The promises we don't keep

Published on August 15, 2014

How many times have you sat there and promised yourself that you would never eat poorly again? Never quit your fitness routine? Never return to your old ways?

We love to set ourselves up for failure; but striving for perfection is a losing battle.  When you make promises that are unrealistic, chances are you’ll end up being disappointed.

 It’s nonsense to believe that you will never eat something “bad” again or that you will never skip a workout.

It’s nonsense to think that you will drop 20 pounds in a month, when it took you over a year to put that weight on. Every time we make a promise to ourselves in the desire to obtain “perfection”, we chip away at our self- worth. We get mad at ourselves if we have a treat, we feel guilty if we don’t go to the gym, and we get frustrated when the scale doesn’t move in the right direction.

“I failed again”, that’s the assumption we make when things don’t go as planned.

 What if you stopped lying to yourself? What if you stopped making and breaking promises to yourself? What if you started being logical and accepted the fact that there will be ice cream, there will be lazy days, there will be set backs.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear Col. Chris Hatfield speak he said something that resonated with me “prepare for failure”. I sat there in my chair and pondered this for a long time. “Prepare for failure”, what a brilliant idea. What if you went into the rest of life preparing for failure?  I know, you’re likely saying “why would I want to do that?” well here’s why. When you prepare for failure, it does not mean that you want to fail, it means that you are prepared if something doesn’t go your way. An astronaut does not go into space expecting the worst but he is trained and prepared if disaster strikes. And that’s how we must go about our quest for health.

 We do not start a healthy eating and fitness plan in hopes of failing but if we veer off track, wouldn’t it be reassuring to know that we have a back-up plan in place? Rather than quit, what if we relied on our back up plan, the plan made from the beginning, the plan  ready to use if everything goes array.  What will your plan be? It’s time to put one into writing and have it on stand -by should you need it.

 This plan will prepare you for what to do after a late night binge, an illness, an injury, a blah day. This plan will remind you that you did not fail; you simply hit a bump on the road. This plan allows you to get back into the swing of things without any guilt. You knew this day may or not happen, but you were prepared and this time you will react positively not negatively. No more broken promises.

- Lori Atta is a personal trainer at the Pictou County YMCA. She also has a page on Facebook about health, fitness and weight loss called Face the Mirror. After struggling with obesity for 25+ years, Lori changed her focus and lost over 100 pounds and has been committed to promoting health.