Risk & Business Magazine JGS Insurance Winter 2019 - Page 12

A HAPPINESS QUESTION A HAPPINESS QUESTION: What Should We Do If We Feel Like We’ve Fallen Behind Or Fallen Off The Wagon? BY GRETCHEN RUBIN NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR W hen we're trying to make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative, we often find ourselves in a frustrating situation: we fall behind, or we fall off the wagon. A woman told me, "I felt so bad about breaking my diet that I ate three orders of french fries." This is the cruel poetic justice of bad habits. What to do? Here are some useful points to consider: If you're pretty good most days, don't get too upset if you don't have a perfect record. Don't let yourself start to think, "Gosh, I haven't exercised in 10 days, what's the point of starting now?" Sure, you wish you'd exercised those 10 days, but if you get back in the habit, those lost days aren't a very big deal. 1. DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP Although some people assume that strong feelings of guilt or shame act as safeguards to help people stick to good habits, the opposite is true. People who feel less guilt and who show compassion toward themselves in the face of failure are better able to regain self-control, while people who feel deeply guilty and full of self-blame struggle more. Often, when we feel bad about breaking a good habit, we try to make ourselves feel better by...indulging in the bad habit! 12 2. REMEMBER THAT WHAT YOU DO MOST DAYS MATTERS MORE THAN WHAT YOU ONCE IN A WHILE And fail small, not big. Once a good behavior is broken, we sometimes act as though it doesn’t matter whether it’s broken by a little or a lot. “I didn’t do any work this morning, so what the heck, I’ll take the rest of the week off and start on Monday.” “I missed my yoga class over spring break, so what the heck, I’ll start again in the fall.” Pick yourself back up right away! 3. A STUMBLE MAY PREVENT A FALL If you've fallen behind or fallen off the wagon, remind yourself of the valuable proverb: "A stumble may prevent a fall." Sure, you've gone through a rough patch, but you can use this experience to learn more about yourself and your challenges. Maybe you fell behind while traveling, or when you had family visiting, or when you were in a tough stretch at work. How can you use this experience to set yourself up for more success in the future? Let's say you were eating very healthfully, then you spent a weekend to a hotel where you ate too much of the wrong food at the all-you-can-eat buffets. So now you've learned, "I shouldn't pick the buffet option. I should order off the menu. That way, I'll know exactly what food I'll get, in a set portion." Studies show that we tend to eat more when faced with a bigger variety, and