Interruptions in your exercise pattern are normal and expected. Travel, illness, injury and virtually any break in your routine can throw your exercise program off track.
Avoid the "All or Nothing" syndrome:
- If you expect to fully adhere to your exercise program always, you're setting yourself up for a big disappointment. Lapses are normal, get back on track as soon as possible.
Understand the difference between lapse, relapse and collapse:
- Problems arise when you let one lapse lead to another and another in a domino effect. To prevent a relapse, take control during lapses and get back on track ASAP! A lapse is a single slip or deviation from the program.
- Examples include missing a planned exercise session or overeating on comfort foods. A lapse is easily recognized and corrected.
- A relapse is a series of lapses. An example would be to miss exercising for a number of sessions. A relapse is a more serious setback, but a motivated individual can recognize the problem and get back on track. A collapse is the abandonment of all efforts to change lifestyle. The person who sees that he is in a relapse and does nothing will eventually collapse and will basically be back at the starting blocks.
If you do relapse:
Avoid reacting negatively:
- Disappointment, frustration and guilt are the least constructive reactions in response to a relapse. This type of reaction tends to start a pattern of circular thinking that is hard to stop. The guiltier you feel, the more you will avoid the problem. Try to think in more realistic terms such as "I didn't follow my plan in this one particular situation, but I can learn to get it right if I just stick with it".
Learn from the situation:
- Each time you have collapsed in the past can be a learning experience for you. Learn from your past experiences and avoid situations in which your program has collapsed or relapsed. You'll know how to deal with the problem if it comes up again.
Reaffirm your commitment:
- Reaffirm your long-term goals and the reason(s) why you wanted to become more active in the first place. Remind yourself why this is important to you.
Evaluate your action plan:
- If your plan didn't work, evaluate why. If necessary, modify your action plan until you find one that does work for you.
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