How do you define and respond to failure?
As I reflect on the year gone this topic keeps coming to the surface
It is crucial, as it is a 100% given that we are not going to succeed at everything we do.
If you have achieved absolutely everything you wanted to do in 2016 then congrats and please drop me a line and tell me how you did it!!
However, in my experience It’s not always going to go to plan.
So how we choose to interpret and deal with those setbacks is so important in maintaining and building our self-esteem and confidence.
Some get so crippled by the fear of failing (or maybe it’s the fear of success?) that they feel massive resistance to even making a plan to achieve something; I know because I have been there!
And yes your automatic response to falling short of a goal may be ‘I’m a failure’ ‘what are others going to think of me’ ‘what’s the point in trying’ ‘nothing I ever do works’ ‘it’s not fair’ ‘it’s not my fault’ … insert any other unhelpful thought/excuse…!
This response may be so hardwired into you that the possibility of responding differently and feeling positive about failure may seem impossible. It’s not.
Remember that it is only your automatic response because you have probably been responding like this for a very long time and you were probably even taught to respond like this (hopefully not deliberately!).
It does not mean that your response and feeling cannot be changed and yes it can take a bit of effort.
Let’s remember that a thought is just a thought, you can choose the meaning.
You do have the power to change the story that you tell yourself.
You can change perspective
So how about this….
Understand that failing has just given you another way of how not to do it… which brings you one step closer to doing it a better way!
Find 3 positives for every 1 area you need to work on in everything you do. Crucial for maintaining your house of confidence.
Congratulate yourself on the efforts you did make.
Once you have taken the learnings from the situation then ACCEPT that what has happened has happened, take a deep breath and make a new better plan, using what you have learnt.
You have the power to make different choices next time.
Can you wait 15 minutes?
Along with fourteen million others, I watched the final of the Great British Bake Off last week, drooling over the amazing baked delights prepared by the contestants.
I’m not the biggest cookery programme fan but whenever I watch these programmes I tend to feel hungry. Even if I’m not really hungry! I crave the foods that are being displayed, wishing I could tuck in to the unhealthy sweet, fatty, salty foods on offer – all of those things we should be limiting!
Temptation is all around us!
The TV – both programmes and advertising is just one form of food temptation that we face each day. Snacks kept at home, cakes in the office, supermarket deals, smells from food shops and many more external temptations are put in our path each day making it difficult to stay on the healthy eating track.
A strategy is needed to overcome these temptations and ensure that we stay empowered in making choices that keep us healthy.
Avoid if you can…
Psychologists say that the first course of action to deal with these external triggers is to avoid the temptation altogether. Last week, I could have just not watched the Bake Off, so no temptation, easy to stay on track. But I like the programme and wanted to know who the winner would be!
When the temptation built so much that I actually went to scan my cupboards for some unhealthy “treat” to devour, there was nothing there! I inadvertently had avoided the temptation, so had a drink instead and woke up the next day without an additional 200-400Kcal being consumed!
What are your biggest external triggers to eating?
Whilst avoiding the triggers is a successful course of action, it is not always possible. Many of our clients say that either snacking in the evening or being around “treats” at work are the biggest external triggers they need to deal with. You can’t not go to work and perhaps you have others at home that demand the “treats” stay. Temptation calls…
Additional strategies psychologists suggest to deal with the external triggers are to distract yourself to take your mind off it – maybe go for a walk, read a book, go on your phone, do some cleaning, etc. Or to try resistance training where you gradually build up the amount of time you can resist the temptation.
Can you wait 15 minutes?
Here is a challenge for you this week: When you feel that temptation to indulge in unhealthy snacking coming on, rather than doing so, have a drink of water and do something to take your mind off the temptation for 15 minutes.
If your willpower needs work, start at 5 or 10 minutes. If your willpower muscles are feeling strong, after the first 15 minute stint, if you still feel the temptation, repeat the process again and maybe opt for a healthy snack instead.
Are you up for the challenge?
If you are, before you do so, spend a few minutes to write down your most important reasons why you want to live a healthier life. If these reasons are strong enough, the power to resist the unhealthy “treats” will be greater.
By the way, I probably will be watching the Bake Off next year, and no, I definitely will not be keeping any unhealthy “treats” in my cupboards whilst doing so!
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