Making life changes can be empowering. Taking control of a an issue or situation and finding a solution is gratifying. I think this why I love watching shows where people triumph over adversity.
In the TV show that is my life, I’ve worked hard to become and stay self-aware. It keeps me healthy, both physically and mentally. But mastering my own emotional blueprint can be a gift and a curse. Once I have figured out why I do something and deal with it, it’s almost impossible for me to do that behavior without having my conscience rear her knowing head, eyebrow raised and finger wagging. The adventure of quitting smoking was blast inside that large dome that is my mind. Alas, another story for a rainy day.
I’m going to keep it real…
While backsliding does happen- it’s important to do recognize the signs. I like to think of it as becoming less present. When I’m distracted from being in the moment, I lose connection my center and ultimately my peace. As a result, I can feel off-balance, anxious, angry, nervous or empty. Instead of investigating the whys and breathing through the icky feelings my ego tries to convince me to cover it up or fill the hole with bad behavior or stuff. C’mon level with me, you know you’ve been there.
I’m human. And you are too. Distraction happens. But staying distracted is not the way to live a satisfying life.
Fortunately, there are red flags that let me (and all of us) know we may be about to veer off course.
Signs that you may be about to fall off the wagon
The first six months of any major change are critical. It feels like the change is permanently made. If it is, great! But for many of us, we can unconsciously slip back into old patterns. Stay alert.
We all have triggers right? The stressors that send the signal to make us (insert bad behavior here). Before you know it you’re asking yourself, ‘How? How did I get here?”
1. You start to slip up in your routine. One missed yoga practice turns into a week. You know who you are. It’s happened to me and I teach. I know that something is up when I notice that my meditation practice gets sloppy.
2. You start to rationalize bad eating habits. There’s noting wrong with the ocassional splurge. Life is meant to be enjoyed. But when the end of the work week brings empty pints of Ben & Jerry’s, it’s time to stop and evaluate.
3. You have less energy. I’m not talking about full blown fatigue. If you are feeling full blown fatigue for more than a week or two you should be talking to a doctor. I’m talking about that sluggish feeling. Maybe you’re lacking your regular up and at ’em energy. (Perhaps because you missed a workout, asana practice or after dinner walk or two?)
Being honest with yourself isn’t as scary as it sounds. We are programmed to beat ourselves up. That can lead to denial. Instead admit it. You’ll feel better about taking control back.
What to do?
1. Create a plan. More than likely you made a plan to reach success in the past. It’s time to do it again. Outline the thing you need to do in order to get on track.
2. Talk to someone. Do you have a friend or yoga buddy? Someone you workout with? Give them a call. Talk to a supportive friend or family member. Sometimes saying the words out loud is all we need to get the ship back in the right direction. Other times a good conversation with someone who knows your health goals (and possible past struggles) can help you pinpoint a place where things started to go awry.
3. Write. It. Down. Ah, accountability is a tough but loving vixen. Pull out a journal and start scribing. This may help you identify what caused the slip in the first place. Old school notebook not your thing? Download an app. During HealthMinder Day at the BlogHer12 conference I listened to a lot of women talk about apps that really helped them stay on track and accountable. Runkeeper, iMapMyRun, and Nexercise all have free versions of apps you can use. I keep track of my meditations on Insight Timer. It’s a really basic app, but I love it because it has a journal feature. Find what works for you so it becomes routine.
4. Forgive yourself. You made a mistake. One key to sustained success is the ability to let the stuff you don’t need go. Holding onto to bad feelings helps you how? Exactly.
All that talk we hear about making lifestyle changes is true.
For me, yoga isn’t something to do it’s a way to be. Yoga has changed my life. And with this glorious yoga life comes bumps, lumps and the occasional mountain to climb.
And you know what? That’s okay. There’s no there, there. But the more I stay in this moment and honor my true self, I see that I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
Namaste y’all. Keep truckin’.