Old habits die hard is probably the most useful saying in our time. The sooner we form good habits in our lives, the better. A habit relapse is when we are pulled into temptation and we let go of one of our good habits. For instance when we are on a diet for a long time and end up breaking it in a moment of weakness.
It is actually very disheartening and difficult to go back to those habits and begin again. A relapse can lead to sadness and discouragement. But it is also very common among humans. There are several habits that we let go of in minutes because we weren’t feeling as passionately about it as before.
So what to do if we have a relapse? How to deal with it?
There is no definite solution to this one and some people think a relapse is actually a part of a habit formation. What we need to remember is that habit formation is a self-learning process and not self-improving one. We learn about something and behave accordingly, we cannot force our mind into something until we truly understand it.
But here we will give you some advice and things to try when you have a relapse and feel guilty about it. Here you can see how to deal with it in a healthy manner:
When we do have a relapse, some just find it better to not talk about it or even think about it. People just feel terribly guilty about it and keep feeling bad inside. So what you need to do is to think about it. Think about why such a slip up happened and why couldn’t control yourself. You need to remember that you were doing really well until you slipped up and that it is okay. Everyone slips up for different reasons and sometimes it is beyond your control. Maybe the reason for your relapse was too great and nothing you could have done would have helped. You need to remember this and then move on. Letting go of the guilt is very important.
Reflect on your feelings
We can be in emotional turmoil due to the relapse. We need to reflect on all these feelings. We can feel frustrated, weak, sad, lonely and disappointed in ourselves. You need to think about these feelings and accept them. Think about them and you will know that these feeling are a part of the entire process.
We can often understand the pain of others but not our own. For instance, when our friend is feeling low, we do everything in our power to make her/him feel better. We try to make it seem like a common thing, it happens to everyone. We provide emotional support to our friends and help them heal. But sadly we do not do that to ourselves. We need to start feeling compassionate about ourselves too. Make our brain and heart listen to us. Give yourself a virtual hug, defend yourself and feel better. Instead of feeling guilty and doing nothing, being OK with these feelings and moving on will take you way ahead.
Remember the intention
People often find it difficult to go back to a good habit after a relapse. At that time, you need to go back to your intention. Why did you start this habit in the first place, why is it important for you to follow it? You relapsed because you forgot your intention behind the habit or other reasons were more important. Now you need to rethink about it and decide whether you should go back to it or not. And if you decide that you do need to go back to it, just keep the intention in your mind as you get on to it again.
Take baby steps
After a relapse, it might get difficult to get back to your old schedule which was strict. If you re not able to follow it, you feel even more discouraged. So what should we do? Take baby steps, for example, if you relapsed in your diet, eat one carrot a day and increase slowly. Don’t start like your old self. If you relapsed in your workout, start with a five minute one instead of the older 2 hours one. Keep taking such tiny steps and increasing the difficulty. This ought to increase your confidence and make you feel like you can control your habit and keep going.
Take the baby steps forward, don’t look back
Once you decide you will take things slow and keep going on, the failures, relapse and all negativity are in your mind. Do not let your mind dwell on them, focus on the baby step and the next one you need to take. Experience the step fully, gain confidence in the fact that this step was easy and you can handle it. You need to get your willpower back and the best way to do it is to stay positive and keep moving forward.
Be curious about learning
When we relapse or are not able to start on a new habit, we often criticize ourselves. we think that we have no discipline, no will, or are just bad at things. Now ask yourself this, does so much negativity help you in any way? You need to remember that this new habit is not something that needs to be forced on you. You need to embrace it and learn about it, live it with and take the full experience. Don’t try to think about the outcome even before you tried to learn. Take the risk, go into the experience not knowing how you will end up and trust me when I say this, you will surprise yourself. We have a habit of undermining our abilities, it is only when we take a risk, do we truly see our potential.
Remember that these solutions are not a permanent fix to your problem. You need to make your own solution and figure it out from there. You need to remember that nobody is perfect, you live and you learn it. So live, make mistakes, have a relapse but don’t stop learning, don’t stop trying. The failures, relapse, disappointments and all the negativity are a part of the learning process. You just need to let go at the right time and move on.