By Tara Daye, Personal Trainer
Every day of our lives are somewhat planned out. We have a schedule of our day from start to finish letting us know when to be where and what to do next, a big “to-do” list keeping us on track and focused. Where would we be without one? We are also very good at having prevention strategies in place in case of emergency, fire, and have home and auto insurance for when any unforeseen circumstances arise. We know what we are going to do at the gym today; all laid out for the no-questions-needed, just go and get it done is the society we live in. We also prepare our children for any instances that may arise unexpectedly…. what to do in case you get hurt, not to talk to strangers, who they can call if they need someone to talk to, etc. But what about us?
What about the lesser-than-large failures that we beat ourselves up over? As a trainer, all too often I hear from clients, “I just gave in…” or “I’m so mad at myself for….” and even “I just can’t stop myself from….”. Those instances when we give in and eat the whole bag of cookies or chips or put the blinker on when heading passed McDonald’s because we are just too hungry to wait to get home and then take the time to prepare it all. How do we deal when the children are being relentlessly aggravating and we lose our cool? Think about the days you fully intended on having a killer 1.5 hour workout only then to have something come up reducing your gym time to 25 minutes? What about the mental abuse we give to ourselves after hopping on the scale only to discover that it is not showing us what we thought it would? Well, we have a plan of action for everything else, so why not this as well?
Creating a plan of attack to deal with the personal stressors we come across every day/week/month can really help! I have a plan of action to deal with my morning – I am not a morning person. I can’t even tell you how not! Now with my schedule jammed packed each and every day, long work days and busy home life, I have had to force – yes literally force – myself to get up earlier than usual and get in my workouts before the day even begins. This was a real problem not being a morning person. I developed an action plan to deal with my foul mood and bad thought pattern that came with those early days; a plan to turn my negative thoughts to positive. Months later, I am happy to report that because of my plan of action, I can now enjoy most (yes, it’s still a work in progress) mornings without turning into a total monster and starting my family’s day off on the wrong foot.
Okay, so now what to do? Think about the times when you beat yourself up emotionally, what behavior would you like to control? Before developing your plan, identify those triggers that set us off on that tangent we soon come to regret and loathe but repeat and repeat. Once identified, think about the thought pattern that ensues. Thoughts lead to decisions that lead to actions then feelings, and the circle continues. A good plan of attack will be able to identify those trigger thoughts, flip the thought process to positive or preventative, and be able to take positive action based on the new thought pattern. Thus, changing our behavior!
The quote “It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you, if you let it.” by Leon Brown really says it all. To change behavior, we need to change the path our mind takes during moments of weakness or doubt or stress. Have your plan of attack ready for the next time your cravings want to get the better of you, or the scale is not playing nice; whatever your stressor is, attack it next time with a plan and come out of the situation proud!