Getting out of the failure cycle

Most of us will recognize this story.


She resigned herself to her current weight and lifestyle because it just doesn't seem worth it (or maybe it doesn't seem possible) to change it significantly. And let's be real, yummy food makes her happy!. Then her neighbor starts losing weight. The neighbor feels great and looks great. She starts realizing she really does want those things still. Later as she is getting dressed she struggles to put on her favorite pair of jeans (or if you are my sister you rip your jeans as you lean over- just like in a TV show ;)). The pain of getting more clothes on top of wanting to feel and look better seems to push her over the edge. It's time.


She hires a trainer, she buys her shakes. Then she gets into go-mode. She fights, works and sees the results. Ho-rah! Three months into it and she is really getting results. Hello, clothes she missed wearing. Hello, compliments from everyone around her. Hello, endorphins of success.


Now, what happens next isn't as clear. She gets into the "maintenance phose" of her diet. Over time the scale creeps up and motivation creeps down. It just became too much to fight against.


This sounds like a cycle of failure...


Ironically, this is actually the CYCLE OF CHANGE! Sorry for shouting, I get excited about change.


What we often tell ourselves is proof of failure, psychologists have mapped out as the process for change.


The cycle goes like this

1- pre-contemplation (not thinking about change)

2- contemplation (thinking about it)

3- preparation (getting ready to do something)

4- action (doing something)

5- maintenance (keep doing something)

6- relapse (run out of steam and quit)


It doesn't sound a lot like change, I know. But it's like doing reps. EVERYONE who changes goes through this cycle AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN until their maintenance phase gets longer and longer before they have to rest.


"This still sounds so defeating," you say.


Well- ONLY if you are telling yourself the wrong story about what just happened. Our friend in the story just did an amazing set of reps! She didn't fail. She just built stamina for the marathon of life.


Your past failures are not the story of defeat you may tell yourself. This is not like challenging yourself to a duel where the loser gets shot dead, never to fight again.


This IS a story of getting knocked down. But you are still alive. You still have more in you. Get back up again and take a few more hits before getting knocked down again. You are working magic. Re-wiring and re-building yourself. Then do it again! And again. And next thing you know- you knock your opponent down this time. You get the solid "V"


That is change. That is success.


The next time you feel like a failure, you call that inner voice a liar and you tell it the truth. Even if you only partially believe it. And you remind yourself you aren't through. Maybe you are taking a break, but you have not given up.


Think of me as a personal trainer for your mind and motivation.


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