“Everyone eventually tells me they’ve gotten off track,” says Danielle Repko, an American Council on Exercise-certified health coach with OhioHealth Group. “Typically, they haven’t been as bad as they think.”
When you’re pursuing long-term health goals, it’s inevitable that you will fall short of them sometimes, whether it’s for a few days or weeks at a time. And that’s OK – life happens. It can only become a big deal if you let it become one.
So how do you get back on track? Repko shared these tips.
Give yourself grace
Just because you didn’t do exactly what you planned to do, doesn’t mean you’ve failed. “When people come to me discouraged, we often find that they did better than they’ve given themselves credit for,” says Repko. “For example, you might have to skip the gym to pick up your kids early from daycare, but then you take them to the park where you play with them. That activity makes up for missing the gym, but many people don’t think about that.”
Follow the five steps of problem-solving
- Describe your problem: Evaluate why you had a lapse.
- Come up with options: Once you’ve determined the root cause of your behavior, brainstorm how you can make up for it or avoid doing the same thing next time.
- Choose the best options: Make sure what you decide to do matches your needs and schedule.
- Make an action plan: Write down what you plan to do in your Diabetes Prevention Action Plan.
- Try it: Put your plan into action. Keep at it until you reach your goals.
Reevaluate your why
“This is also a good time to reflect on the reason why you set your goals,” says Repko. “Your “why” may have changed at this point, so setting new goals could be all you need to motivate yourself.” For example, if you’ve hit your weight goal, that could be why you’re not as dedicated to working out. Your new goal could be to build more muscle. Or if you have achieved your walking goals, make your next goal to run a 5K.
Know you’re not alone
“I feel like I’m off track right now,” says one Diabetes Prevention Program participant. “I know I need to get back to walking regularly and tracking what I eat, so I’m trying to set short-term goals. Just be kind to yourself, and try accepting the advice you would give to other people.”
Stephanie, another Diabetes Prevention Program participant says, “I’ve been the kind of person who will go 100 percent for a period of two months straight, and then I will just stop suddenly. I think it helps to have an accountability partner and to switch things up so you don’t get bored. I try different kinds of workout classes so I’m not always doing the same thing.”
If you need help with accountability, try joining an official diabetes prevention program to share and learn from others who are experiencing the same things. Check with your employer (OhioHealth offers a program for associates), your local YMCA or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of recognized locations to find a program near you.