As some of you who follow me on social media already know, I turn 30 in just a few weeks on the last day of March… So back in January I set some BIG goals to feel my best for that big day!
After meeting the love of my life in February of last year, I had a little TOO much fun in 2016… And by that I mean one-too-many nights of one-too-many adult beverages. 😉
I’m a Milwaukee girl through-and-through and I love my craft beer, wine & cocktails… And I come from a very Irish “drinking family.” Having fun with loved ones goes hand-in-hand with drinking… And with that background moderation has always come as a huge challenge to me.
So as 2017 approached my boyfriend & I set a goal to not drink until my birthday, with the exception of a cruise we had booked. It was 11.5 weeks in total… And this past Saturday marked 8.5 weeks in, which I can say I’ve given 100% to!
Saturday night we went on a date to my favorite steak house then a basketball game. I was really wanting some red wine to go with my filet… and I had been SO good up to this point… So I said, “would it be so bad if we just had 2 drinks tonight?”
Well, my sense of moderation completely failed me again. I’ll spare you the gory details, but after WAY more than 2 drinks I spent an entire night and the entire following day sick as can be, paying for my poor choices.
But for me the “punishment” doesn’t end there. I don’t know why some people have this and some don’t- but when I feel I “messed up” I will spend DAYS beating myself up and feeling guilty and ashamed for my actions. These horrible little voices in my head begin chime in, saying things like “I can’t believe you did this again…” or “you’re such a loser, WHEN will you learn?”
While I don’t think I should take my behavior lightly (I should- and did- absolutely learn from this experience!!) I wish I could learn to take a deep breath and just forgive myself.
I always tell my clients: feeling guilty and full of regret for eating too much, drinking too much, missing workouts, etc. DOES NOT CHANGE WHAT HAPPENED.
Living in regret and guilt does not burn those calories back off, or put you in a time machine to go back and make better decisions for yourself. It actually just keeps you in a NEGATIVE STATE… And that doesn’t serve anyone or anything.
Today I knew I had to share this experience. Writing and sharing my up’s and down’s has always been a form of therapy for me… And over the years I’ve come to realize if I am feeling this way, I guarantee there is at least one other person out there who feels the same- and needs to hear this message and know they are not alone.
So while I am still very much a work in progress, here are my Top 4 Tips to Forgive Yourself, Let Go, and Move Forward:
- Visualize a “re-do.” No, we can’t actually go back and re-do things… But I have learned that visualizing a situation and imagining yourself behaving the way you would LIKE to behave can really save you in future situations. Any demons we wrestle with are going to come back up again. Situations where our willpower fails us will test us down the road. If you have been there in your mind already, have already mentally conquered the situation, and have a future game plan mapped out you are WAY more likely to succeed.
- Write it down. People who write their goals down are over 50% more likely to achieve them. So whatever it is that you are working on overcoming, write your goal down- and get as specific as possible! It also helps to jot down your WHY. For example: “I’m doing this to take care of my body, achieve my best health, better my relationships, and gain more self-love and pride in myself.”
- Think kind thoughts. At this point you’ve done all you can do and you have already decided to get back ON the wagon… So good for you! Recognizing behaviors we don’t like in ourselves and committing to do something about them is really a major step toward a better life and your best self… So feel proud of that! Now its time to put this to rest. Feel grateful for yet another learning experience that will serve to make you better person today and tomorrow. Then move toward self-love, thinking kind, positive thoughts about yourself. When those horrible little voices chime in you need to stomp them OUT- and think of things you are proud of, or feel good about.
- Get active! Action equals confidence. Exercise equals endorphins. So get moving and start feeling GOOD again. Never underestimate the power of sweating out negative feelings. Sweat it out and leave it in the past. And just one workout in you can already count yourself BACK on that wagon. 🙂
I hope this helps some of you out there who struggle with this as I do. Never forget: YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAST MISTAKES. You are deserving of love and forgiveness… You are worth it!