One unhealthy meal, a couple of missed exercise sessions, that entire month you went without checking your blood glucose. No, it doesn’t mean that all of your hard work has been for nothing. Everyone has little lapses in healthy habits. What’s important is to recognize these lapses for what they are—temporary slip-ups—and get right back on track, ASAP. After all, you don’t want that little lapse to snowball. Now is the time to pull out your best get-back-on-track strategies: your favorite healthy recipes, the friend who rallies you to walk, a quick check-in with a diabetes support group. It’s also the time to learn from the slip-up. To that end, consider this 6-step plan to help you get back on track—fast.
Step 1: Take a step back. Ask, “What happened?” Look objectively at what’s making you feel not-so-healthy, and how it started. How did you forget to fill your prescription? Why did you go overboard on the sugary treats?
Step 2: Take a few deep breaths. Remind yourself, “One slip-up does not make me a failure.”
Step 3: Renew your vows. Remind yourself of how hard you’ve worked to improve your health, and how disappointed you’ll be if this one slip-up undoes all your hard work.
Step 4: Learn from it. Think about what pushed you to your lapse (your food diary notes can help). What can you do differently next time you’re faced with an eating or exercise challenge?
Step 5: Move on. Implement your “back on track” strategy right away. Perhaps it’s digging out your favorite healthy recipes and blocking out time on Saturday mornings to grocery shop so that you have healthy ingredients at the ready. Maybe it’s asking your friend to go for a 10-minute walk with you every day to jump-start your exercise commitment. Think about routines that can help you achieve your live-healthy goals and put them in place, stat.
Step 6: Call for backup. Ask for help from those people who are supportive and who want you to succeed.
Think about this: Have you had any lapses in your healthy habits lately? If so, looking back, how could you have handled the challenge differently? Spell out at least two “back-on-track” strategies for the next time you have a lapse.