A lady came to see me because she couldn’t sustain efforts to keep her body in shape. She actually only was a few notches on the tape measure shy of her goal. The added inches she had kept around her middle and it had stubbornly stayed there for about a year.  She carried it well, but she was frantically beating her self up about it. She went into great detail about how she had gotten to this point. Sometimes clients just need to talk. I try to make sure I don’t rush in too soon.

She did a very good job building up the first half of her story, telling me all about how she had achieved the best fitness of her life. From moringa smoothies to running marathons she never stopped pushing herself. As I listened, however, I braced myself for the second half of the story that was sure to come, the “and then” part which happened, unfortunately, when her mother got cancer. So, she was doing good and then she had to move her mother into her house to take care of her. Also, and then, covid hit and she was not able to go to the health club to work out, and then she had to do her sales job from home, and then on top of that her 3 kids were home needing constant attention.

She was absolutely terrified that she would lose all the magnificent gains she had painstakingly made. And, in fact, her carefully laid plans were falling apart before her eyes because she was very much needed elsewhere. She couldn’t even pay anyone to help with the kids or with her mom during covid. No one wanted the work. Everyone was afraid to leave their own homes.

She had a new husband, but he was just not comfortable in the step-dad role yet. She felt very disappointed that helping her with the kids just didn’t come naturally to him.  So, along with everything else, she had to pull herself together and do most of the parenting, meal prep, school work and housework, by herself, while still working. And the worst part was, none of this fit into her 5 year plan.

“You only went up one size?”, I asked her.  “After all of that, you added one single dress size?”
Her wide eyes blinked at me trying to compute what I was implying.
“Well, I have never been more than a size 4 at any given time since high school”, She countered.
“You went through a pandemicI said firmly and directly, pausing to let it sink in.  “Your mother had cancer.” Another pause. “Your kids pretty much relied on you, and you alone for everything including education while you continued working.  You were in a new relationship and trying to figure out how to mesh your new husband with your life.  Has any of this ever happened to you before?”
“Well, no….”
“You actually did really good!  You are still as awesome as ever. I bet everyone is amazed by you.”
She squirmed as she let that soak in, then she lifted and smiled.
“Now we just gotta get you going again.  That’s all.”

And so we began. At first, as we began our 5 weeks of reforming the subconscious mind, my client’s life was still chaotic, but she could see the light at the end of the tunnel, pretty quickly, as we worked together. In addition to doing particular phases of the hypnotic work I always do, we also found a little education and some specialized direct suggestion to the subconscious, built around the following points to be a very big help.

SHIFTS IN PRIORITY HAPPEN – Realize you didn’t quit. It’s not like you were lazy.  Sometimes we do have to detour and take care of other things.  If you make detours part of your plan then the changes won’t add to your stress. So, don’t look at it like you messed up or failed. You just changed priorities to sprint through something difficult. When this happens just know it’s only for now, not forever.

THE ULTIMATE GOAL -What was all the training for anyway? What were you trying to be healthy and strong for?  Could it be that you had surprising life challenges, being made easier, as an unconscious, maybe even as an ultimate goal? Doesn’t it make sense that hard times would be made easier if you were healthy and strong? Isn’t it true that when you learn to push through something hard (like when running or increasing weight resistance) that you are also training your mind and will as well?  Tough times are inevitable. They happen to everyone. You just applied the strength and perseverance that you painstakingly built in yourself to a real world situation. You made it through, congratulations. Not everyone fared as well.

PUT IN A PLACE HOLDER – As you move through a difficult life challenge keep in mind that it may help to do one minute of your usual scheduled body work each day during these difficult times that sometimes pop up. I call these times “sprinting” periods. You can also purposely add something healthy to eat into the mix along with whatever unhealthy food you may be  eating. That is, if you do fall into stress relief through certain foods. Something healthy such as broccoli or a protein smoothie can act as a placeholder reminding you that you will be back to your regular routine just as soon as you are able. Finding yourself doing healthy things will  also encourage you to be less worried about how you’ll get started again. You will see that you are not actually fully giving up, which will help you relax a little and when you are less worried about your future you can be more present in the now with what needs to be accomplished in the moment.

LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE –  You may not be someone who kept to the perfect fitness schedule during tough times, but when you look at overall how well you did, considering what was going on, make sure you pat yourself on the back. If you don’t, you may feel so bad about yourself that you allow self-hate, guilt or shame to become an excuse to give up entirely.

Also, in regards to the “big picture” be honest. If you really look at your entire life, would you be able to say you have done very well at reaching most of your goals?  If the realization is you have, then that should make you feel better. And if that is not enough to make you feel better, do put the end goal out 20 years or more and look again. This way, those times when you have a temporary set back will just look like a little blip in the overall road map. No big deal.  In other words, don’t let that mental movie of your life’s achievements end too early. Most people who get into real trouble, will end their mental projections at a moment of failure. Don’t do that. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

BEGIN AGAIN SOFTLY – When you have a period in your life when the sh*t hits the fan things often become less of a problem before the problem is totally gone. Keep an eye out for those easier times when you can start a soft goal. What is a soft goal? By a soft goal I mean doing something, but doing less of it. For instance, you could try a 21 day challenge of doing, say 20% of your old routine.

When you do a soft goal like this make sure you take in the big picture again, the big picture of the whole 21 days. Once completed,  ask yourself did I, overall, adhere to my target goal more than I would have before the 21 day challenge started?  If so, then that is a win.

After that 21 day challenge is over, start a new 21 day challenge and Begin again.  Keep doing that, but as circumstances allow increase your efforts. Make sure you really pat yourself on the back when you see ANY improvement. You must keep your spirits up when life gets difficult. Keep calm and know you are doing well. You trained for this. Relax.

END STRONG – Sometimes when you do a 21 day challenge you can get badly set back right in the middle of it. This can make you want to quit.  If that happens let your new goal be to end strong. This way you’ll be more likely to get back up and keep going even if you get knocked down. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for hanging in there no matter how well you do.

ESPECIALLY SOFT GOALS – By the way, when things rev up in life and become super, duper hard you can also do a shorter challenge such as a 1 day or a 3 day challenge. Sometimes the challenge is just getting up in the morning, but when you do meet your challenge, no matter how small, make sure you take the time to say “TA DAAA, I’m a winner!  I did it!”  With this attitude it won’t be long and you will be back on track.

So, back to my client. She eventually did get mightily back on track in every way. In fact, she is probably running an iron man marathon this week. You are just as amazing. You can begin again. Never give up.