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You’ve been doing well making a change, and then something threw a monkey wrench into your formula for success. Make no mistake — setbacks suck. You’re right back where you started. Actually it’s worse. Because you’ve set off that part of your mind that whispers, “See, you can’t do this. Just give up. Give in. It’s not worth even trying.” This is a truly dangerous moment. Because if we listen to this voice, not only do we not change this time, but we decrease the possibility of ever changing because we lose faith in ourselves.
Are you having fun yet? I think of fun in two ways. First there’s the possibility of actually enjoying a new behavior. That’s especially easy when we’ve chosen something potentially fulfilling — learning the two-step, getting to know your new neighborhood, getting the pile of papers off your desk, following your dream of getting a pilot’s license. The more you can find ways to make your new habit fun, the more likely you’ll stick to it. Do it with friends, create a contest with your kids to see who’s better at it, make it into a silly game.
Whatever you are working on, you will not do it perfectly. The trick is not to never goof up, but not to turn goof-ups into give-ups. In order to keep motivated and not give up when you blow it, it’s important that you use what you learn from your tracking — I said I would exercise 30 minutes every day and I haven’t done it once — as information, not as the chance for self-punishment. The more you criticize, blame, shame or guilt-trip yourself, the less well you’ll do.