We’ve all said the magic words once before, “I need to get back on the wagon!” This moment of reflection is a hard truth to admit sometimes but you know it when you are there. Usually such a statement is said after a brief interruption of what you would consider healthy habits.
This wagon is apparently easy to fall off since I know I’ve heard it time and time again as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. The reasons can be endless for why we’ve fallen off this wagon.
Maybe this wagon is a little too shaky!
Hey who’s driving this thing anyway?
Are you driving it? Or are you giving that power to someone else, or something else. Maybe it’s your career that drives your wagon and determines if you can stay on it or not. Maybe it’s your kid’s needs that drive this wagon.
And where is this wagon even going? Are you going for a short but hectic ride? Are you on the wagon for a longer time but at a slower, more relaxed pace? This all matters when it comes to achieving success in your health and wellness.
If you don’t know by now this wagon is a metaphor for your continued habits that point you in the direction of your best self. Most people see this wagon as their exercise, nutrition and stress relief habits. Once a bump in the road occurs - we fall off and need to restart that momentum.
Let’s go over the importance of this wagon, or this plan of attack for your best life.
Where’s this wagon headed?
I’m going to keep going with this metaphor to paint a clear picture on what is important when it comes to your goals, your life, and your wellness.
You’ve made the decision to start a healthy lifestyle...Great! The start is usually the easiest part to all of this.
“I don’t like the 20 extra lbs I put on after having (insert kids name here}”
“I don’t like feeling out of breathe when I walk up the stairs to work”
“I don’t like how I haven’t had a chance to enjoy my favorite hobby”
Do any of these sound like you? These sentiments are the realizations that you are currently behind the curve in major aspects of your life. This is the breeding ground for motivation and action planning!
So you then set your sights on a life that you can feel proud and happy about - you get on the wagon!
Now is the time where you set goals for yourself to rewrite and revert some bad habits.
But wait one second…
Do you really know where this wagon is headed?
It’s so very important to understand what your goals are and have actions that support that. You need to drive that wagon effectively down the right path!
I didn’t always believe in this but writing down your goals and reading them each day has had a profound impact on setting the stage for success. This act of constantly reminding yourself about the change you wish to see will have impacts that are far better than if you just decided to let the wagon drive itself, riding off course on some days and then riding on course on others.
Goal: “I want to lose 10 lbs in 3 months”
Feeling: “I will feel confident in a bathing suit when going to the beach this summer”
The power of recognizing what it is that you want to feel when you reach this goal is so very important. It starts to mold you into the person that would feel that way and therefore drive that wagon towards the promised land!
Creating your road map to success
It’s time for you to get very real and very honest with what it would look and feel like when you reach the goal. If you keep your goal very vague like “I want to eat more healthy meals” you will have no idea when you’ve actually accomplished your goal here.
“I want to exercise more” is another example of a poor plan!
If the goal is vague and unclear - you can’t put specific habits into place to help this wagon move smoothly towards that change in lifestyle.
Consider how it would feel riding on your wagon on a dirt road, with no signs pointing you towards your next stop. There are many bumps in the road - it's uncomfortable and not an enjoyable ride as you stress about finding the right dirt path to go down. This becomes a guessing game!
Instead set a specific goal and plan of action. “I will eat at least 4 servings of vegetables per day for the next 2 weeks”.
“I will attend 2 group classes per week and strength train 2 times per week for at least 45 minutes”
When your wagon knows when and how to get to the end point - you set yourself up in that much better of a position when it comes to the ebbs and flows of each day.
Take a moment and visualize what it would feel like to ride the wagon on smooth paved roads on streets that have markers and signs directing you towards your destination. The wind is blowing in the air - the sunshine is powering you to keep moving forward and staying the course. Sure you might hit some bad weather that slows your wagon down - but you have the proper road map in place to keep you on track!
This is what it feels like when you have a plan that works for you! Things should flow and should feel like they become automatic.
This is something that Forever Fit tries to strive for with every client - creating a plan that feels effortless and is specific to the end goals. Having goals is great but having a plan on how to get there is even better!
But you still fell off the wagon!
Not all rides can go smoothly...even the ones with the best intentions and plan.
Your kid gets sick and you need to miss your workouts for a week...your wagon has to stop.
You forgot to go food shopping and don’t have your vegetables available to cook.
You lose motivation to keep the wagon going and take a break at the hot dog truck on the side of the road.
These are all real events that can derail you from your destination (except for maybe the hot dog truck!)
I understand that seemingly failing and “falling off the wagon” is something that does not feel good. It disrupts your momentum and prolongs your trip to your end point.
This is your most crucial time - the most important part about all of this is how you react to falling off. True success is found in those who understand that it’s not the falling off part that is important but rather how do you get back on?
So what can you do?
Firstly, know that no one is perfect and that it’s okay to “fall off the wagon”. Life throws too many curve balls our way and we need to do our best to react to these changes.
I’m a big believer in treating yourself with kindness and compassion in these moments. We are often our own biggest critics and enjoy taking shots at ourselves.
“I’m no good at this, I should be able to get to the gym more often”
“I’m never going to lose those 20 lbs before the summer”
These thoughts do nothing but hold us back and give us a reason to stay off the wagon for a longer time.
IF you find yourself “off the wagon” for a longer time than you would of hoped - try doing a few of these tips!
Accept falling off
Like I mentioned above, everybody falls off. It’s impossible for everything to go perfectly planned and that is okay. Being perfect does not get you to your destination. Once you accept that you’ve fallen off, it’s in the past and it’s behind you. You are then able to look forward, look at your road map and get back on the wagon without a hitch!
Celebrate how well that wagon ran!
It’s far easier for us to celebrate and congratulate other people when they have success. Make sure you think back before you fell off the wagon to recognize what you actually did right. You had 2 weeks straight of eating your vegetables? That’s awesome! That’s 2 weeks better than you’ve ever done in the past. Let that positivity and fire continue to move that wagon forward!
Reassess your road map
Maybe you took a wrong turn down a bad dirt road and found yourself hitting a ditch. In times of perceived failure it’s best to look at your plan and see if it’s something that is helping or hurting you. For example maybe your road map called for 5 days of exercise but it’s been really tough for you to get in even twice a week. Reassess your road map and find some success to get that wagon moving again. Plan to hit the gym 2 times consistently for the next month to regain power and momentum!
Just get back on!
Sometimes we like to over analyze and put ourselves down into the same ditch that our wagon hit! We think we can figure out all the reasons why we failed, what needs to be different and start to overthink everything in our plan of attack. Instead of spending so much time analyzing what went wrong, sometimes what you need is to just start your habits again. Trust that you have the ability to make it work.
Patience is a skill that is hard to practice in our fast moving, mobile world. We want to get to our goals yesterday and are led to believe by false advertising that your results and goals can be accomplished quickly. Nothing that is worth it comes easy (oh yes there’s a classic quote!) Seriously though - if you are always feeling like you aren’t going fast enough you might wear out those wheels on the wagon! Slow it down, be patient and you will get there!
Find support : When you feel that you are constantly falling off, getting back on only to fall off again you might just need a little help. There’s nothing wrong with needing a support system - most of us have one without realizing it. When you have somebody in the passenger seat helping to guide you and make the right decisions on the road you are far more likely to reach your destination.
Here’s my shameless plug but this is what we do at Forever Fit Method! IF you are looking for accountability, guidance and a realistic road map give us an email, call, or text! We live to help others and be in the passenger seat of your wagon!
Life is filled with trials and tribulations that make us who we are. Getting “back on the wagon” is something that doesn’t need to be scary, doesn’t need to take forever to do and doesn’t need to be complicated.
I believe that with the proper road map you can gain control over the steering wheel and finally take full responsibility for your success!