So, if you read my last post, you’ll know that I have traveled quite a bit in the past few weeks and am just now getting settled in back at home. However, in two-weeks time, I’ll kick off another couple of trips and be back on the road again. Yay summer! While I absolutely love the lifestyle my career choice affords me (i.e freedom from a desk), one of the things that I’ve had to learn how to manage is to quickly and efficiently get back on track when the fun is over. Trust me, I get just how easy it is to slide down that slope of complacency – I’ve done it tons of times, only to hit my forehead with a “duh,” when it finally dawns on me why I don’t feel my best. But, as in all things, it’s a learning and growing process, so I want to share with you what I’ve figured out so far.
Often times, we make the most changes when we are terribly uncomfortable. This might take the face of an illness or disease, weight loss, a bad relationship, financial struggles or any other significant life change, but what you WON’T usually hear is, “My life was great, so I changed it.” It usually takes considerable pain (physical, mental or emotional) to elicit a growth in us humans. I didn’t make the rules, but this is what is seen across the board. During these periods of change, it’s usually very easy for a person to stick to new habits and move toward their new goals. You are highly motivated at this point to move AWAY from pain and INTO pleasure, happiness, wealth, peace, success, etc. and so the steps to get there seem doable and worth it. But what happens when you reach your goals, when the growing pains end and you’ve come out on the other side a beautiful, new butterfly feeling safe in your skin? Well, if you’re like most people, this is where we start to get a little bit relaxed, and dare I say it, lazy?
Let me preface this next part: I truly believe that periods of rest are an unmatched and vital part of the transformation process. Call it what you will, eb and flow, waxing and waning, but even Mother Earth, in all her wisdom, systematically employs times of growth and times of rest. I believe it is during these downtimes that we are afforded the chance to practice our newfound beliefs and habits and to let them sink deeply into our souls as we become them. But, often it is easy to get comfortable in these lulls and this is when we find it easy to start falling back into old habits. Let me give you an example: When I was in the throws of my Adrenal Fatigue recovery and still experiencing most of my symptoms on a daily basis, it was easy, if not downright imperative, for me to avoid sugar. Sugar made me feel like shit. Sugar gave me anxiety and subsequent hypoglycemia attacks. Sugar made me shake from the inside and left me exhausted and irritable, which would once again, lead me into anxiety. So, avoiding sugar, not such a big deal.
These days, with normal cortisol rhythms and hardly any anxiety (aside from the occasional nasty plane ride) it is MUCH easier for me to partake in the gluten-free cookies I baked for the blog or a few too many drinks for my best friend’s birthday weekend. All in all, I feel fine though and can recover quickly. So maybe the next day, when I find some gluten-free pancakes on the brunch menu, I get those as well. And then perhaps some ice cream at the end of an intense work day and so forth until a couple of weeks later those old familiar friends of mine (hormonal imbalance, anxiety, breakouts and digestive hell) drop by for a visit. At this point, and in the past, I may have acted completely confused. What happened?! I was doing so good and then BAM! But, in reality, when I sit down and get real, I know exactly where things went wrong, and I’m betting you do too.
This, I believe, is when the real growth comes. When you realize that there is work to be done and instead of continuing down that path of self-destruction or laziness complacency, you pick yourself up and try again. It doesn’t have to be a grand showcase. On the contrary, I think it’s the small, day-to-day tasks that actually imprint new changes into our being and lead to long-lasting life transformations. So, with all those rambling in mind, I want to share my number one tip for getting back on track (which is a phrase I loathe by the way).
Think small. That’s it.
It’s easy to look at a goal and be overwhelmed by the grandiosity of it. In my experience, this is when we continually procrastinate until, eventually, the goal is far enough away that it’s a distant memory. Been on vacation eating everything in sight for two weeks? Start by adding some lemon water to your morning routine or toss in a green smoothie every day for a week. You don’t have to do any more than that, but I’m betting that you’ll want to. I would encourage you do your ‘thing’, whatever it may be, first thing in the morning. There is something about starting your day off in a positive and healthful manner that stimulates your brain to make better choices throughout your day. It’s almost as if it takes the guesswork out of your choices and allows you to rely on more than just willpower when temptations arise. Again, it doesn’t have to be big. Some of my favorites include: gentle walking or stretching, meditation, warm lemon water, a green smoothie, gratitude journaling, watching the sunrise, popping in a motivating podcast and eating a healthy breakfast. Most of those can be done in 5-15 minutes and ensure that the next 23.75 hours of my day are gold. So, in conclusion, gain a little momentum first, warm your muscles up nicely and then go for the gold. You’ll be back on top of the world in no time.