Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Plan to Fail

Get back on it.

Get slim with these 3 easy steps!

Change your habits in just 30 days!

Six weeks to a new YOU!

Despite what self-help books might promise, don’t fool yourself into thinking that any lifestyle change will be easy.  Overhaul your life in a matter of days or weeks?  Please.  It took you YEARS (if not a lifetime) to nurture those habits; how could anyone claim to reforge them in just 30 days?  No, real change takes time and stubborn commitment.  There will be ups and downs and certainly 30 days of focused effort will give you a running start, but changing your regimen, your rituals, your mindset, is an endurance event.

When you set your mind on change and begin to imagine the steps before you, the question isn’t, Will I stumble?  Rather you should be asking yourself, When will I mess up and how will I deal with that?  Will it merely be a lapse?  Or an utter relapse?  How you deal with the reality of failure will determine whether you will truly change or if you will remain as you ever were.

Over the years, I have counseled numerous individuals seeking to change their eating and exercise habits.  While there is always a bit of nutrition and fitness confusion to clear up (thank you, diet industry), so often my people really do know much of what they should and shouldn’t be doing.  Eat better.  Eat less.  Move more.  But why do I have such a hard time getting it done? they wonder.  So often when attempting change, we think about all the things we’ll do right, all the while neglecting the all too real and present temptations that will lurk at every turn.  By dealing with these obstacles honestly and realistically, you can make your chances at success that much more attainable.  Here are a few thoughts to get you started with your own stumbling blocks.

  • Have you ever tried making this change before?  If so, what tripped you up?  Make a list of these stumbling blocks.  Do not pretend they don’t exist or that your sheer force of will will enable you to soar past them without grazing a toe.
  • Look at your list and begin to brainstorm solutions.  While some may be overcome with avoidance, others must be tackled directly.  If you tend to mindlessly snack whilst watching the boob tube, turn off the TV and do something else!  Or, if you find yourself eating and drinking a wee bit too much with certain friends, test that friendship and have a frank conversation about the changes you’d like to make.
  • Create an environment conducive to your success.  While will power is well and good, why not simplify your life?  Remember, it is easier to get rid of obstacles than to be constantly tripping over them.  Clear out temptations so you don’t have to waste energy avoiding them.  Post reminders and encouraging notes where you’ll see them.  Keep your gym bag packed and ready in your car for post-work workouts.  Stock your home and office with nourishing foods that will carry you to success.  A bit of forethought and planning makes any lifestyle change more doable.
  • Fill the void.  Anytime you give up a pet activity, you’ll find yourself with a hole in your routine.  And, if you do not fill that hole with something constructive or productive, it will be just that much easier to flop back into those old habits.  If you used to smoke during your work breaks, you had better figure out what you’ll do with that time or else you will do nothing but obsess over that now forbidden cigarette.  Or maybe you used food to deal with boredom.  Here’s a chance to kill two birds with one stone!  By choosing a new hobby, whether it be hiking, pickle ball, or square dancing, you’ll not only quit the unnecessary noshing, but you’ll also get off that couch and maybe have some fun!
  • Identify the angels as well as the saboteurs in your life.  Maybe you have a spouse who cheerfully changes alongside you to ease your way.  On the other hand, you might have a cheeky co-worker whose greatest thrill is to leave donuts on your desk whenever she knows you’re back on the diet wagon.  While we’d all prefer to be surrounded by those who are nothing other than supportive and encouraging of our goals, that is not the real world.  Some are a breath of fresh air and others are stinkers.  Though we can’t control the actions and behavior of others, sometimes identifying the players on the field can give those various relationships a bit of context.

But even after all this thoughtful planning, you still manage to mess up!  Fear not and let not your heart be troubled, I say!  When you take a nose dive out of the proverbial saddle, you know what to do.  Get right back on that horse.  Don’t wait–not for tomorrow, Monday, next month, or the New Year.  Ate too much at lunch?  Don’t throw in the towel and say Oh well!  Might as well pig out the rest of the day because TODAY is shot!   Nonsense.  Don’t let a lapse become a relapse.   Or maybe you took a bite of some monster muffin.  While you may be tempted to think, Guess I’ll just finish what I started!, don’t get into that ‘all or none’ mentality.  Take a moment to remember why you are chasing your goal, get focused, and get back on track.

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