Here’s the normal evolution of deciding to start a new project or routine: spark of inspiration, excess energy, planning, charging full-force ahead, action, action, action, slowed action, lack of motivation, burnout, exhaustion, inaction, guilt.
Maybe you read an article about the harmful effects of a high-sugar diet, so you vow not to eat dessert of any kind for a solid month. But then on day 20, you slip up and eat a slice of cake at your mom’s birthday dinner and feel horrible about it.
Or perhaps you’re determined that, this time around, you’re definitely going to stick to an exercise routine. So you set your alarm to wake you up at 6:00am every single day to go for a run. Except by the middle of week two, you miserably hit “snooze” eight times and can’t remember why you ever wanted to run in the first place.
When you fall out of a routine (nutrition, exercise, meditation, budget, work goals, etc.), it’s natural to be hard on yourself and want to throw your hands up. But self-judgment and guilt aren’t going to motivate you to get back on track — at least not in a healthy, sustainable way.
While these periods of low energy are completely normal, they don’t have to leave you feeling frustrated and guilty. Instead of seeing these situations as “failures,” what if you viewed your waning interest as an opportunity to reexamine the ultimate goal and see if your path needs tweaking?
If you “screw up” your exercise plan by sleeping through your alarm clock more mornings than you actually get up, use that as an chance to fine-tune your big-picture goal. Check in with yourself and ask, “Why is exercising so important to me, anyway?”
Once you’ve gotten back in touch with your reason for wanting to be healthy, ask, “What’s another way to reach this goal that will feel more fun or authentic?” Maybe getting up at the crack of dawn to go jogging isn’t sustainable for you — and that’s perfectly fine! You might find yoga or belly dancing or swimming more enjoyable, while still moving you toward your fitness goal. Or maybe running three mornings a week instead of every day is a more realistic goal, given your schedule.
Now we want to hear from you: What routines do you have a hard time sticking to? How can you use your burnout moments to shift your plan into something more fun or realistic? Let us know in the comments below!
Kristen & Rachel