Sometimes getting started on a new, healthier lifestyle is the easiest part. The biggest challenge, for some, is staying motivated when slip ups happen. And everyone faces setbacks!
But even when it might feel hopeless, you don’t have to throw in the towel. You have the option to accept that slip ups are a part of the process. In other words, you can forgive yourself, dust yourself off, and get back in the saddle.
Here are 10 steps you can take to get back on track after a slip up:
1. Practice Self-Compassion
When you tell yourself that you’re not doing enough, stop and ask yourself if you’re being too hard on yourself. Use it as an opportunity to be nicer to yourself. Give yourself credit for the positive changes you have been making and the healthy habits you have formed.
2. Recognize Your Misstep
Acknowledge the choices that have taken you further away from your goals. Remember that no amount of guilt or shame is going to change the past. You cannot change what has already happened. You can, however, control what you do from this second forward.
3. Set Realistic Goals
Success is one of the best motivators. So give yourself small goals that you can actually reach, within a specific time frame. You want your goals to be measurable, like exercising three days per week or eating five servings of veggies every day this week. Achieving these goals will help you feel accomplished and ready to tackle more.
4. Redirect Self-Talk
Instead of “I overate at lunch again, I’m never going to change,” switch to a less limiting thought. Tell yourself, “It takes time and practice to make new changes. This is a work in progress and I am doing my best.”
5. Bounce Back
Minimize the time between falling down and getting back up. If you indulge at breakfast, instead of saying, “I will eat better tomorrow,” get back on track that same day! When you do that, celebrate it by writing it down or telling a friend.
6. Remember That Baby Steps Are Wins
True success takes time. Making one small change may not immediately translate to weight loss or a consistent exercise routine. But have faith in yourself and in the process. Practicing healthy habits will lead to success over time.
7. Work It Out
Exercise can help you refocus and reset. It doesn’t matter for how long or what you do, just get moving. The feel-good hormones released when you exercise will help you refresh. And if you feel amazing afterward, you may even be motivated to do it again.
8. Start a Buddy System
Think about what kind of support would help you do better next time. Maybe a workout date would help you stay committed to your goals. Or you might find it helpful to talk to a mentor who has been through a similar experience. Line up the network of people you need to succeed.
9. Drink Plenty of Water
You may feel hungry or tired if you’re not hydrated. Make sure you’re sipping enough water throughout the day. Try drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. (So if you weigh 200 pounds, aim for 100 ounces of water.)
10. Make a Healthy Breakfast
Your morning meal sets the stage for the rest of your day. Plan to start tomorrow on the right foot. So what if today didn’t go as you would have liked? Ensure that tomorrow will keep you moving forward in the direction of your goals.