So, we’re just over three months since part 1 of this series and I find myself in a position in which I have seen many a client and acquaintance. I stated my intention, grandly, set a plan, got to work… and I “failed.” I find myself at roughly the same bodyweight, the same level of motivation, doing the same things “right,” doing the same things “wrong,” and carrying with me a sense of spinning my wheels.
There are many reasons for this, and I do mean REASONS, not necessarily excuses. And there are, indeed, many excuses that I’ve made. I find it extremely important to delineate between those two and to very clearly acknowledge when something is a legitimate reason, rather than simply an excuse. I’ve had many clients over the years mention that, for example, they failed to meet the week’s objectives because they were watching their grandkids or lay offs were announced at work or an old friend made a surprise visit from out of town and they finish the story with, “but I’m just making excuses.”
That is where I raise my hand and halt the conversation.
Part of the problem here is the fitness industries lingering ties to a machismo culture that has used shame and guilt for motivation and attached character value to one’s abilities and adherence to norms. This is bullshit, but it seems too heavily engrained to have been yet discarded. For most, the idea that one’s efforts to show up to the gym for bench presses or to “hit their macros” might be of superior priority than meaningful family connections is ludacris. Even more simply, the idea that a new thought or choice might not be cast asunder by old habits and distractions, good or bad, is, again, ludacris.
If you were to try fly fishing for the first time, what would be your expectation? I think we can all agree that you’re probably expecting to not be very good at it. It’s a new skill that will take practice and you’ll learn much from both your failures and successes.
So, why would deciding to begin tracking your food, going to gym, pre-prepping meals, or otherwise thinking and acting different regarding your lifestyle choices be any different? You’re trying a new skill, at which you are likely to fail at first, but you will learn much from both your failures and successes.
100% success on the first try (or first few tries) should not be your expectation of your development as a human being. Just as it wouldn’t be for fishing.
And this is where I stand. I stand, much like you likely have in your health and fitness journey, facing my failure but willing to learn from it rather than internalize it.
Practically speaking, what do I do? The plan I laid out failed, so it much be time for something new, right? This is where I’ve missed the mark many years ago and I suspect a lot of people do. My goals are the same, as they are reasonable and important to me. They haven’t caused my failure. The fundamentals of my approach will be the same, as they are the basic building blocks (tracking food, meal prepping, etc.). My application of metrics of success will adjust slightly. Being more diligent with weekly bodyweight averages and more frequently posting about this process (and regularly entering my weight in MyFitnessPal, for example) for accountability, perceived or otherwise, will be huge.
I’m applying a process and adjusting it as needed to suit me. But, having said all that, there needs to be an element of pressure. Of just getting after it. I know this to be true for me, personally, and I’ve found it to be true of many others. Pressure, with reasonable expectations and intelligently used metrics can be very meaningful. This is where I find the prying public eye sharpens my focus. Hence, the public posting of bodyweight.
So, three months later and technically no closer to my goals, but I’m able to understand why and appreciate what I need to make happen and do differently, going forward. I hope these posts, and those to come, resonate in some way. We’re all largely the same brand of human, experiencing the same things.