Episode 84: How to Punch Failure in the Face.

Written by Jonathan

No one is perfect, especially when it comes to exercise and eating healthfully, this means we all have failures sometimes, but it’s often how we deal with these failures that make the difference in the long run.

The first thing, I think you need to look at is your language, often when we work with people and they don’t succeed at something they’re trying to change they say something to the affect of ‘I’m a failure.’

‘I’m a failure’ is not only a really strong negative way of saying I didn’t succeed at something but it’s also a really strong negative self identity. If you’re alive and you can make decisions you’re not a failure.

The system you created to make the change failed you, there’s nothing wrong with you, there’s something wrong with the system, you created.  All that to be said you have the power to change your system, so it’s your responsibility to change it.  You have to separate your identity from your habits and the systems you create.

Which brings us to the next part, when you try and change something and it doesn’t work, don’t just give up, figure out what else you can change about it. So what can you do differently in your system. If you’ve been on and off weight watchers 5 or 6 times over the last 5 or 6 years and you lose weight by following it, but then put it back on at some point, it’s not a system that works for you so you need an entirely new system or maybe you need to combine it with some basic habit changes and it will work just fine.

Let’s say you’re on weight watchers and you get most of your overage points by snacking on unhealthy foods in the evening, so to curb that you decide to go for an evening walk, because if you’re not in the house you can’t snack. So you start doing a walk, which seems to work at first but then you find you still want to snack when you get home, so you do.  At this point many people would give up and just say it’s not worth it, I’m a failure. But really the way I see it, you’re actually really close to success by adding a walk in, so instead of throwing in the towel what if we said ‘you know what I can have a snack when I get home, but I have to pre-measure the amount amount and eat it out of a bowl, not the bag and you put the rest of whatever it is you’re eating in your basement or buried in your pantry and allow yourself to eat that small amount instead and then be okay with that.  It’s not perfect but it’s still probably better than the alternative.

When you take two steps back and realistically look at your situation, you can fix your failed system. You may want or need to write these steps down or you could make a simple plan in your head. The point is this, you just need to be as specific as possible when you attack your system to change it and focus on the behaviours you need to change to fix your system.

Your system will be really personal to you, which is why I can’t tell you what to do, you have to figure it out, but I think this is a really good process to follow.

Identify what you want to change,

When your new system fails you, acknowledge that your system failed you, not that you’re a failure, and your system is within your power to change.

Iterate on that system by looking at what went wrong and keep trying new solutions to fix what went wrong until you find a system that works for you.   

This system isn’t perfect, but at least it gives you the chance to punch failure in the face.

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