We all encounter setbacks and they occur for a variety of reasons. An injury, a busy time at work, or just lack of motivation to get back into a consistent workout and clean eating routine. We often know what to do to get back on track, but we let other things take over. Here are a few things I’ve learned having suffered many setbacks over the years.
Make a Decision. It’s frustrating when we get injured or simply find ourselves at the end of a busy week or month having not done any exercise. When a setback occurs, understand that we ALWAYS have options. We can let the setback defeat us or we can dust ourselves off and keep going. We can remain disappointed in what has happened or we can get off our butt and determine how to get past it. It’s a natural tendency to feel bad about the outcome. At the age of 51, I’ve had my share of injuries. I’m just not bouncing back as quickly as I used to, even with the right rehab regimen. I have a choice. I can sit around and mope about what’s occurred or I can feel good about determining the next steps that will keep me moving forward. NEVER carry a disappointment over to the next day. Go to bed with the belief that tomorrow you are going to get up with a new beginning and a new opportunity for moving in the right direction. Each day is a chance at a new beginning. But first, make the decision to move forward, to overcome and to conquer.
Take Action, immediately. This is the tough part. When a setback occurs the first thing you need to determine is what’s going to get you back on track and moving forward. As Tony Horton says: “If the bottom half is injured, work on the top half” and vice versa. What alternative type of exercise can I do that won’t make the injury worse? What alternative methods of exercise can I do that will still make me feel good and allow the injury to heal? Maybe use an injury as an opportunity to dial-in your nutrition. What is your plan B? In the case of unforeseen setbacks, the quick creation of a plan B is vital to success. Setbacks can only be addressed through action and the faster the action, the faster the resolution.
Focus on the Future and Learn from the Past. Keep your eye on the prize and on that desired future outcome. When I start coaching people I often ask them to write down their “why” for getting healthy. I tell them that their why can’t be aesthetically focused. The desire to simply look good doesn’t keep you track. Your why has to be that true reason for getting healthy, the reasons that will pull you through on your toughest days. Maybe you’ve seen your loved ones suffer with bad health and you don’t want that to be you. Maybe you are parent and you fear not being around to see your child graduate or get married. Whatever your reason, take the time to think deeply about it. Write it down. Put it in a place where you can always pull it out when the setback occurs. Your “why” is what helps you overcome setbacks.
In the same respect, don’t dwell on the past, learn from it. I go through periods when I start eating sugar and continue for days and weeks on end. I am a true addict; once I start on the path of eating sugar I have a difficult time stopping. The periods when I am successful overcoming this challenge are when I pause and think about the past. Like most addicts we want the high and forget the consequences of the high. When I stop and really think about how cruddy I will feel the hour following what I ate, I am less likely to give into temptation.
Believe in Yourself. This is probably the most important message I can convey. Have you ever met and spent time talking with someone who has lost 30, 40, 50, 100 plus pounds? They will tell you that for years they felt that was how they were meant to be—overweight and obese. They will tell you that once they took the steps described above they started to move in the right direction. They will tell you that the turning point toward making progress was the true belief they could succeed. Every moment they had to make a choice they would repeat affirmations in their head such as; “I can get through this, I can overcome this, I can do this, I will not be defeated, I will achieve my goal.” Every person has a chance at getting their health and life back. Everyone CAN succeed. The more belief and positive attitude you have, the more power you give yourself to overcome the big and the little setbacks and the faster you move forward toward reaching your goals.