The Wagon, The Secret and YOU

Fell off the "Wagon"? Let me let you in on a secret…

There is NO wagon.

Sure, we may have changed our fitness and healthy habit routines but we didn’t fall off some elusive wagon. This idea of a “wagon” sets us up to feel guilty or like we did something “bad” when really all we did was make a change to our routines, habits and lifestyle-temporarily. Big deal. Let me tell you more about this.

I'm Busting Myths!

There is a myth when it comes to health and fitness. There is no wagon, no track, no groove, no rails, etc. There is no one single path to achieving your goals. People are led to believe if they aren’t on this “wagon”, “track” or whatever the way then they are failing or have been “bad” in some way. This is simply not true.

The “wagon” is a symbol of perfectionism. So are the other metaphors. We know we are not perfect so why are we reaching for that? The “wagon” mentality promotes the case of the “should”. “I should have done ____”, I should have eaten this instead of this”, I should work out, I should do more than before….

This constant striving stems from an idealized standard. But you are not standard. You are unique and special. So are your life and the way you live it is too. The life we know is complete with struggles and we must navigate them the best we can. Do the best you can and know that your version of best is going to fluctuate and that is 100% a-ok!

We struggle. You Struggle. I struggle. It’s part of the human experience. I’ve always said to clients that the experience of fitness and all the things that come along with it, is not a straight line, it’s up and down and all around. I remind my clients when they feel “bad” or have feelings of guilt or shame for not following their exact program details as planned that no one is 100% consistent 100% of the time. No one. Not even close! How could they be? Not possible.

Struggling is a sign of trying. A sign of living life and working through your experiences. Life has ups and downs and certainly now more than ever during a global pandemic we are adapting. With our adaptations come changes to our routines, habits, behaviors, etc. That’s okay and good! It’s important to adapt, adopt new behaviors that assist you in embracing change and in turn help to build resiliency.

PRO Tips for Building Resiliency

During this unique time in history, it’s more important than ever to lean on your support system, practice gratitude and self-compassion.

Letting go of the idea that you are working with a straight line to your goals is also a good idea to consider. Adopting the idea that dancing with life’s ebbs and flows will help you to embrace alternatives, modifications and maybe even invite in new experiences.

Change isn’t always easy and we can sometimes resist it. We get comfortable with our current lifestyle and it’s easy to allow our healthy habits and routines to be set aside. We can then end up feeling "bad" about it and don't want to feel like we have to explain it to others or be "seen". You never have to explain yourself and you are not alone with these feelings.

During this pandemic, some people have chosen not to or have not been able to exercise and aren’t feeling great about it inside their bodies and with their inner self too. People feel nervous to "start" again. That feeling of starting over. Friends, past clients and some current clients have shared with me they have "fallen off the wagon" (there is no wagon!) and they don't want to be seen, they feel “off” and are scared about getting going again.

My message to you, to everyone, is to meet yourself where you are now. Start where you are now, not where you left off. Offer yourself compassion as you move forward, lean on your support network and know that life’s ups and downs will continue but you get to choose how you navigate them.

Journal Activity

Ask yourself how you can make the best of this time and what choices you can make for yourself that will help you feel your best.

What do you want to feel like on “the other side” of this pandemic? How do you get there? What are the gaps you need to fill? Who can support you?

List all the lessons you are learning through this pandemic.

List the new ways you are learning to do things.

Journal prompt: I am grateful for…

Final tip: remember your dreams and goals are not in self-isolation.

Dust them off, move forward at your pace, celebrate your progress and enjoy the process!

Author note: It’s important to note I am speaking about my personal experiences. I’d like to also recognize my privileges. I identify as cisgender, able-bodied, I was raised middle class, I am college educated, I have thin privilege, have access to health care and insurance, I am in a straight passing relationship and I benefit from being identified as being white.

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