"Well FB...here is what is on my mind. I started my weight loss journey back in July. Eleven weeks in I had lost 20 pounds. I was at 177 and felt so good about myself. Fast forward to today. I have gained back 7 of those 20 pounds and you can really see it. I've been super stressed about a lot. When I'm stressed...I eat. But that stops today. My stress levels are going down and I am so happy where I am in life. It's going to be hard with the holidays, but I can do it."
This is my cousin's Facebook post. I'm reposting it here with her permission. I read this after having a number of friends and clients reach out to me this week about their own setbacks, and those conversations led me to want to shine some light on what to do when the inevitable setbacks shows up. Because they WILL happen. It's not a matter of if, but WHEN. For example, another friend called upset because her self-care had been on the back burner lately to say the least. She had been eating foods she knew weren't good for her, drinking too much, not sleeping or exercising enough, and her meditation practice was non-existent at the moment. She had also recently experienced a significant trauma in her life that had caused her, as it would any one of us, to become excessively stressed and therefore negligent of her own needs and wellness. The point of both of these examples, is that whether we suffer setbacks because of our own choices or by powers out of our control, we are never defeated if we have the right tools to move forward. We can always turn our setbacks into comebacks if we can commit to a few guidelines throughout the process:
1. Understand that Self-Care is a lifelong journey and we never truly arrive- It isn't uncommon to have the mentality that "When this thing or that thing happens, then I'll be happy." or "When this person finally stops behaving this way or that way, then I can focus on myself." The reality is that even if the thing happens that we want or the person becomes who we want, those satisfactions will be short-lived and we will always find some other reason to delay our self-care. That's because no thing or person can fill us. We must always seek lasting satisfaction from the inside out. And this is a lifelong practice.
2. Let go of perfection- If we for one minute believe that the practice of self-care has anything to do with being perfect, we have defeated ourselves before we've even begun. In fact, we should aim to do the exact opposite. Make mistakes. Practice being comfortable with our imperfection. None of us are without flaws and that truth alone can have the power to connect rather than divide when we will let it.
3. Have an accountability partner- Get someone who knows how to pick you up when you are down. Kinda and I serve as each other's accountability partners all the time. We talk about our business but we also talk about what goes on in our personal lives and share our individual goals so that when one of us is down, the other is there to lift the other up, and vice versa. Having someone share in your self-care journey and be a cheerleader when you need it can go a long way in making you feel successful.
4. Forgive yourself no matter what- People don't tend to do what we want them to do when we are harsh with our words by continuing to revisit past transgressions and old hurts. Likewise, we don't respond positively when we treat ourselves that way, either. The way we expect others to treat us- with respect, affection, and kindness, is precisely the way we should be treating ourselves. As we have compassion and understanding when other people make mistakes, so we should have the same for ourselves.
5. Continue to affirm what you want- Don't let a setback, self- caused or involuntary, allow you to declare failure or defeat. We must continue to affirm our goals and desired lifestyle by speaking that reality into existence. Tell yourself how loved and appreciated you are every morning in front of the mirror before you begin your day. It may seem silly at first, but over time, you will start to believe your words just as much as you believed all the negative self-talk garbage you've been telling yourself for years. Put up signs with words of encouragement in the spaces of your house where you frequent. I have a white board in my kitchen and continually change the message to reflect an uplifting thought that pertains to what is going on in my life at the time.
My cousin's words are inspiring and encouraging for all of us. Whether you have started a weight loss journey for the fifth time, been disappointed by the outcome of a project you had worked so long and tirelessly on, or entered rehab for your addictions AGAIN, we are all the same. We suffer setbacks and we always will. But we can start again. And again. And as many times as it takes, continuously evolving and growing in our individual self-care journeys. Whatever it is, vow to make your setback your comeback, and remember, you CAN do it.
With love and gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel