Health is a journey. We use that phrase often in our work, and it’s an idea you will hear our leaders reference again and again as you take your own journey toward optimal wellbeing. You might nod your head when you hear it and quickly jump to the next topic, but you should take a moment and consider what a journey really means.
Every great story, fiction and non-fiction, is filled with ups and downs. In real-life, there are no straight lines between where you are and where you want to be. You have to make choices and navigate obstacles and adapt to challenges and find solutions to problems you did not expect. Along the way, you might stumble. You might make a mistake. You might have a bad day or a bad year.
No one wants you to experience a setback, but they do happen, even to the best of us. What matters most is how you respond. What can you learn from it? What can you do differently next time? What can you take from that experience that ultimately makes you better?
These are important questions, and as you build your Habits of Health, you should keep them in mind. We often hear from people who feel guilty or defeated if they give in to a sugar addiction or they feel like a failure if some of the weight they have lost comes back.
To turn a moment of weakness into something that propels you forward rather than drags you backward, here’s what you should do:
- Talk to your health coach about the challenge. Your health coach has a wealth of experience and stories to share, and his or her support can help you shortcut a struggle to find a practical solution.
- Reflect on the experience. Grab your journal and write down your thoughts on what happened. How did you feel? Why did you feel that way? What could you have done differently? This exercise helps to activate mindfulness, making it easier to choose a Habit of Health in the future.
- Review how habit loops work. Take out your copy of Dr. A’s Habits of Health and read up on habit loops. If you can identify the habit loop you fell into, you might be able to remove the trigger that caused it or change the behavior and reward to something healthy.
- Plan ahead. When you have a better understanding of what happened, make a plan for addressing it when you face it again. That plan might mean making your vision board more visible so your goals are top-of-mind or maybe it means taking all of the junk food out of your home.
Remember, we are all human, and building Habits of Health takes time. Expecting yourself to be perfect on your first try at anything is unfair and unrealistic. Instead, learn from your stumbles, and use those moments to refocus your practice. That’s how we all get better.