Learning to Love the Lapse

By Urmi Chakrabarti, LMSW

Spring definitely is a time where we start to come out of our winter cocoons and start feeling revived as we anticipate the sun and warmth to come. At the same time, it is a reminder of all wellness routines that we tried to implement during the beginning of the year that may have slowly gone awry — maybe it was going to yoga weekly or bringing your lunch to work instead of buying out. The key to making sure a new habit is sustainable is learning to honor and love the lapse. Usually, we have a hard time going back to a new routine or health habit because we feel a sense of guilt and our minds go into an “all or nothing” mode and the downward cycle of despair of never being able to maintain a routine takes over. Following are ways you can embrace and love the lapse in your new health and wellness routines within a bigger picture of lifestyle change.

  1. Use your lapse in your routine to listen and reflect. Use the lapse to reflect on what your body and soul really enjoys and what it needs to feel fulfilled as you implement new routines.

  2. Leave room for flexibility and know that you have a choice. In the implementation of any new routine, leave room for flexibility and include items that replace a sensation or flavor that you feel comforted by. Check in with what you may be missing with the change and see if something else can provide support. Or perhaps recognize that what is best for you now may be different from your initial goal.

  3. Not every lapse in your routine is the same. I refrain from the word “relapse” because a lapse does not set you back to square one. Instead, each lapse has unique triggers and you approach it with knowledge and awareness of previous lapses that you have overcome. Therefore, it is actually a step ahead in a new phase of your relationship to the routine change. Use the same methods that you used to start your routine, and now with an added awareness of other triggers to manage as you get back on your routine after a day or two of reflection.

  4. Love the lapse and see that it is a unique step in a greater process of a lifestyle change.

    If you see your lapse as a unique step in the process of the greater goal of a lifestyle change your perspective will shift.

Hopefully, these tips will help you Spring forward!

Urmi Chakrabarti is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you are looking for support in finding solutions to enhance your overall wellness, contact Cobb Psychotherapy by calling 718-260-6042 or emailing reception@cobbpsychotherapy.com, and see how therapy can help.

Elizabeth Cobb