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Nobody's perfect. (Big shocker, right?) So why do we beat ourselves up so much for making mistakes, especially when it comes to weight loss? It’s a good question, and one we're learning to answer with self-compassion, reality checks, and other ways of shifting our mindsets. Forget perfection. Forget even aiming for it.. It's far more helpful to anticipate setbacks—even little ones—and plan to learn from them. Being able to forgive ourselves and accept our mis-steps is a valuable part of the journey, and crucial to long-term success.
When a setback means success
In the aftermath of a missed meeting or two, or overdoing it at a girls' night out, you might feel like you've failed. Nope, not for even a minute, says Kyra Bobinet, MD, MPH. She's a behaviour-change expert who harnesses neuroscience to guide actions that promote well-being. As you'll see in your Weekly, Dr. Bobinet, the author of Well Designed Life, points out that what you might think of as a lapse is actually a sign of success. That's because you're reverting to an old, not-so-helpful behaviour that used to be business as usual for you; the fact that now you see it as a step backward shows your progress in adopting new behaviours.
Get your head in the right place
You've probably heard this one: “There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback.” This powerful quote reminds us that every setback gives us valuable insights. A slip-up can leave you feeling ashamed, and even stuck. So practice being kind to yourself—the more you do it, the easier and more naturally self-compassion will come. Then turn your unhelpful thoughts around by giving them a reality check (Is my thought a fact? Is it something I'd say to a friend?), and coming up with a more realistic, helpful thought instead.
Look, listen, learn
Recognize that every slip-up is a learning experience, showing you what not to do—and what you might do instead. If, for instance, you find that the scale’s not budging, it could be because you’ve slipped on tracking, or portioning. Mentally put yourself back into a time you were rocking the plan. What were you doing then? Take it from there.
Does it feel like your motivation is dribbling our (and let's face it, this time of year can be challenging—not quite winter, not quite spring), give yourself a jolt of something fresh and new.t It can help you come roaring back to your plan with your mojo renewed. When you’re back in the groove, think about the circumstances that led to the slip-up. How can your tools, like the app help you avoid it in the future?