You know those days when everything falls into place? You wake up at 5:30am with enough time to get your favorite spot at your 6am class. Feeling great after your class you eat a Instagram worthy breakfast and continue to make heathy great choices all day. You crawl into bed early so you get eight hours of sleep. Wake up and you’re ready to do it all again.
Yeah, I know those days — however, I haven’t had too many of them this winter. Life has been a little more on the rest, recover, oversleep, random eating, dreaded antibiotics, and hurried half assed attempts to finish “to do” lists. I can count on one had the number of times all four people in my house have been healthy at the same time in 2018.
I set New Year resolutions, and I also have my usual monthly/weekly/daily intentions that I set for myself. So far, I haven’t made a dent in any of them.
What happens when you set a goal and don’t achieve it? What if it isn’t because of motivation? This is something different than the loop of bad choices or starting a new habit — or at least, it feels different.
It is the difference between oversleeping for your 6am workout and waking up in time to make it, only to find your dishwasher flooded overnight. One is a result of your choices, and one is your environment. Nature vs No-Nurture (is that a thing?).
So what can you do when life gets in the way of your best, healthiest intentions?
Acknowledge that it’s not your fault
Acknowledge the difference between a mistake and outside forces stopping you from doing what needs to get done. Be honest with yourself; this isn’t about shifting blame or getting out of a failed responsibility. It is about avoiding the unproductive shame spiral into more unproductive behavior.
Sure, you missed class, but there’s always tomorrow. All you got on the table for dinner is cucumbers and hummus? Hey, this is a win in my book! Sick kids and you can’t get anything done? Well, join the freaking club, I have no sympathy. KIDDING!
The first thing I “want” to do when I’m feeing overwhelmed or if I have fallen behind on a deadline is over promise.
“I”ll get that to you today!” (No I won’t, not a chance) Instead, try “NO, I don’t have *fill-in-the-blank* for you now, but I can get it to you by Tuesday.”
Don’t rush to a false yes; instead, give an honest and real yes when you’re ready. This is actually more respectful to you and whoever you are working with. There is so much power in saying “No”.
Chunk your to-do list
Tackle your list by chunking that sh*t out, doing one thing at a time. If you’re not familiar, “chunking” means breaking one big task into several smaller, more manageable tasks. So, for example, instead of writing “Two loads of laundry” on my to-do list, I might separate it into bringing the laundry to the laundry room, sorting the laundry, loading the first load into the washer, and so on.
Chunking out tasks helps to make things more manageable. This is the single most important tool I use (aside from meditation, yoga and eating healthy) to get through the day. The night before I chunk out my day; this way, it is so much easier to rearrange my day if one task needs gets out of whack. The crazier the day, the smaller the chunks.
Ask for help
Outsource whenever and wherever you can! Asking for help is key when life is stopping you from getting things done. Ask your neighbor for help with after school pick up. Order dinner, and use compostable paper plates so there’s no clean up (maybe even order extra for lunch tomorrow). Drop off laundry with dry-cleaning, eliminate the doing and folding. The key is to find small ways to take things off your list without just not doing them.
Celebrate the small wins
There is awesome in the world, even when you’re sick, stuck with a flooded dishwasher, or otherwise foiled by life’s little surprises. Don’t let setbacks, well, hold you back. To keep you motivated find a way to celebrate the small things. “Yay! We all put real clothes on today and changed out of our pajamas we’ve been living in for the last week!” Or, “Hurray, everyone slept in their own beds!” (*Note* follow-up post to come on how to make this happen when I actually get them to sleep in their own beds.)
Bottom line? Shit happens, so feel it, deal with it and move on!
What tips do you use to get back on track when life sabotages you?