There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of books out there on how to succeed in business, at weight loss, in life, as a parent, as a partner, as a coach, etc. Of all the “success books” I’ve read, the one spot where most seem to fall short is teaching us to handle it when things don’t go as planned because as we know, it’s never a straight line on the way to achieving a goal. There are always lots of plot twists thrown our way.
So what happens when we fail? What if we follow all the instruction to a T and still don’t succeed? What if we try and fail so hard we feel like giving up all together? What then?
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that failing is fun. It’s not. Working hard towards something and being unsuccessful really sucks. In the moment failing can totally take the wind out of our sails and make us want to curl up in the corner with a bottle of wine and Turtle…oh…maybe that’s just my way of dealing with it 😉 So first I want to normalize that. It’s totally OK and normal to feel like shit when things don’t go our way. The trick though is learning to be to be resilient.
When we fail it simply means that we’re looking to improve or change an area of our life, right? When we fail, it doesn’t me WE are failures, it simply means that the method we used didn’t work for us. Once the feelings of yuck are processed and passed, it’s time to buck up and get back to the grind. Because what’s worse? Staying in a place you don’t want to be or working towards something better? I’ll take the latter thankyouverymuch 🙂
Failing is a really good thing because it means that not only did we try, but now we have plenty of data to figure out our next best steps. Failure is simply feedback on how to improve.
This can so clearly be linked to weight loss. This might ruffle some feathers but here goes…
I can’t tell you how many of my coaching clients have been on the 21 Day-Fix. In one of my 8-week programs over half the women in the group had been on the diet, lost weight, went off the diet, gained weight back, then went right back to the diet because “it worked the first time.” In their eyes gaining the weight back was obviously a failure since they went on the diet in the first place hoping that it would be the quick and lasting fix it claims to be. Even after they saw the program wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be, they went back on it. Why? Because it can be so much easier to play it safe and repeat the same choices instead of using the failure as a lesson to do better next time. It’s what feels comfortable and familiar and I don’t judge that at all. I’ve certainly been there done that. At the time it sort of feels like the path of least resistance and after failing we want to do what feels comfy. A better choice, though, would be to do the hard work, look at why the diet didn’t work and use that info going forward. Why keep repeating the same stuff over and over again if we know it doesn’t work?
Here’s why failing is actually a really good thing (even if it’ feels like total shit at first) when it comes to weight loss or any other goal for that matter. It shows us exactly what doesn’t work for us! That’s pretty exciting stuff. When we’re looking to lose weight we want to lose x number of pounds and keep it off forever. So when we find a diet that doesn’t work, we can use that as feedback. Maybe measuring all your food doesn’t work for you. Maybe you don’t like eating so frequently. Maybe you don’t like having to work out six times per week. The best thing is that a) you don’t have to and b) you know this info going forward so you’ll be able to skip over any plan that incorporates any of those pieces. The important thing is that we don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again when they didn’t work the first time (or 3 times) around.
The Road to Resilience
So how exactly are we supposed to pick ourselves back up after being knocked down? I’ve got you covered 😉
1. Give yourself credit for trying in the first place. I know, I know…so cliché. But I’ll tell you, I’ve been in the fitness/nutrition industry for 9 years and I’ve seen so many more people try to stay in their comfort zones and hope for change than I’ve seen people who actually take action and go for their goal. Change is a big effing deal and to be the one leading the march towards change can be scary. Making a solid effort and giving yourself credit for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something new is step one to getting back up after being knocked down.
2. Look for the lesson. We talked about this a bit up above but it’s worth repeating. Even if we fail HARD there’s always always always a lesson we can take from it. From failed relationships to business ventures to weight loss it’s crucial to take something away from the experience so we can aim to be better the next time around.
3. Try again. And again. And again….and again. It took me probably about 20 diets and countless exercise programs until I found a lifestyle that worked for me. It took me several years to learn to love myself and my body. It took me 5 years of testing the online biz waters before actually diving in. It took me a solid year before I could bang out a few consecutive chin-ups. It took me over two years to build up a solid personal training clientele and fill up my classes at the gym. And guess what? Over all that time I’ve failed…a lot. Like big time. What I didn’t do was throw in the towel and give up. To be successful at anything, we have to be persistent and we have to be resilient. Quitting is always an option, but who wants to be a quitter when we can be a super successful bad ass instead? Amiright?!
At the end of the day guys, we can choose to keep pushing forward after a failure or we can choose to hang it up. My question is, why even bother quitting because how do you actually know something isn’t going to work without even giving it a shot…or 10? Hah!
Stop playing it safe, fail, fail often, look for the lessons then get back on the horse. Success can be yours if you want it bad enough.