I Fell Off The Wagon, Now What?

Let’s make this clear from the outset…I’m not writing this post to you. Nope, not in the least. I’m writing it for your friend. You know, the one you’re always having to ask questions for. That friend who just can’t seem to get it together. Poor guy or gal…they’re just a shining example of how not to do it. C’mon, you know the friend. The one who makes you ask, “What time is too early to start drinking wine when the kids are being little jerks? Asking for a friend…”

So we’ll all just agree that I’m writing this for your friend. In no way is it aimed at you (or even me, for that matter).

It’s mid-February folks. We’ve been at this whole 2017 thing for six weeks now. If you’re like me you started off the year all shiny and excited. Ready to tackle the new year with gusto. You might’ve even read my post about making changes that last and then read why new year’s resolutions fail. If you didn’t, take a second to get up to speed, I’ll wait…

Hey, you’re back!

So what do you think? Did you start the year off right and prepare yourself for success? Are you knocking it out of the park, meeting all your goals and fulfilling your expectations. If you are, I sincerely applaud you (despite the fact that I’m grousing about you when you’re not around as one of those successful people). Really, I do applaud you, because despite sounding so eloquent in those two posts, I’m facing disappointments from January yet again .

It’s not so much that I set resolutions that I didn’t stick to. I took the time and set some S.M.A.R.T. targets. I even called them targets so that my friend Andrew wouldn’t whine about my calling them “goals”. Everything on the list was doable and measurable.

Yet, I’ve got a fistful of fails among the successes. And I’m frustrated by it. January was a mixed-bag for me, and I’m trying to figure out why.

Let’s use an example close to all of us…this blog. I had an awesome editorial calendar lined up for January. In mid-November I put together a list of the things that I wanted to write about as 2016 came to a close and 2017 dawned. It was a well-conceived list of topics that fit together. Not only were they timely, but they were going to act as the foundation for the rest of the blog posts throughout 2017. We were going to take a journey through 2017 together and end up so much better than how we started.

And then real life happened. I had a planned knee surgery on December 30th. I’d known about it for weeks, so I thought I’d accounted for it in my editorial calendar. But I planned to do too much and under-prepared. The surgery went well and then I started physical therapy. What I didn’t account for was the sheer effort required during the four weeks of physical therapy. I would go to PT for 30 minutes, twice a week. And each time I left I was exhausted! So exhausted I couldn’t move…or think. The worst part was, I couldn’t get my act together even after I recognized the problem of exhaustion at the end of the first week. Did I set myself up for success the night before rehab by setting out things to read or do while I was sitting down icing my knee? Nope. Did I prepare for the fact that I would be able to do a lot less after PT? Nope. I kept acting like I was suddenly going to turn into Superman and be able to do everything that I normally did.

And that led to setbacks and frustration. I would berate myself for not preparing and try to power through the situation. And eventually I’d collapse on the couch exhausted from over-exertion. I wouldn’t face the fact I have limits.

The biggest hit was to my writing, especially for the blog. Since I didn’t appropriately plan, I’d get behind in other things. Stuff that had hard deadlines. Things that had to be done at specific times or days. And those things took precedence. The blog languished. Then I’d get mad because I wasn’t writing. And that wouldn’t help the cause. Can you say “death spiral”?

Then my Mom (of all people) pointed out that I hadn’t posted in a while. She told me that she checks the blog every day and that she was getting tired of doing that with nothing to read. It’s pretty bad when your 80+ year old Mom is nagging you about your blog. Talk about boarding the guilt train!

So what did I do? The same thing that every introverted, self-reflecting, nerd does…I went to the internet and started researching what to do when I fell off the wagon.

Let’s face it, the gyms are emptying out and lots of folks are scratching their heads on ways to reset and restart. And I’m absolutely in that camp (not the gym camp, but the reset and restart camp). There were dozens of articles about the problem, especially related to exercise and dieting. And lists. OMG there are tons of lists out there to help you reset and restart.

But after thinking about it for a while, a list makes a lot of sense in this case. What I had tried didn’t work. The real reason doesn’t matter. It’s just a fact…some things worked and some didn’t. That’s life. The point is that the entire year hasn’t been lost. Shoot, we’re still at the very start of 2017. So I’ve got a list that you can use to reset and restart. And the best part of this list…the part that sets it apart from all the others you might find…it’s got Music Videos!

  • Shake It Off

    • Seriously, what’s done is done. You can fret all you want about the plans that you had and worry about what you should’ve done. You can whine and moan about what a failure you are. If that works for you, do it. But then, Shake It Off! You’ve got to move on, so click play on the video, stand up, and dance a little bit. Get the blood moving
  • What Do You Want?

    • So you’ve accepted that the past is the past. So what do you want to do? I mean, what do you really want to do. Think about it. Take some time if you need to. Make a list if that’s your thing. But figure out what’s important to you for the remainder of 2017. The things that will make a difference in your life.
  • Pick One Thing

    • Now look at that long list you created. You can’t do it all today, and you might not be able to do all of it this year. So pick one. Just One. That’s the one you’re going to work on. It can be the most important. It can be the easiest. It can be the one that has been bugging you the longest. It could be the best idea of the bunch. Or the worst. It doesn’t really matter. Just pick one.
  • Don’t Underestimate The Work

    • Next you’ve got to face that this isn’t going to be a cake-walk. Life is going to get in the way. You’re going to have challenges. Some days you won’t want to work on the one thing you picked. The point is, if you work on it more days than you don’t, you’re going to make progress. Sure, it’ll be a little bit at a time…but progress is progress, no matter how slow.
  • Get A Wingman

    • Don’t try to do this alone. The temptation is there, but let’s be honest. You can fool yourself. If you let yourself down, well, it’s just you. You’ll find excuses. And no matter how dedicated you are, that hard work, life getting in the way, and all the rest will be tough to handle alone. But if you get somebody to join you on the journey you’ll have somebody you have to fess up to when you’re ready to quit. So find somebody and drag them into this. It might be kicking and screaming, but remember…the journey is better if somebody else is there to have your back and nag you when you need it.
  • Be Brave And Just Start…Today!

    • Oh, and don’t wait to start. Don’t hold off until next Monday. Don’t think that you should wait until the beginning of next month. Seriously, what’s magical about calendar dates? Nothing. We fool ourselves into these little bits of procrastination. We wait a bit and then we don’t start. Wait a bit more and after a few more weeks the entire idea seems dumb. Then we never start. So be brave. Start today. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month. Today dang it!

Whaddya say? Are you willing to give it a shot? Do you really want to get moving and be somewhere different in December than you are today? Then you’ve got to start. Start right where you are. Take ownership for what’s already happened, but don’t beat yourself up.

For once, I’m taking my own advice. I’m assessing what happened and where I want to go. Then I’m starting small and building from there.

It might not be easy…but it’s necessary!