You haven’t practiced yoga in a month. Your meditation practice has become sporadic at best. And that vegan diet you were going to maintain all summer? That lasted two days before you dove into that pint of Rocky Road.
It’s bad enough when our good habits go by the wayside because of stress, health or life circumstance – but the guilt that goes along with falling off the healthy habits wagon can be even tougher to deal with than our expanding waistlines. And worse? Getting back on track can be a big challenge when unforgiveness blocks our path.
1. Forgive Yourself
We all fall off the wagon from time to time. This life is a challenge for a reason – because we need to learn in order to grow.
Remind yourself that you are human, and that humans aren’t perfect. Forgive yourself. You can’t move forward and you can’t correct your path until you have taken this very important first step.
2. Show Up
We all experience apathy and resistance, especially when trying to start and maintain healthy habits. Sometimes our ego can even talk us into believing that because something is not easy, you shouldn’t do it.
Meditation is a great way to quiet the monkey mind, but what about when you are feeling resistance to meditating?
In her book Miracles Now, Gabrielle Bernstein dedicates an entire chapter to just showing up. This is fantastic advice. Just show up on your meditation cushion. Don’t think about the future, or about what you will do once you’re sitting in lotus position – just show up.
Are you feeling resistant to going to the gym? Just lace up those sneakers and show up. Feeling like you want to buy several more pints of Rocky Road instead of fresh fruits and veggies? Just show up at your local health food store. Dragging your feet on a work project? Just show up in front of your computer screen. Just showing up is a catalyst toward better habits.
3. Let the Guilt Go
Guilt doesn’t serve you. Period. And if you don’t let it go, it will continue to resurface and may express itself as insomnia, high blood pressure or even depression.
Meditate to let the guilt go so you can move forward with a healthy mindset about your healthy habits.
Start by sitting comfortably and focusing on your breathing.
Then begin to pay attention to your body. Where does the guilt “feel” like it is settled? Do you feel a tightening in your chest? A clenching in your abdomen? An ache in your shoulder?
Once you have identified the physical location of your guilt, breathe into it. Take a deep breath and imagine the breath going into the seat of your guilt. Breathe out the toxic feelings.
Every time you breathe in, imagine the guilt loosening its grip on you. Imagine the physical sensation of release. After 7-10 deep breaths, you should feel the guilt easing.
Falling off the wagon of healthy habits is nothing to be ashamed of. Forgive yourself, just show up and let the guilt go. You can always get back on the wagon!