Don’t Sweat the Detour


Most people start their wellness journey by jumping right into action. They decide that come Monday, they are going to work out every day.

This is great, unless you try to do too much too soon, and are halted in your tracks. Or if you miss a workout and feel like a failure, you might also have your good intentions thwarted.

Many people feel like to achieve their wellness goals they have to do everything perfectly. If they miss a workout, they are a failure. If they eat a cookie, they’ve blown their diet and give up.

That kind of “All or Nothing” thought process is very real for people. It was real for me. This was one of those thoughts that tripped me up again and again the many times I lost weight and got in great shape, only to gain all the weight back—and then some. It can lead to thoughts like:

  • “I just blew my diet on those cookies, so I might as well eat the whole pint of ice cream because my diet is over.”
  • “I only got in one workout this week, so there’s no point doing any more. I’ll start over on Monday.”
  • “I know I have that party coming up this week where I will be overeating, so I might as well eat whatever I want this week.”

How valid is that thinking?

It seems valid in our mind, but when we speak those thoughts out loud or read them, we might be able to more clearly see that our wellness journey isn’t a race. Slipping up and eating a couple of cookies might not even slow our progress down that much if we get right back on track. But if we down the pint of ice cream, too, then we are facing a more significant detour.

You can challenge your inaccurate thinking with questions like:

  • “What evidence is there that this thought might not be true?”
  • “What is the effect of my believing that thought and what could be the effect of changing my thinking?”

You can also shift—really retrain—your thoughts.

Here’s an example. What would happen if you shifted your thinking after eating the cookies to something like, “Wow, that wasn’t on my eating plan. But I enjoyed it, it’s over and done, and I’ll get back on track with a light and healthy dinner tonight.”

All of our actions are first preceded by our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. Our chances of successfully achieving a state of optimal wellness are greatly increased if we can get our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs to align with and support our actions. Doing so sets up an energetic chain reaction that actually helps build momentum so that our goals are easier to achieve.

Together we can do it!

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