Whether it is your exercise routine, diet or a certain project, it can be disheartening to feel like you’ve taken 5 steps forward and then 3 steps back.
You see I recently got sick (sore throat, heavy head and runny nose). This meant no lifting weights, running, dancing or cycling for 2 weeks. Nothing.
Up until then I had been a “gym junkie” (my brother’s words, not mine) – exercising 5 to 6 times a week on average to increase my fitness and endorphin levels.
So as you can imagine, 2 weeks off hurt!
In my lethargic state I thought –
“I’ve lost it…all that hard work for nothing. What’s the point? It will take me months to get back to where I was before”.
But then I learnt about “The Tim Tam Philosophy” which entirely changed my way of thinking about the situation.
In the book “Turbocharge your writing”, Hugh Kearns and Maria Gardiner discuss the Tim Tam Philosophy to illustrate what happens to humans when they are on a roll and then they lose their momentum. They state –
“If we use the example of healthy eating – let’s say you decide that you are going to eat healthily now and cut out junk food. And you are going along just fine, then at afternoon tea they have an open packet of Tim Tams on the table. And you think “Oh well, I’ve been going so well, I’ll just have that broken half sitting on the plate”.
But of course once you’ve had that, you have to have another one. Then before you know it you’ve had six…and you think “It’s all ruined now. There’s no point in trying to eat well now” and you eat the rest of the packet. When in reality, even if you had eaten the whole packet you could have said “Well that was a bit of a blip – it’s back to normal now. No more Tim Tams for me”.
Just because you’ve had a little break or a minor slip up doesn’t mean all your efforts have been a waste of time. Tomorrow is a new day and you can choose to behave differently. You need to put what happened behind you (it’s in the past and there’s no point dwelling on it) and take action to move forward in the direction you want to go.
The Tim Tam Philosophy doesn’t just apply to healthy eating but can apply to any area of our lives (e.g. our studies, projects, managing our time better and exercise).
What else can you do to help you to get back on the bandwagon? Below are a few suggestions.
Go gently on yourself
Whether it is a workout at the gym or a project you have lost momentum on, go gently on yourself and ease into the activity. The last thing you want to do is dive straight into the activity in a desperate frenzy.
A couple of ways to ease gently into the task are –
1. Do something you enjoy or the most interesting part first to help lift your spirits and get you into the groove of things.
2. Work in small chunks to begin with. Set your alarm for 8 minutes and tell yourself that all you need to do is work for 8 minutes. If you find that it’s an uphill battle then give yourself permission to take a break when the alarm goes off.
Make it fun
Can you make the activity more enjoyable than it would usually be? Put on some upbeat music? Involve a friend? Go to a location that energises your spirit (a café or a cosy, clean, beautiful environment)?
The first few sessions easing back into the particular activity are often the hardest, so you want to make them as pleasant as possible.
Plan it out – schedule it into your diary
Decide on what you want to do and when you want to do it and then put it in your diary to remind yourself to take action. You may want to do this just for the day or the entire week (e.g. plan out all your meals or exercise classes).
By following the Tim Tam philosophy, I have been to the gym everyday since recovering from my cold. Whilst the workouts haven’t been easy, I’ve been having fun and I’m slowly regaining my fitness and strength.
In what areas of you life (if any) have you fallen off the bandwagon recently? Were there any strategies you used to help you get back on track?