Asthma and Exercise (Part 2): Rebounding from Lapses
In the last post, we discussed steps to plan your goals in a way that should help you avoid falling back into old habits—also known as a lapse in the behaviour change world. However, we’re all human and we’re not perfect. How do you rebound from a lapse? Here are some thoughts:
Remember why your goal is important to you!
What tripped you up? Is your goal realistic, well-defined enough, too complicated, or too easy? Consider these things when you’re determining why you did not meet your goal.
Your goal could have been a good fit a month ago… and then it just wasn’t. Once you re-evaluate, redefine your goal to make it a good fit for your circumstance. It may also be a good time to chop your previous re-assessment deadline in half—you can always continue with the same plan, but it’s better to make a recovery after 2 weeks than 4!
This might also be a point to reflect on how realistic your goal was in the context of what you re-evaluated. Did your goal to walk every day or jump on the trampoline outside with your kids get derailed by a high pollen count, or smoke in the air? How might you redefine this goal to reflect your current circumstances? For example, is there an indoor trampoline gym nearby, a mall to walk in, or a gym with a track for poor air quality or high allergen days?
Write down your new plan, and reconfigure how you are going to track your goal progress. For instance, in March, I was using weekly goal tracking sheets inside my Bullet Journal as I mentioned in the previous post, but for April I decided I’d like this to play into a bigger monthly goal chart—and also record observations about how I feel about each piece I am working towards—to make sure it’s still worthwhile to me. Just because it’s a good thing does not mean it is a good fit right now.
If you need to, take a break for a day or two. Your goals aren’t going anywhere! But, avoid taking off too much time. Then start up again slowly—pick one or two things to work on, instead of six (if, you know, that’s how you got into the lapse trouble to begin with. Been there, done that).
Here’s the apology (you guys know I’m Canadian right? That’s what we do): I don’t have the solution to make you perfect change-makers. I don’t think anybody does (and if they did, they’d probably try to sell it for money, and it would probably not even work anyways). Take your time, and when that ball starts bouncing back towards you (aka. the motivation comes back!), grab it and get in control again. Remember the reasons you defined when you set your goal, and use these to help spark you back into action. You’ve redefined your plan of action, and it’s time to put the pieces back in place and try again.
Sometimes, we all need a little help: finding someone outside your immediate circle of support to encourage you and check in can also help keep you motivated. For me, a lot of the people I use to help keep me on course are people I have met online—it can also help to have somebody who also lives with asthma, or another chronic disease, as they’ll understand a bit better some of the things that might make certain goals harder to reach. These friends and I have far more in common than asthma, and those text messages can be the little nudge necessary. Finding friends who have similar goals and understand your asthma can keep you accountable: these people WILL call you out if you’re using your disease as an excuse too often—especially when you know you’re doing it, too. If it’s the truth, and asthma is preventing you from reaching your goals, then you should be checking in with your doctor. Otherwise, the best friends will be the kind to back you into a corner: they want the best for you too. A good change-making partner will help you to realize—again—that YOU are in charge—not your asthma.
Have you ever gotten "moon face" as a side effect of prednisone?