Have you ever felt like giving up when you “blew it” and couldn’t meet your goals or guidelines? What if you didn’t dwell on that and instead focused on what went well, assessed whether the goal was reasonable in the first place and then got back on track without making a mountain out of a mole hill. For some reason it is human nature to focus on the negatives, dismiss the positives and mercilessly beat ourselves up for bad behavior. Have you ever noticed that doesn’t really work?

I notice it frequently with my clients. One of them recently told me she had failed to meet her fitness goals for the week and that she might as well give up. In her mind she had already done that, believing that she just couldn’t succeed. I asked her if she had done any of the things she had set as goals. She told me she had walked her dog once for about 45 minutes, used the elliptical machine at the gym twice for 30 minutes and done her stretching. But she added, “I didn’t go to the gym the third time as I was supposed to. So I failed. I just don’t think I will be able to do this.”

But she was doing it. How did she fail? Where was that coming from? She said that she just couldn’t ever get things right and had always failed to get in all her days when she worked with someone at the gym. She wanted to do it, but she knew that she let people down and just couldn’t fit it all in. Then she told me that one of the things that got in the way was an accident that had her husband in the hospital for a few days, and that she had been spending most of her time with him or at home with the kids. Wow, and she got in three days of activity despite what had happened in her life.

I asked her to see how much she had accomplished and to recognize that not getting to the gym that third time didn’t mean she had failed or that she couldn’t succeed. Instead I asked her to see how much she had done, especially in light of her husband’s accident and in comparison to what she had been doing just six weeks before. She had already come a long ways and was consistently being active three days a week. She looked at me in amazement. It had never occurred to her to acknowledge what she had done or that she had succeeded to be active three times a week.

She realized that she had only focused on the negative, coloring her perspective and validating her inner self criticism. It was eye-opening for her, and she felt excited about the upcoming week. She no longer wanted to throw in the towel. That next week she added a fourth day because she wanted to, not because she feared being harshly judged for missing it.

This made me think back to my mother who started exercising just three years ago with my help. She had always been sedentary, and when she didn’t reach the goals we had set the second week she said “I can’t do this”. But we focused on what she could do and we set goals based on what was right for her, not what she was supposed to do. She has been exercising and adding more activities ever since, and today she can’t imagine not wanting to be moving. Yet she has weeks where she just can’t make it happen, and she lets them come and go. She doesn’t dwell on them, but gets right back into the swing of things the following weeks. Without the judgment for what she didn’t do, she focuses on what she can do and enjoys herself.

This is a lifestyle approach to fitness that allows for flexible goals, ups and downs, and “blowing it” just because life happens. It is also a way to celebrate what is accomplished, learn from what doesn’t, and to pick up where you left off – without the inner criticism.

This week notice what has gone well and pat yourself on the back, and then look at what didn’t go so well and see if there is something you can learn from that or not. Either way, let it go and let yourself get back on track without the stick.

Author's Bio: 

Alice Greene, founder of Feel Your Personal Best, is a Healthy Lifestyle Coach, who has helped many people feel great. Alice is co-host of Living Your Personal Best radio show. She provides a unique perspective on how to succeed at making lifestyle changes that facilitate making all your life dreams come true. Sign up for her free report, "9 Life-Changing Secrets Every Woman Must Know" and confirm what you already know deep in your soul to be true. Ignite something in you that changes your perception of yourself and gives you permission to put self care on equal par with the other priorities in your day and week. To receive your free copy, visit http://www.feelyourpersonalbest.com .