“The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result”
It’s funny how something can make such sense, yet have little impact. Most of us smile when we hear that quote because we know it’s true…but regularly continue to do the same things ourselves while hoping for different results.
It’s simple really. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy! If comfort eating my way through last lockdown gifted me with additional padding in the form of weight gain I didn’t want, it mightn’t make sense to comfort my way through this one!
If I remember that the days I feel better are the ones I get for a walk, but persuade myself on a regular basis that it’s too windy, wet or warm to go for a walk that day, I shouldn’t be surprised if I feel sluggish and tired that evening.
If a good night’s sleep improves my mood and energy levels, how come I can be found watching rubbish on tv till the early hours?
Sound familiar? You’re not alone! Many of us repeat the same self sabotage behaviours, despite saying we want different results in our everyday. I work with clients who choose to get back in the driving seat of their life again, who want to stop the self sabotage and start feeling like they’re in charge of their habits and behaviours. In our work together, we often begin by looking at what worked for their wellbeing in the past. Below is an example of some of the areas we consider. The same approach can be taken if you’d like a different result this lockdown, by learning from your last lockdown lessons.
Exercise: What worked for you last time? A daily walk, an online yoga class, an accountability buddy who checked in with you every day? A fitness goal to achieve in the timeframe? A new regime or a new exercise? If you’re struggling to meet your exercise requirements, it makes sense to start by doing what worked before.
Alcohol: Did wine o’clock become a bit of an issue for you last time? Are you still struggling to reduce the daily habit? Could you choose to reduce your alcohol intake in some way? Was it okay if you stuck to one glass of wine but all fell apart as soon as you had that second glass? Which became three? Not counting the rubbish you ate alongside them?
There are so many other ways we do the same things over and over again, even though we know deep down that they’ll give us an unwanted result. I call these our self sabotage patterns. We all have them, in varying degrees. But by paying attention and making small changes where it matters, we can learn, not just from lockdown, but from life, about how we can make our wellbeing matter every day.