If there is one thing in life that is certain, its uncertainty! As hard as we try, there will inevitably be circumstances we don't expect.
This reality can be frustrating and discouraging when we are trying to make lifestyle changes. Its normal to get caught up in the disappointment of not meeting our goals and expectations. Our success with new behaviors is very much dependent on how we deal with these inevitable situations. Preparing ourselves to meet 'failure' with flexibility and creativity can help us gracefully turn disappointments into opportunities.
I have a personal example: I have been battling an injury for a few months, and as a result am limited in the kinds of exercise I can do. I felt particularly frustrated one day this week when I had an unusually sedentary morning at work. My morning tasks ran late and my injury flared up from all the sitting I had been doing. I really wanted to get a workout in to loosen up and relieve my discomfort, but I had to pick up my kids from school and daycare, and had missed my opportunity to exercise. Grrr!
I did allow myself a few moments of self-pity (poor me!), but if there is one thing that I have learned from working as a coach, it is to acknowledge when I feel strongly about something and shift my perspective to that of an observer. What I noticed was this: Things hadn't gone as planned, and I was definitely in more pain than I wanted to be. But deeper down, I was feeling worried about whether or not I would be able to stay in shape with this injury, and frustrated because I couldn't do the type of workouts I used to do. My strong feelings of frustration and disappointment made more sense once I acknowledged these deeper concerns.
Then I started to notice opportunities: My son likes to ride his bicycle, and his school is close to our home. I didn't have time to workout on my own, but I could walk to pick up my son and get some fresh air and activity. We could then walk and bicycle together to pick up my other child at daycare. My plan changed instantly, I felt better, and I even experienced some pride for having come up with such an agreeable solution. I had a nice long walk, some quiet personal time, and a great chance to spend valuable time with my kids.
My point is this: Being flexible is a skill that is essential to success. Weight loss and healthy lifestyle change are very difficult to succeed with and even harder to maintain. There will always be obstacles and challenges: Some of them you will expect, but many others you won't see coming. Flexibility allows you to acknowledge situations that challenge your plan, adapt, and identify opportunities to carry on. When we refuse to be flexible we are much more likely to give up and accept failure. Sometimes we may have to accept that things don't work out exactly as we had hoped; it is in these situations that we learn to trust our ability to learn and bounce back. When we are flexible, we tend to find solutions. We also tend to feel proud of ourselves for the alternative actions we WERE able to succeed with, and appreciate the benefits of these successes... even if they weren't exactly what we had originally planned.
For this week, I welcome you to set one goal. Just one. I welcome you to meet challenges with excitement and confidence: This is your opportunity to be flexible, and to show that you have what it takes to master change! Be Well.