September 5

How to get better results by taking a break


Our neighbors had an outdoor party the other night. Normally, I have no trouble getting to sleep, but that fact changes when an entire yard full of people decide to sing to Italian songs at the top of their lungs just outside my window.   

Are you freakin’ kidding me???

Each time I thought they finished, I’d just about nod off and they’d launch into another chorus of ‘O sole mio

As you may surmise from the musical selection, this was no teenage party. The host, whom I’d met a few times, is in his late 40s, early 50s.

(We just moved into this neighborhood four months ago, so we’re still the new kids on the block– not the boy band, although they’d probably have received a warmer welcome.)

So the good news was they weren’t of an age group that was likely to urinate on our front lawn, toss beer cans into the street or conduct other rowdy business.

Instead, they traded in those amateur antics for very loud, off key singing to Italian operettas.

In hindsight, it was more like a Saturday Night Live skit than stark reality. 

In an attempt to find a quiet spot, I moved to two different rooms in the house (my husband slept through it all). But the sound surrounded me like a blanket of noise from hell.

I didn’t have earplugs, so I tried using my Bluetooth headset without music, which was less than comfortable.

I stuffed cotton in my ears. Still nope. The drunken singing continued.

Granted, it wasn’t all that late, 10:30 or so. But I was exhausted, my parents had just left that morning after a week’s stay, and I was looking forward to much needed sleep.

Then this…

As I saw it, I had three choices:

  1. Do nothing, suffer in silence, and hope it doesn’t go on all night
  2. Call the police. First, they’d likely not pay any attention, since it was relatively early, and second, I would then set the stage for a never-ending neighborhood version of the Hatfields and the McCoys with the musical family.
  3. I knock on their door and ask why they didn’t invite us

I chose the first option. Thankfully, they quit singing a little after 11:00. At least that’s when I fell asleep.

But here’s the thing.

I made that decision after considering the long-term effect of complaining to them in person or calling 911 and having the police show up at their doorstep.

They’d know it was us.

I did not want to start a rivalry with our neighbors after moving in only a few months prior. Complaining or even politely suggesting they chill the heck out would not be met with anything other than disdain.   

And it would likely escalate from there.

My key decision making criteria was considering the Big Picture.

This brings me to today’s post… keeping weight loss in perspective.

This idea came to me while listening to a recent business podcast, where the host talked about how people often focus on the details and fail to see the big picture.

In regards to fitness and weight loss, it’s the same deal.


— You weigh yourself every day and binge when the scale bumps up a pound or two because what’s the use of even trying, right?
— You can’t work out one day so you give up completely
— You get an injury and don’t do anything, even though the doctor says you’re fine to do alternative exercises

In each case you’re tossing out your Big Goal because of a temporary situation.

Whenever you make a change for life, stuff gets in the way. It’s unavoidable unless you live in a bubble without access to the environment, other people, adult obligations, or anything else that may intrude on your plans. The only place I know that fits this criteria currently is the Space Station. 

In other words, you won’t hit your target by micromanaging yourself every single day. 

So if you find yourself getting caught up in the minutia, try these tips:

1.Step away from the scale
Checking your weight every day can backfire, especially if you’re doing everything right and it’s not moving. There could be many reasons for this plateau, so throwing in the towel and going on a fast-food bender just when you’re about to see results does nothing other than make the situation worse.

Instead, continue doing all the right things and give yourself a break from weigh-ins. Check again in a couple of weeks and you may be surprised at your progress.

2. Switch workout tactics
If you’re tired, injured, or just bored with your workout try something different. Or take a break. I recently interviewed an exercise physiologist who told me people expect her to be obsessed with her workouts. In reality, she trains about four times a week — not nearly every day.

Alternatives can be to simply stay active with low key workouts such as walking, yoga, or even simply stretching or foam rolling. Go back when you feel refreshed and less cranky. If you stop looking forward to your workouts you’re likely to quit for good. Take a proactive stance before then.

3. Clear your head
Notice all these tips are about taking a break? Getting a clearer perspective is all about taking a step back and looking at the big picture instead of honing in on the day-to-day events. Like any goal, it’s never a clear trajectory but a series of ups and downs and making adjustments along the way.

Clear your head by getting away from the source of your misery… Go for a walk. Buy a new lipstick. Call a friend. Whatever it takes, break the mood by switching gears and you’ll come back with a better attitude. It’s like taking a mini vacation, only without getting sand in your bathing suit.

NOW YOU. What do YOU find frustrating? Do you let it derail your good intentions? Let me know in the comments below… 

Other posts you may enjoy:

Stop doing this ONE thing and boost motivation instantly

4 Motivation killers you underestimate (and how to turn them around)

4 Mindset shifts that boost motivation

Your Ageless Body Coach,


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