I have a big thing against guilt.
Like, I actually. Don’t. Get. It.
It’s super easy to succumb to. That sinking feeling – the regret in the pit of your stomach – when you skip the gym in favour of a lie-in or grabbed a burger instead of a salad.
Most peeps think that feeling guilty about something will stop you repeating ‘bad’ behaviour, the logic being:
Feeling bad about something = not doing it again.
And, we all know how well that works out.
On a surface-level, guilt seems to make sense, we are programmed to avoid negative things so feeling guilty will work as a deterrent for future mistakes.
Dig a lil deeper and you will see that guilt simply leads to a negative perception of yourself. It is the negative thing thing that we need to get away from.
For instance, if you feel guilty for skipping a workout, you feel you lack willpower and self-control and you will never reach your health/fitness/body goals. Your self-belief and motivation will be crushed under the weight of your perceived failure.
And, you may feel that there is no point in even trying.
In fact, studies back this, they actually show that feeling guilty about something can lead you right back round to the guilt-inducing behaviour i.e. feeling guilty about eating cake is more likely to send you back for another helping.
Your brain doesn’t like to feel bad, in the event of guilt, it will automatically seek a quick-fix-pick-me-up to chase away the negative feeling. Hence, the guilt you feel about eating a massive slice of cake can easily send you back for a second helping.
Eaten some chocolate? Well, the damage is done, so I might as well finish off the bar. I’ve already failed.
Skipped a workout? Might as well miss the next one too, what’s the point in trying if I can’t even get myself to the gym?
Doesn’t this logic sound familiar? And oh-so ridiculous?
That’s guilt logic for ya.
Stewing in guilt definitely isn’t going to help you reach your goals. Not only does guilt make you feel crappy in the moment, but it is a breeding ground for future negativity.
Ultimately, it is a completely unproductive use of time/brainpower.
The solution = kick guilt to the curb. For good.
When you feel guilt creeping in; remember the wise words of Rafiki:
It doesn’t matter; it’s in the past.
You can’t change what has been done. A lapse in judgement happens to everyone on occasion, so forgive yourself and move on.
Likewise, if you are consistently making poor choices, then figure out your trigger. For instance, if 3pm always leads to you grabbing a bar of chocolate; find out why.
Is it because you are hungry? Bored? Is it merely a habit?
Understanding is a far better tool than blame.
This approach will help you to tackle the root problem and ultimately make better decisions in the long run, rather than wasting time feeling bad about whatever you did/didn’t do.