This won’t be the first time. So how will you make it different THIS time? That’s a key answer I require from all of my prospective clients about their goals as part of their intake form. As a personal trainer and nutrition coach it’s my job to ask the hard questions. I mean, this is America. Somebody has to. Right?

Photo Credit: Alexander Dummer

Here in the western hemisphere we’ve been well conditioned to be productive. Get busy. Stay busy. And above all else, reach… No. EXCEED your goals or risk failure. In fitness, there’s a special brand of negativity tied up in that word failure: sadness, embarrassment, shame, guilt, fear. And as counter-intuitive as it sounds, we tend to be even harder on ourselves when we get derailed due to circumstances we can’t control. We LOVE control because it makes us feel safe.

“I should be resilient,” you say to yourself. “Control it before it controls me!” Sure. That’s what you’ve been trained to do. Forge ahead and get sh*t done! On yesterday’s timeline! But sometimes life throws us disruptions that make even day-to-day planning a challenge. Sometimes we have exactly ZERO control, and we are forced to stop and steep in our discomfort. I’m the first to say that I ADORE control. I’m the Rainman when it comes to schedules, predictability and order. So I get it. Big time.

However, as a fitness coach it is my job to lead people into discomfort. It’s my job to remind you that it’s OK, nay essential to feel uncomfortable. Because that’s where growth happens. But what happens when in the midst of this lifestyle discomfort, a greater life-encompassing event shakes your very existence to the core? You lose your job. Your house catches fire. Someone close to you dies or gets sick. What then?

Photo Credit: Thuanny Gantuss

I say be kind. Understand that as a human there is a lot of adjustment taking place and you need time and space. You need to find yourself, sit with yourself and just pause. Pause the workouts. Pause the food rules. Pause the expectations around all of it. And just be. Be present in each moment and embrace it for all that it is. The good and the bad. For as long as it takes.

And when you’re ready to look forward toward your goals again, continue that kindness. Take things at your own pace and try not to use force. So what if on Monday you said you’d work out Wednesday and now it’s Wednesday and it didn’t happen. It’s OK. Feel that feeling and let it go. Then continue to move forward. Eat a vegetable, drink a glass of water, get to bed an hour earlier. Whatever achievable thing you can manage to do next. Do it. Even if it’s not linear, or logical or laid out in a way that makes sense. These small things added up over time create a sustainable momentum that will be easier and easier to maintain.

Photo Credit: Adrianna Calvo

The key is to meet yourself where you are and then keep going. Even the smallest steps in the right direction will get you to your destination.

What life-changing events have disrupted your life? How did you handle it?

Feeling ready to get back on track but need some help? Let’s do it!