When it comes to making lifestyle changes, slipping – or not following your plans – is bound to happen. However, it is important to remember that slips are a normal part of making changes. Just like it is normal for a baby learning to walk to fall from time to time, anyone that sets out to lose weight will slip. If you are just beginning or have not already experienced some form of slip, you will most likely have them in the future. Slips are to be expected.
Wait, don’t let this discourage you. Slips do not need to hurt your progress and they can actually be helpful! It all depends on how you react to slips when they happen. When the baby learning to walk falls, they are also learning to get back up. Similarly, each time you slip from your eating and activity plans you can learn how to get back on track. In fact, we learn by using trial and error, we make mistakes and learn from them.
Everyone has different reasons for slipping. Sometimes your mood or feelings can cause you to slip. Examples would be overeating when you are happy and celebrating, bored, upset or stressed. Other times, slips may be associated with a certain setting like when you’re on vacation, at holiday parties, or when the weather is cold or hot. However, we all interact with a situation differently; while one person may enjoy a party by talking and laughing someone else may focus on the delicious food available and overeat.
It is also important to remember that slips are often learned habits. This makes slips difficult to avoid completely, but doesn’t mean you can’t plan to avoid them. Take a minute to write down the things that cause you to slip. When you realize what triggers your slips you can work on strategies to help keep you on track. But if you do slip, you can always get back on track and continue moving toward your goals.
Here are a few ways to think about your slip objectively:
- Don’t be discouraged, think positively. Negative thoughts after a slip can be your worst enemy – leading to guilt or anger.
- Determine the root cause. Look closely at the situation, what really caused you to slip – was it your mood or a situation?
- Don’t give up. What is done is done; all you can do is keep trying. If you throw a pity party now, it will be a lot harder to get back on track.
- Talk it through. Call a supportive friend or family member to discuss your new strategy for handling slips. Commit to your plan.
- Focus on the positives! You may have blown it this time, but you’re the same person who has been successful previously. Slips aren’t the real you; but a simple behavior that can be changed.
Whatever you do, don’t let a slip affect your optimism toward reaching your goals. YOU can do it, YOU can reach your goal.
Want to learn more about being optimistic? Check out: Act Like an Optimist, Improve Your Health