Sooner or later, and I don’t care who you are, you’re gonna fail.
There’s a certain stigma attached to failure. As a society we love to judge people’s failures, we mock them and make internet memes out of them. And because of that, we don’t talk about our failures as much as we should, we don’t analyse them and learn from them, and all too often we don’t move on from them.
I once wrote a blog post for a health website where I used the word failure throughout the text. The editor came back asking me to remove the word. She said, “we don’t use the word ‘failure’ as it’s a scary concept.” I was thinking, shit lady – life is a scary concept! Talking about this stuff is how we make it less scary for everyone. I was new to publishing stuff and the idea that a more established website with tens of thousands of readers wanted to publish my work was too exciting and I didn’t want to risk it over a single word, so I conceded and took it out. And, I have forever regretted that decision.
Whether it be fitness, weight loss, business, or life in general, I’ve come to realise that failure can be the MOST important factor in actually being successful.
People generally fall into one of these three categories:
- People that fear failure so much they never try anything new.
- People that try something, fail and then give up completely.
- People that try new things, fail often but are ultimately successful because they learn from their mistakes.
If you fall into the first two categories I want this post to teach you that failure is simply a stepping stone to success, there is no stigma attached, nothing is insurmountable, and round here we talk about our failures until they lead us to success.
I reckon most 127kgs readers, subscribers, commenters, likers, and those of you that simply lurk are a lot like me – we’ve been people that have failed and given up but we’ve learned to keep trying and keep failing until we finally get it right.
Failure Is an Opportunity to Learn
Yeah, I know, failing sucks. I mean, shit, there’s not many things worse than finding out you weren’t good enough, right? But, failing also serves up a healthy dose of reality and challenges you to be better.
Weight loss, fitness, and improved health is basically an exercise in self-improvement and failure is an opportunity to do better. So what if you don’t get it right the first time, analyse where it went wrong and make some changes to your approach. Each time you fail you’re a step closer to success. The trick is not to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Now, Alfred Einstein might’ve said: “insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.” But, when it comes to losing weight that’s actually not that hard to do. I mean shit, the term yo-yo dieting didn’t come from nowhere. It exists because people have repeated the same weight loss mistakes over and over again.
Sometimes it’s hard to recognise that’s what’s happening – the diet and fitness industry is very, VERY good at packaging the same old shit up with fancy new words and pictures and convincing us that they’ve finally found the answer to all our prayers.
Failing to lose weight is usually the result of repeatedly doing things you don’t like and then giving up because, surprise, you don’t like it! Ditch the stuff you hate and search for exercises, foods, and routines you like and can maintain.
Moving on from Failure
So you failed. Now what?
It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself, failure sucks. Take a day or two, mope around the house, get angry, tidy the yard, throw your toys, whatever your thing is, then…let it go and move on.
Shit happens, it always will. Failure doesn’t define you. The important thing is that it doesn’t result in you abandoning what you set out to achieve. So it didn’t work out this time, so what? Chalk it up to experience, identify where you went wrong and move on.
So, what went wrong?
- Did you try to lose weight by eating nothing but salad?
- Did you try and take up running when you’ve never run before?
- Did you start the latest fad diet?
- Did you launch yourself into a crazy exercise routine you saw on the internet?
- Did you join a gym?
If you’re anything like me you might find this process hard, but it’s necessary and totally worth it. Be completely honest with yourself and analyse the approach you took. Ask yourself what you didn’t like about the experience and what ultimately led you to stop doing it.
You’ve gotta ask yourself, why?
Why couldn’t I make this work?
- Eating nothing but salad didn’t work. Why? Well, I was hungry all the time, I got sick of eating nothing but salad and eventually, I started craving all my favourite foods.
- I tried running every day but it didn’t work. Why? It was really hard and kinda boring. I was sore the next day and I just couldn’t find the motivation to do it again. I don’t think I’m fit enough to be a runner yet.
- The latest fad diet didn’t work. Why? I was hungry all the time and I didn’t really like the food, plus it was too expensive.
- The crazy exercise routine didn’t work. Why? The exercises were too hard, I was sore all the time and I just didn’t want to keep doing it. I’m not fit enough for those exercises yet.
- I joined the gym, but I stopped going. Why? I couldn’t find the time, I couldn’t be bothered going after work and I’m too tired to go early in the morning. And, I didn’t really know what I was doing on all the machines – it was too intimidating.
You see where I’m going with this, right? Be honest and identify why you failed to succeed.
Then, plan a different approach.
- If you know you need to eat better, identify the things you eat regularly that aren’t healthy and slowly cut back on one of them. Just one thing, don’t try and jump straight into the perfect diet, just start working your way towards something better than where you’re at today. When you’re comfortable with that, try and do just a little bit better again. Don’t strive for perfection, just continuous improvement.
- If you want to get fitter, try walking instead of running, or walking with the odd lamp post to lamp post run thrown in. Don’t start out thinking you’re an Olympic runner, just be content doing something. Something will always be better than nothing. As you get better (fitter) run a bit further.
Both these alternative approaches have one thing in common: you start out slowly with the aim of getting better over time. Forget about perfection, it doesn’t exist.
Whatever you set out to achieve it’s gonna take time to get there, you don’t go from zero-to-hero overnight. Allow yourself the time you need to learn the skills and habits to actually be successful.
Those are just two approaches, there are countless ways to achieve your goals but ultimately you need to find what works for you and that might mean failing again before you figure out exactly what that is. But, that’s ok, right?
Don’t fear failure, embrace it because each time you fail (and learn from it) you’re one step closer to success.
What have you failed at recently? Even better, what did you learn from it?
P.S Sorry for the lack of blog posts recently. I kinda lost my confidence there for a while, but I’m just gonna push on through, coz that’s what we do, right?