Getting back in the zone
It’s February. Are you still “In Your Equation,” or do you need a restart? Let’s get it!
Not only did January speed right by, but so many people I’ve talked to recently are struggling with sickness, depression and/or the winter blues, and are feeling “off their game” already in 2017. If you’re in this camp, trust me, you’re not alone.
It’s common to start strong and be in your healthy zone — where you’re feeling great and you have the motivation mojo — only to have life throw a curve ball that gets you a bit off track, if not totally out of the zone. I’m feeling it, too.
An early January vacation to Cozumel (which was totally awesome) threw me a bit off my healthy routine at the start of the New Year. Then I came home and promptly got that awful bronchial crud (there are some nasty cold/flu viruses going around), followed by a case of the post-inauguration blues. Before I knew it, January was gone and I had slipped out of my healthy zone.
Whatever the reason, if you’re feeling a bit “off” or are having trouble getting your mojo back, this blog is for you — and me. It’s time to stop making excuses, stop beating yourself up or trying to make sense of what happened and just RESTART. Get ready to go ALL-IN, cause here we go!
When it comes to the RESTART, it’s important to be positive and affirmative and not beat yourself up. Every time I restart, I tell myself that I’ve been in this place before and been successful, I know the way. That’s a gift. I’ve learned NOT to beat myself up or get stuck in excuse mode when I fall off the healthy bandwagon. Neither serves me when I’m trying to get back on track.
Life happens. Often, we’re doing great and living with the healthiest of habits, then we slip or get off track. Sometimes it starts to feel like a slippery slope and our healthy habits begin to elude us. Other times it just feels a little off or sloppy around the edges. And sometimes, we’re just taking a break because we need to practice a different kind of self-care — like when we’re sick and can’t exercise.
It really doesn’t matter how or why we got off track, the key to the restart is to be positive in your focus. Often this starts with knowing that you’re not alone. Rather, you’re a human being and we’re messy and flawed by nature! When you accept that you are perfectly imperfect and you will indeed lose your way from time to time, it’s easier to restart. Instead of expecting perfection, use the restart as a positive and affirming way to show yourself what you’re made of. I often say to myself — “Today you’re going to make yourself proud!”
So if you’ve slipped out of your “healthy” zone in January for any reason, NOW is your time. Pick yourself up and join me in going 100% all-in. Know that indeed you can do this. And, let’s get it!
Know YOUR healthy zone & non-negotiables
We’re not all built the same (mentally, emotionally or physically). Our definitions of “healthy” are likely not the same and certainly our goals are different. As is our motivating “why.” So while I can offer tips for getting back on track because I’ve been there a million times and learned how to self-motivate and set myself up for success. What I can’t tell you is what constitutes healthy or “being in the zone” for you.
Knowing yourself, getting clear about what YOU want and why, and defining what success looks and feels like to YOU is important. A successful start or restart can only be successful if you are clear in defining what you want and what that looks like.
So the first step to getting back on track is to be very clear and intentional about YOUR goal, what being in YOUR healthy zone looks and feels like, and reconnecting to your motivating “why.” Then you must believe you can do it! If you doubt yourself or let past mistakes or failures stop you, you’re likely doomed before you even begin.
A RESTART begins with a positive and affirmative statement with clarity — about what living healthy and in the zone looks like for you. About what you’re committed to. I write my short list of non-negotiables for living in the healthy zone in my journal and review it until the list becomes my healthy habits and way of life.
For me, living in the healthy zone means proactively and consistently practicing healthy habits that foster a healthy mind, body and spirit. It means being in the equation of my own life and taking care of my needs. It means feeling healthy, happy and whole. It means climbing mountains. Challenging myself and saying YES! to life, not holding back. And it means seeking new opportunities, new adventures and experiences, and meeting new people. Specifically, my non-negotiables are: 1) A morning ritual — mindfulness practice & grounding with self/Universe; 2) Eating healthy 90+% (as defined by me); 3) Daily movement & consistent exercise 5x; 4) Sleep 6-8 hours per night; 5) Work no more than 6 days per week; 6) Feed my spirit with fun, play and adventure — things that challenge me mentally and physically.
Now, what’s your healthy zone look and feel like? What are your non-negotiables? A successful restart starts with clarity, followed by a commitment to go ALL-IN, and a belief that you CAN do it. You set yourself up for success by writing it down and getting really clear about how you will get there.
For me, it also means I have to drop the excuses and the cheating around the edges and really commit — that’s what I mean by ALL-IN. My personality is such that going public with my intention and re-upping my commitment to stay on track is key to my success.
I also KNOW that I feel better and live better when I am 100% all-in and living in my healthy zone consistently. I’ve had enough experience to know that the RESTART is my gift. I don’t beat myself up at all for losing 2-3 weeks in January due to a winter vacation, the bronchial crud and getting off my game. I just restart.
My personal challenge this month is to make sure I am committing to my morning ritual where I get up early enough to take time for me at the start of every single day. That ranges from a minimum of 10 minutes to practice mindfulness and connect to my higher self, to 1.5 hours of time for a longer mindfulness practice, a great workout and a healthy breakfast. Then I am ready to roll and likely much more successful throughout my day. When I got sick, I needed sleep so I slept in and skipped the morning ritual. That’s how I gradually slipped out of my daily routine and out of what I call my zone. So that morning ritual has has become a non-negotiable. And back on track we go!
What areas have you slipped or need to re-focus? And are you using excuses to stay stuck? If you are your human, so just ditch em. We’ve got this!
Five Tips for Getting Back in the Healthy Zone
1) Stop beating yourself and feeling bad. Yep, get over it!
This one is a two-part tip. First, stop feeling bad, wallowing, reliving or beating yourself up for getting off track. The why or how doesn’t matter as much as what you do next. So yes, just get over it!
It happened. You’re human and therefore NOT perfect. You will screw up or get pulled off track from time to time. It’s okay. It really is, okay. We ALL do. So start here and now, and know that the key to success toward any goal is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and as quickly as possible move on. When you start from this premise, instead of expecting perfection and wallowing, you more quickly focus on the moving on part and waste less time and energy on the negative, aka feeling bad about it.
Many people get stuck or stalled right here. I get it. This was me for so many years. I’d have limited success, then usually it would scare the crap out of me so I’d get off track, screw up or just falter, and then I’d beat myself into the ground convinced my slip or fall was evidence I couldn’t to it. Trust me, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It keeps you stuck and feeling bad.
The great news is that with practice you can change that. I’ve learned to give up the wallow and the victim-hood. I know it’s my inner critic coming out to play and it’s usually attached to fear, shame or a worthiness issue that needs my attention.
So now, instead of wallowing, I’m able to accept that I am imperfect and sometimes stuff happens to get me off track. I remind myself that I can do it and I have successfully restarted before. It’s so much easier to move forward in a positive and focused way, so I spend little if any time on why something happened and more time on what I am going to do about it.
The key to my success in weight loss and in life is almost always how quickly, adeptly and confidently I get back on track and just move forward toward my goal. This is a mindset shift (stemming from self-love and acceptance) and a skill that I had to develop over time because for so long. It did not come natural and was not my first instinct. Those Gremlin voices were loud. If you can relate to this one, I promise you that you can change it. And when you do, a whole new world of self-confidence and possibilities open up.
2) Get focused & intentional. Believe you can.
It might sound obvious, but all too often we get stuck wallowing (see tip 1) and/or we’re not clear about we what we want and how we’ll get there. Sometimes we’re clear on the outside but our subconscious mind and internal critic is still saying we’ll eventually fail.
Take at least 10 minutes and think about and write down what your healthy looks and feels like — what do you want to achieve and your WHY? How will you know when you’re in the zone? Then, write it out. Write at least a few non-negotiables to get you there. Then go ALL-IN on that list, believing that you can and will do it. This is an important reset for your mind and gets you started on the restart set up for success.
3) Plan. Plan Ahead. All too often people make lists of goals and plans, but don’t think through the HOW they will be successful. What has to change in your environment, your schedule or life in general to set you up for success? When it comes to healthy eating, exercise and down time for self-care, we need a plan. Otherwise, life gets busy and our old unhealthy habits kick in and we end up blowing it off. This is how we get off track. So as simple as it sounds — the planning ahead part is key.
Do what works for you once you have your non-negotiable list. Make time in your calendar. Set aside time for meal planning and prep in a away that is doable. Invite a friend to walk or go the gym with you if you know you will struggle with accountability. Set your alarm and get up earlier to sit quietly with your coffee and reflect and be intentional about your day. Get that workout in first thing before you begin your work day. These are just ideas. Do what works best for you in the Plan Ahead category. The key is to plan and then do!
4) Just do it! Do it at least 3x consistently.
The “DO” brings me to tip #4. I have a confession to make and it proves that I’m not perfect. My confession: I wrote this blog with the intention of publishing it and RESTARTING last Wednesday, Feb. 1st. But I wouldn’t allow myself to publish the blog until I accomplished two key things on my restart non-negotiable list: 1) Get back to my healthy routine of getting up at 6 am, not 7 am, and practicing my morning mindfulness ritual; 2) Being 3x consistent with my fav Metabolic Aftershock workout.
These were the two things that caused me to slip our of my healthy zone when when I got sick in January and I had a hard time getting that mojo back. So, while I had great intentions of restarting last week, it took until the weekend and today for me to “get it,” get it 3x and get 100% back in the zone.
Why the confession? Because it’s directly related to this tip. I have found that it takes me at least 3x to restart a successful habit that I had and lost. It takes 3x or 3+days before it starts to feel like it’s part of my healthy routine again and I’m back in the zone. Try it. Try 3x and see if you feel better and it comes more naturally again.
This is not necessarily true for a NEW habit. If you’re starting something new for the first time trying to build a new healthier habit, it will likely take 21-27x (or longer) to build a NEW habit. I’m taking here about a healthy restart once you already know — I can do this, I feel better and am better when I do this, and I need/want to get back in the zone.
5) Accountability and Support. Ask yourself how you will track your progress and hold yourself accountable — especially in the beginning of the restart where you might need additional accountability and support to get back in the habit of self-care.
I find that if I “go public” in a blog and tell my friends, it’s easier for me to stay on track and stay accountable both to myself and others. That works for me. It might not work for you. Also, I track my food and exercise daily in my online app until I feel the mojo kick back in and it becomes habit. Then, I know it and do it on auto pilot. Another strategy that works for me is inviting friends to walk or workout when I am in a restart. I am much more likely to do it when I have someone to join me and it helps with accountability. This is how I am built and I’ve learned over time what works for me.
What works for you to hold yourself accountable and build in ongoing support?
In the five years since I’ve maintained my healthy Lori-in-the-equation lifestyle and -200 lb weight-loss, I’ve written numerous blogs about the restart. I’ve practiced with what works for me and in the process learned, grown and evolved my thinking. It takes consistent practice and self-awareness — and that comes over time. I am not perfect, but I know the way! And it’s working.
My best advice is to be gentle and compassionate with yourself if you got off track for any reason in January. It’s okay. You’re okay. And you can do this. Join me in a self-loving RESTART and get back in your healthy zone. I’d love to hear if any of this was helpful and/or how you’re doing.
Cheers! Oh, and we’ve got this!
Read more of my blogs on the successful restart:
- Operation Reboot! & tips for a successful restart (Nov. 2015)
- Time to restart (Aug. 2015)
- Solstice: A time to restart & let go of what no longer serves us (June 2016)
- 7 tips for keeping your motivation mojo (Jan. 2017)
- Staying in the equation when the going gets tough (Feb. 2016)
- When in doubt, take it to the mountain (Sept. 2016)
- An epiphany on my mountain (Oct. 2015)
- The Post-it Note Plan #intheequation (Aug. 2016)
- The emotional side of the journey can make or break you (July 2016)
- A proud salad-makin, meal preppin machine (June 2016)
- Meal prep. Works for me! 7 tips to keep you on track (Oct. 2015)
- Pursuing our goals without attaching worthiness (Nov. 2014)