The Fallout From ‘Breaking the Chain’ Could Be Worse Than the Weight Gain From a Crash Diet
I was working out five days a week, pumping out content for four months, practicing Italian everyday daily for five months, and I was no longer having a nightly glass of wine. My chains were bright, shiny, and spectacular. That is until I slowly broke all of them. One by one. Poof.
In my wake are chains tangled up like unruly Christmas lights, impossible to separate or tell apart. Now I’ve got smush around the belly, a muse who never shows, I’m monolingual, and I drink wine… a lot of it.
Jerry Seinfeld, you and your chain win. As for all of mine, maybe I took it all a little too far. The idea of the chain is a motivating one and it works just fine when you’re routine goes according to plan. But what happens when you slip up, like moi, when your routine goes awry with soccer practice drops offs and far-off travel baseball destinations, and homeschooling, and about a million other things?
Even if you have the most fail-safe system, the strongest will, and the heart of a lion, life will derail you, one sneaky way or another. Allowing your success to hang in the balance by a chain, which is only as strong as its weakest link, is not a recipe for success. It’s a recipe for mud-pie, which you’ll be face down in when you fall through that weak-ass chain.
A stronger, more realistic approach is needed.
What if we could create a special hatch, one that we could escape into leaving our routine intact, its only missing piece would be us, the human keeping the routine relevant? Once we’ve had our dalliance, we return, emerging from the hatch fresh as a daisy, ready to re-enter our world as if we had never left? Routine still flowing, all we have to do is step back into it because it fits like a glove, and we feel great. Zero guilt for having been away for a moment.
While this isn’t Star Trek, a slightly more realistic approach is to have a reliable system built around you. I’m not poo-pooing a good routine, but that’s only a set of motions you put into play. Routines could be effective or a total waste of time. A system is more concrete, something that won’t crumble or break when you hang your hat on and it.
A reliable system always has a back-up plan when the main lines go down — the floodlights turn on, the secondary alarms activate, the back-up generator is there saying “I got you!” You’re still safe even when life just went haywire. What type of backup plan does a broken chain offer? What happens when you unknowingly set into motion your fight or flight brain?
To keep the chain going, especially when your goal is to produce more than one good joke a day — not that that’s easy, but for Seinfeld, that’s well within his wheelhouse — will require the strength of 20 rope chains.
A system will allow you the freedom to break from routine, and still return to it without feeling like a failure. Vacation won’t spoil it. Nothing will spoil it because you won’t have a broken chain to blame when you stop showing up.
When you break a chain, the idea of starting over is daunting. We always need a good back up plan because there will be slip-ups. That’s life.
AM Costanzo (@am_costanzo) is a personal trainer and wellness coach, a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and loves to help women feel strong, powerful, and downright fabulous in body and mind!