Have you ever tried to declutter, go on a diet, or save money – found you were doing really well – and then fell off the wagon? If there’s anyone who hasn’t experienced ‘falling off the wagon’ in one way or another, I have yet to meet that person. We’ve all experienced it in at least one area of our lives. If it’s happened to you, don’t worry, it’s not fatal and it doesn’t make you a bad person!
Stop beating yourself up.
I was coaching a client the other day and after weeks of progress, life got in the way and she got discouraged. It’s interesting how we minimize our two steps forward after we’ve taken two steps back. She was beating herself up, asking ‘Why can’t I be more organized?’ I had to remind her of the 15 bags of clothes she collected from her closet and took to a women’s charity. And the furniture she donated to a friend who was moving into her city. And the bins of old shampoos, make-up and toiletries she got rid of. All this was accomplished in just the last few weeks.
Notice small successes.
It takes time to change life-long habits. Sometimes we can lose sight of our small successes along the way. But the minute we start berating ourselves for slipping, we can drop into a self-pity spiral, feeling defeated and powerless. It’s very difficult to move forward when you’re consumed with guilt and feel like a failure.
This is why it’s so important to share our accomplishments with those that will support us. Write them down and you’ll have tangible evidence that yes, you did it before – and you can do it again. And always reward yourself for your efforts – every baby step along the way.
Notice your triggers.
My client and I looked at what triggered her momentary lapse and discovered she was emotional due to a tragic event that occurred to a close friend, and short on time because she stepped in to help. She had a choice, and in that moment she decided to help a friend rather than put the time towards decluttering her home. I asked her if she would have done anything differently if she could do it again, and her answer was ‘no’. But after realizing she had a choice, she no longer felt powerless. And she stopped blaming herself. She released her guilt and this freed up her energy; now revitalized, she was able to get back to decluttering with a change in spirit.
If you find yourself hitting a snare, whether it’s while getting fit, getting organized or something else, be mindful of what triggered the set-back. Was there an event that led to the situation? What emotions were you feeling? Were you around certain people when it happened? What would you do differently next time? Rather than just quit, make it a learning experience and find your balance again.
And if you find a momentary slip becoming a full-scale derailment, consider hiring a professional to provide some helpful strategies – a personal trainer, a professional organizer, a money manager, etc. Although it’s never too late, the longer you wait, the more you’ll suffer, and the longer it will take to get back on track.
Now I’d like to hear from you…
Have you ever experienced this?
What triggered you?
How did you handle it?
Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below.