Getting Off Track, and Getting Back On

Hello dear readers! In February/March (!), I suddenly stopped posting on this blog, on Instagram and on my new-and-exciting business Facebook page.

Momentum! And then suddenly nothing :/

My life got a little more complicated than usual, and I let my online presence slide. Although I’m confident that no one here depended on me for entertainment or enlightenment :), simply disappearing was rude and unprofessional, and I apologize. I hope you will bear with me as I catch up and move forward.

It occurs to me that this experience has been very much like other ways of getting off track, like skipping an exercise class for weeks, getting out of the habit of meditating, or like one of my clients, resorting to takeout food day after day after moving and starting a new job.

Unexpected things happen in life … for me it was a time-intensive temporary assignment (translating a book about glaucoma treatment in Latin America into English, nerdy fun for me!), and then, sadly, the illness of our beloved cat Orange, who passed away on May 1.

The heat lamp seemed to help keep him comfortable as he battled cancer.

Yeah, today is August 6. I turned in the book project on April 23.

Hmmm.

The longer I’ve let something slide, the harder it is to jump back in. I have to start all over again building the habit (which feels like an unpleasant climb up a steep cliff). I’m also getting subtle failure-messages from a subconscious voice: “See, you couldn’t do it!” And finally, it’s just plain embarrassing to come back here and admit that I procrastinated for three months (I’ll give myself credit for April, when I truly had reasons to be sidetracked).

Even as I write these words, a little procrastination elf is running wild inside me, waving its arms and shouting. There’s a lot of laundry to do! The car is covered in bird poop! You need to write those thank-you notes that you’ve put off even longer than the blog! (oops)

But here I am. I’m finally doing it. And I’m doing it (rather than the so-tempting laundry) because I keep bringing my wandering mind back to my “why.”

Wash me!!

Blogging right now is worth the discomfort/embarrassment/driving a bird-poopy car for another day, because:

  • I’m excited about the topics I want to share, and I think they will be useful to others. I just counted the list I keep on my phone — 108 potential topics! (one down, 107 to go!)
  • If I provide useful content here, it not only may benefit readers directly, but also help expand my coaching practice, so I can do work I love and serve more people.

Good enough reasons to put my head down and finish this post. And seriously block off time every week to keep it going.

Have you been off track with something? If so, what is the powerful “why” that can bring you back?

With these reflections, something I have heard before makes even more sense to me now:

The best predictor of your success is not which eating plan you choose, or what kind of exercise you do, or how brilliant your business plan is.

It’s what you do when you get off track.

Do you believe the internal voice saying “I knew that wouldn’t work”? Do you procrastinate, like me, because it always seems that resuming will be easier tomorrow, or next week?

Here are some strategies to try (I’ve been off track in many ways over the years, and I find that for me, it takes ALL of them combined):

  • Focus on your positive “why” (get healthy and strong! be able to travel and hike and dance and play! send your ideas out into the world and see if they can have an impact!)
  • Practice self-compassion. Think of the understanding and encouragement you would extend to a friend whose last “weekly” blog post was on February 15 (arggh!). “Don’t worry; you can do it; jump back in; it’s OK; people will understand!”
  • Give yourself permission to start really small. This blog post is not complicated — I can publish it today. For other kinds of goals, maybe eat just one extra vegetable today, or take a 10-minute walk.
  • Make getting back on track as easy as possible. Get off-plan food out of the pantry; put your walking shoes by the door. I cleared out the whole day today for writing.
  • Link your identity to your chosen path. Who we are is not determined by our past — it evolves and changes. I can even become a Person Who Regularly Writes Thank-You Notes! I’m stubbornly clinging to my identity as a blogger. Hey, self-doubting voice: this is who I am, and this is what I do, so even if I have skipped it for longer than I did it in the first place, I have no doubt that I will eventually come back.
  • If a previous strategy just didn’t fit into your life (you didn’t enjoy it, or it didn’t seem to make a difference to your well-being or your progress), keep trying other strategies until something works. I regularly listen to the inspiring words of a certain animated gazelle, who reminds me to “Try Everything” and not give up.

I’m a health coach (fortunately, I did continue coaching wonderful and inspiring clients during all these months!). And I’m (still) a blogger.

“I won’t give up, no I won’t give in, ’til I reach the end, then I’ll start again. No, I won’t leave, I wanna try everything, I wanna try even though I could fail.”

See you next week!

Written by Patricia Linderman

After turning fierce and losing 43 pounds at age 53, I now help people break through barriers and bring out their healthiest, strongest selves, as a certified health coach and personal trainer.

7 comments

  1. Ah, great to see you back! I can relate, especially after finishing a PhD. Lets just say that I do my best work when the pressure is on. Not much weight loss here on my end but, I haven’t gained any either. Thanks for starting again.

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    1. Hi Mandy, thanks so much for your kind comment, and congratulations on the PhD and the weight maintenance (a noteworthy accomplishment in itself). It’s so nice to be back and to find compassionate people like you here!

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  2. Welcome back, we miss you !!!
    I still training, and feel fabulous 💪🏻💪🏻 Same weigh, but more energy 🙌🏼🙌🏼

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    1. That’s wonderful, Vivi, well done!!! It’s all about how you feel and what you can do every day. I’m sure you’ve also built some muscle with your training! Keep up the great work, and thanks for your kind words! I miss you too!

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  3. I love this encouraging post and love that you’re getting back at it! You ARE a blogger, and a great one at that!

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