Don’t Let A Slip-Up Derail Your Health Goals
Bounce back from unhealthy blunders with these tips from health coach Camille Adair, RN.No matter how committed you are to a healthy lifestyle, slip-ups are bound to happen. The good news: People who accept their mistakes and quickly rebound from them are more likely to meet their goals. Whether your intention is to be more active, lose weight, stop drinking soda, or get more sleep, these tips will help you recover from a lapse so it doesn’t hinder your progress.
Why do minor mistakes have such power?
“As nurses, we tend to be perfectionists,” says Adair. Taking on a healthy challenge can set you on the right path and kick-start your motivation, but changes like eating healthfully, exercising regularly, or making time for yourself are lifelong goals—not something you can focus on for just a week or a month and then let go. Missteps are an inevitable part of the wellness journey.
As Adair explains, in meditation, we learn to gently bring our attention back to our breath when our mind wanders. As you work on bringing your attention back to the present over and over again, you become better at meditation. It’s the same with any health goal. “Slip-ups are actually an opportunity to flex that resilience muscle and strengthen our ability to overcome the issue.”
Next time you slip up, try these tactics:
Create your own care plan: “We have to look at ourselves the same way we look at our patients. Each person needs to determine what’s appropriate for them at various points in their lives,” says Adair. For instance, if you sit at a desk all day, doing something physical could be the best form of self-care. However, if at some point, you take on a more physically-demanding role, the best way to be kind to yourself may be to meditate or do yoga. What worked for you at one point in time may not always be what you need. Recognizing that you need different tools and practices at different times in your life can help prevent unhealthy relapses.
Set realistic goals: Taking time for self-awareness is a key element of setting realistic goals. “If we don't know how we're feeling, what drives us, and what our needs are, we can't set appropriate goals,” says Adair.
Focus in: Designate a few minutes each day to touch base with yourself. “In health care, we're so other-oriented. We're conditioned to be dialed into other people, so often times we aren't as sensitive to our own needs,” says Adair. Taking time to understand how you’re feeling can prevent throwing in the towel on a worthy goal you want to accomplish.
Cut yourself some slack: Nurses have empathy and compassion for other people. We need to point that back to ourselves. “As nurses, we face serious issues, so it’s even more important to be gentle and forgiving with ourselves,” says Adair.
Learn from your lapses: If you were pursuing a health goal and fell off the wagon, take some time to understand what triggered the lapse. Did you grab junk food from the vending machine because you forgot to pack a healthy snack? Did you resort to diet soda during your late-night shift because you didn’t sleep well the night before? Determine what triggered a misstep to help prevent future slip-ups.
Most important, remember that no matter what detour you may take on your wellness journey, you’ll always have an opportunity to start fresh. Being compassionate with yourself will go a long way toward achieving that goal. “Our job is to look for what's wrong with other people, so it's easy for us to also focus on what's wrong within ourselves. We also need to be looking for what's right and celebrating the positive within us,” says Adair.
Camille Adair is also the chairperson of “Healthy Nurse, Healthy New Mexico.”
How do you bounce back from a misstep? Tell us in our discussion or in our private Facebook group. Share this post by clicking the icons to the left and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more healthy tips! Be sure and tag us with #HealthyNurse.
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