to break down big goal into a series of little goals that can be accomplished by a specific action or behavior.

Good Goals vs. Bad Goals

A good goal can become a win by doing one very specific thing, for example go to bed before midnight Monday through Friday.

A bad goal is go to the gym, eat breakfast every day, do taxes and go to bed before midnight every day for the next year.

Lets break that down: if my goal was to go to the gym I wouldn’t do it. I hate going to the gym. I could go to a class at a gym, I could meet a friend at the gym, I could have a session with a trainer at the fancy gym downtown. Going to the gym is too general of a term so without more specifics, to me, it sounds really crappy.

Examples of Good Goals

If my goal was to eat breakfast every day, I would know I wouldn’t do it. Sometimes just want tea. But if i’m taking a class, teaching or running around that is a different story. I will need the fuel and eating breakfast becomes an important goal. All I need to do to reach my goal is to hard boil a few eggs, buy yogurt, oatmeal and do some basic prep to have days worth of grab and go breakfasts. Good goals are incredibly specific and don’t involve a lot of complicated steps.

Meal prepping is something I have a lot of experience with, so making three breakfasts at one time is not a big deal. Prepping three days worth of breakfasts is an example of good goal involving a few simple actions. By setting specific goals, I am able to zero in on my priorities and identify the specific actions that can help me accomplish that particular goal.

Goal Setting Allows Preparation

Doing my taxes t was once something that gave me anxiety. After one particularly stressful tax session, I made it a goal to never stress like that about taxes again. Approaching tax time in an organized way has been critical to my success. The fact that I respect, trust and like my accountant is also a deliberate part of my process. Reducing tax time anxiety was my larger goal and I figured that I hated taxes because I didn’t feel prepared and wasn’t sure what to expect.

Now that I know how to prepare myself, I have broken down tax time into a series of goals that are easy to accomplish. By breaking down doing my taxes into specific goals, I am left with a series of actions: make appointment w/accountant, organize receipts, find last years return, go to my appointment, sign the papers, pay my taxes and pay accountant $200. The overwhelming goal of doing taxes is infinitely more manageable as a series of actions.

Good is Good Enough

There is no reason to expect 100% compliance on most goals. There are exceptions to those rules: certain goals in and of themselves demand 100% compliance (fidelity, sobriety, lack of criminal behavior, abuse, bullying, etc). Unless your personal goal demands 100% compliance due to nature of your old habits, expecting perfection is unnecessary.

A lot of benefit could be had by going to bed before midnight every day you have an an early morning. However life loves to get in the way. The failure to accomplish a goal in it’s entirety can feel like a discouraging setback. Good goals can involve compromise. Setting a goal for bedtime before midnight three nights a week can be more reasonable than doing so all week long.

Set Specific Goals

Get fit is a very general goal. The goals of an expectant mother are very different from a former college athlete looking to tone up. A bodybuilder is going to want a different diet than a high schooler looking to improve their acne. A moody former vegetarian who does Krav-Maga six days a week has vastly different needs that a 40-something suffering from depression and back pain. Words that describe an ideal example of fitness help to clarify and refins a very general terms into helpful and specific goals.

Goals Need To Be Scheduled

Lack of a timeline can be a huge obstacle. My example of update website is perfect here. Ok, so am I going to update my whole entire website in one day? When will that be? Do I need to ask for time off work? Should I rent an office for the day? Go to a coffee shop?????

Update the about page and publish it on Thursday is pretty specific. It is reasonable as while it contains two parts, updating it and publishing it: the parts are manageable. The steps I have to take have been done before so I know how much time it will take. Also, I know I will have time to do it Thursday because I have scheduled it in.

A goal to fit into my favorite pair of underwear and not feel like they are super tight is one of my favorite workout goals. Simple and effective, I will know when that has happened and I know that scheduling 3-4 days of yoga a week and avoiding sugar will pretty quickly do the trick.

Goals as Wins

The better you can become at setting specific goals that can be accomplished in a measurable amount of time, the easier it will be for you to move your goals into the win column. Celebrate your successes and stay committed even when facing a particularly challenging goal. Perhaps you can revisit the goal itself and further break it down in a way that makes it easier for you to accomplish.

I want to hear about your goals, so let me know what specific things you are looking to accomplish this week.

Positive Change

Positive Change

Positive Change

Waiting tables has introduced me to all kinds of people. One couple that I served at Church and State restaurant stand out in particular. Once as he looked at her, he said to me that, “they believe in the power of positive change”. I can only imagine what that meant to them: an obviously in love, slightly older couple. He with frizzy salt and pepper hair and large, chunky framed glasses. She was tall, with very short hair and had beautiful ebony dark skin and sparkling eyes. This memorable couple were  a pleasure to be around. Obviously successful, they were into food and took control of their own experience in a very positive way.

They believed in the power of positive change.

Old Habits

Yes, they say old habits die hard. They can linger long past their welcome and are oh so easy to fall back into.

I know I am not the only one in the world who would sometimes just rather not. Rather not cook (and I love to cook) or grocery shop (I REALLY love to grocery shop) and rather not do anything to do with my yoga mat. Somedays I’d rather not take my supplements (read about my routine here) and I would sure rather not write anything. There are plenty of times when I’d rather not do my admin or workout or shower or brush my crazy hair.

I have some old habits. Some deep dark secret habits. Some lazy habits and some habits that I had just before I knew better, or maybe it was before I really cared. My old habits are things that used to give me some degree of comfort, or distraction or relief from fear and anxiety.

Old habits are how resistance has manifested in my life. These are the habits I know I want to change, need to change, should change and work on changing most days. At the most extreme, my old habits get in my way. They hold me back, distract me from my goals and create drama in my lives.

Power of Positive Habits

By building positive habits into my routine, I have created powerful change in my life.

The benefits of a physical practice coupled with a nutrient dense diet show themselves quickly. A diet filled with traditional foods can work with a physical practice to quickly boost energy levels. Dietary modifications can relieve anxiety inducing health issues.

I know that when I worry about anything to do with my health, or even when I feel less then my best, overall I experience more anxiety in my life and struggle to cope with any unexpected challenges.

Positive changes in our lives, such as committing to losing or gaining a healthy amount or weight, reducing toxins in our diet and immediate environment, improving our quality of sleep and cultivating a physical practice are simple steps to more effectively administrate and live our lives.

Replacing Old Habits

For me, what works is crowding out and replacing old habits, foods, routines and even jobs that no longer serve me. Ending toxic relationships are a sure way to usher in positive change, and the same theory can help untangle yourself from an unhealthy situation. Positive change is personal and will vary from person to person, but adopting new routines, people and habits into your lives you can refocus energy into what truly matters to you.

Crowding Out the Crackers

I used to be obsessed with Triscuits. As far as it goes Triscuits used to be one of the worst things I used to eat. All day,  I would graze on Triscuits instead of eating the nutritious foods my body needed.

At the time I was teaching spin classes and just beginning to feel the exhaustion that accompanies over-training. ON the outside, I looked fit but on the inside my body was in bad shape. Constantly dizzy, I had to take naps, my period stopped and my mom thought I had an eating disorder. In retrospect, I firmly believe it is truly unhealthy to do that much cardio. However, my diet had to change fast.

What helped me get off the wheat crack was adding in the traditional foods that I still eat today. Broth based soups, traditionally prepared grains and legumes, fermented foods and lots of high quality fats. I eliminated all sources of trans-fat, all industrial vegetable oils, genetically modified foods, most conventional products and feedlot, commercially produced animal products. I essentially kicked the Triscuit’s to the curb.

I would have never gotten rid of the Triscuits if I hadn’t read the ingredients and realized that very little of what I was forcing my body to digest, provided actual value. It became my theory that most of the foods I chose to avoid, waste rather than provide, my energy. By adding more foods into my diet that enhanced my energy levels and were easily digestible made avoiding the foods I used to eat by now viewed as old habits easy.

By eating other foods, Triscuits were crowded out of my diet and pushed out of my life.

Belief in the Power of Positive Change

A bad attitude will kill positive change dead in it’s tracks. Resistance to change, positive or otherwise is part of the human experience. For many, the devil we know sure can beat any devil we don’t. It can also be hard and scary to admit to yourself that you deserve, desire or demand better.

A willingness to believe, an ability to profess your commitment to that belief can be an important first step in allowing positive changes to take place in your own life.

Reinforce Belief to Overcome Resistance

The cultivation of positive habits can work to further reinforce belief, as you begin to experience the benefits that accompany the changes you work to make. A lack of belief that you can reach your goals, can stop you from ever starting.

Overcoming resistance by identifying old habits and cultivating new, positive habits is where change begins.

Believe in your own power for positive change and start setting your own goals today. I would love to hear about them.

 

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