Three Tips for Getting Back on the Horse

Posted October 13, 2016 by

Falling off track is understandable–it happens to the best of us. The truth is, being 100% perfect at all times isn’t a reasonable expectation.

We’re all human, and to expect yourself to never slip up is an exercise in futility.

So the question becomes not how you can avoid ever giving in to temptation, but how you can get back on track as quickly as possible and minimize the damage of said slip.

The truth is, a mistake in your nutrition or training made in isolation has almost no impact whatsoever on your long term results.

On the other hand, allowing a momentary lapse of motivation to become a whole day, week or month’s worth of poor decision making can absolutely undo a great amount of hard work.

Let’s take a look at some tried-and-true tips for ending the downward spiral before it starts.

Tip 1: Have Your Goal Well-Defined and Written Down

One major reason it’s hard for many people to get back to healthy habits after a slip up is because they have no real clarity on what they hope to achieve with their efforts.

Because of this lack of “purpose,” there’s no urgency and the excuse becomes, “I’ll start tomorrow” (or Monday… or next month).

Thus, the first step is to write down your goal in easy-to-understand language somewhere tangible.

Don’t just write it on your phone–hand write it on a sheet of paper.

Post that paper somewhere in your home, office, etc where you can see it every day and be reminded of what you’re trying to do.

Then, establish a method of reminding yourself to review your goal. If you don’t, the paper will sit there unnoticed once the novelty wears off, eliminating its usefulness.

Tip 2: Find an Accountability Partner

Having someone who isn’t emotionally invested in your life to remind you of your commitment to yourself can be a huge advantage.

It’s so easy to justify why we’re too tired to go to the gym, or too hungry to withstand the chips and dip at the party.

The problem is that in the moment, the conscious, logical part of our mind turns control over to the subconscious, emotional part.

Instead of considering the consequences of what we’re tempted to do and the benefits–if any-to the action, we only thing about immediate gratification and ignore longer term impact.

This is also why we tend to feel guilty after making emotional choices that do not align with our logical goals–once we think about it clearly, we realize the choice we made didn’t do us any favors, and we regret the decision.

You can fight your human tendencies all day in an effort to avoid this, or you can simply ally yourself with someone who respects and understands your goals, but won’t respect your in-the-moment excuses.

In other words, you need someone who can save you from yourself!

When you’re feeling temptation rear its ugly head, you can rely on this person to give you the logical argument that you’re otherwise missing (the angel on your shoulder to combat the demon on the other shoulder that’s goading you to cheat on yourself).

So find a friend, relative or perhaps best of all, a coach, who can help hold you accountable.

Tip 3: Put Yourself in a Position to Win

I was listening to an audio recording once of a motivational speaker’s presentation, and he spoke about Tiger Woods’ supremacy in golf (yeah, this was a while ago, hah).

He said that it wasn’t that Tiger knew he would always win, or that he guaranteed he would always win, but that he guaranteed that he would always put himself in a position to win.

What does this mean?

He would get proper rest before his tournaments. He focused on maximizing his strong points, and minimizing his weaker points. He cross-trained and ate a healthy diet. He considered his competitive advantage and how he could best leverage that on the course.

On the course, he made decisions based on what would give him the best opportunity to do well.

The main point here is, Tiger didn’t have control over whether he won or lost.

He couldn’t control how well his opponents played, or the weather conditions the day of the tournament, or how strong the wind was blowing.

All he could do was make the best decisions possible to give him the most chance of winning, and then let fate take its course.

More often than not, at least during his heyday, it worked to his advantage and for many years he dominated the sport of golf.

So, think about how you can give yourself the best chance of achieving your goal.

Do you have foods that you constantly overeat at your house? If so, throw them out.

Do you have certain restaurants you can’t seem to make good decisions at? Stop going to those places.

Do you tend to skip workouts more if you try to do them after work rather than before work? Implement a morning workout routine.

Figure out what the cracks in your approach are, and address them.

Doing so will give you the best environment for success and make your slip ups less frequent and shorter in duration.

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