It happened. You quit. The diet didn’t start. The healthy lifestyle met a booze and sugar fueled weekend. Right when you should have given it a strong shot, you backed off and tucked yourself back in your comfort zone. That habit streak you were so proud of just didn’t seem so important for a few days and now you’re back at square one. Yes, my Portuguese streak on Duolingo is still at zero and my “guitar everyday” declaration is….yeah. (Sh)it happens.
So now what? Descend into a shame spiral, eat your feelings and beat yourself up. You want to, but please don’t. I expected more out of myself, too. But therein lies the problem: expectations. For most of my life, and even now, I thought if I just expected more from myself and tried harder, dammit, everything would fall into place and I would magically stop quitting. Everything would be perfect. Sound familiar?
We’ve all been so hard on ourselves for so long. Only 100% will do. Nothing less than perfection. And all it gets us is sad. What if, just for this week, we aimed for just a little bit? Just start the thing, the lifestyle change, the habit, the whatever. Do it once this week. Hold yourself to it, expect it of yourself. And then, when the thing is done, celebrate. Tell yourself (bonus points if you do it out loud) that you’re proud of yourself.
Wait. I want you to celebrate doing something just once? Yes! When you celebrate and feel proud of yourself for doing something, your brain will want to do it again. And again. For example: This week I want to do breath work and stretch every day. Pretty lofty goal and, knowing myself, unlikely to happen. Instead, after each breath work and/or stretch session that actually gets done, I will celebrate by telling myself how good I feel afterwards and that I am proud of myself for taking even a small step towards my goals. Sounds a lot more fun than a shame spiral, yes? Something is always better than nothing.
Doing something, your thing, even just once is a great start. A great start is a building block for things to come. Maybe you’ll do it twice. Maybe you’ll decide you actually don’t enjoy it (we’ll talk more about that next week). But a start and a celebration is going to make you feel good. For everyone following along at home, here’s what we’re gonna do this week:
-Decide on the thing you want to do. Yes I know (because I am the same) there are likely eleventeen things you want to do. Pick one. Uno. The one you most want to do.
-Do it. Just one time. DO NOT let yourself off the hook. One time.
-Celebrate. Tell your reflection you are proud of you. Tell your friends. Buy the expensive wine. Order the strippers (kidding! Unless that’s your jam…then by all means…). Post on social media if you’re so inclined (tag #truthandgrit and I will cheer for you!
That’s it, easy peasey. If you feel so good that you want to add a second time of Doing The Thing, by all means go ahead but remember it’s strictly bonus. Did this work for you? Did you feel good and avoid frustration and disappointment? Let me know in the comments below, or by email or even a good ol’ fashioned DM. Cheers!