Failure is not fatal…

Failure is an inevitable part of life, but remember it isn’t always a bad thing!

Wherever you are on this journey through lifestyle transformation, the last few months have rocked all of our worlds, and as our lives start to return to normal, we will have to find our ‘new normal’, for probably the umpteenth time this year! As we do so, it’s important to bear in mind what we have to say in this article, because we may have to do a bit of trial and error until we find what’s right for us, and that will possibly mean failing at some of the things we try.

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.<span class="su-quote-cite">Winston Churchill</span>

Firstly, lets get one really important thing out of the way. Do you believe that lifestyle transformation is the right choice for you, whatever it is you’re trying to achieve? Whether that’s weight loss, meeting new friends, becoming more active, improving your health in both body and mind or something else. If you don’t, then you’re setting yourself up to fail by choosing a method that you don’t believe in. If you’re still unsure, speak to Rick or Rachel and we will explain how it all works!

At Be Strong it’s totally OK to fail, we call it learning, building experience, experimenting or a combination of all.  And let’s face it, we have all been there…. lots!

Use failure as a learning experience

A really simple example is that you decide you’re going to join a Pilates class. It’s something different, you never did it before and you know some people who go and enjoy it. You sign up, acquire the correct kit, turn up and attend for 4 weeks. You then speak to your friends and confide that you don’t like going and are not enjoying it.

You feel its a chore to go along and you’re beginning to dread it. You tell them that you’re moving heaven and earth to make the class and you simply don’t enjoy it when you get there. You can’t really put your finger on it but you know its not for you. You explain that its probably lots of little things. You agree to keep going for another 2 weeks to see how you go and promise to keep an open mind.

At the end of those 2 weeks nothing much has changed so you cancel your subscription and stop attending.

Is that a failure? Absolutely not! You tried something new, researched it, prepared well and gave it an extended period to see if things would improve. You learned too! You now understand that Pilates isn’t for you, that time of week and day doesn’t work for you with your other commitments. On reflection you found it was too individual, you prefer activities where you support others and vice versa, kind of a mutual aid or team environment.

All of this will increase your chances of success when you try something new again.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.<span class="su-quote-cite">Samuel Beckett</span>

Improving your chance of success

Trying new things always has potential risks but we can minimise them by the types of decisions we make.

Silly decisions for short cuts and quick wins

If you decide that lifestyle transformation is for you then that’s great. However, its best to take advice from people with expertise, rather than consider yourself an expert straight away and devise your own plan. The majority of people that devise their own plans still want everything tomorrow, patience is very rarely considered. This usually means that although they chose the correct path, the methodology is flawed and the risk of failure is massively increased.

Changing your lifestyle should always be done incrementally, with small changes introduced gradually.

If the change is a big change such as committing to walking 2 miles to work 3 days per week, and back again, then that should be all you try to change. Don’t over complicate things for yourself, by trying to change lots of other things as well. Simple works, this is hard enough as it is!

Unfortunately what happens in reality, is people go from being inactive, eating and drinking recklessly with no control, to walking to and from work every day, joining a gym and attending 5 times a week, eating chicken and kale, drinking water and sticking a label on it that says I’m doing lifestyle transformation with Be Strong. No you’re not. You’re doing your own plan (with you) and we’ll bet everything we own that you won’t be successful that way. Just sit back, look at that plan and convince us how you would sustain that – then decide if it’s a good decision or a silly decision.

Vast rewards

We all want these!  These are the decisions where the reward given far outweighs the proposed effort that you need to put in. Sound plausible? No, but how many of us have bought the ‘Perfect Abs in 10 days’ DVDs, or been enticed by the latest meal plan to ‘Drop a dress size in 7 days’, or the ‘I lost 3 stones in 6 weeks and met the love of my life’ shakes? We have many times over! This is because we are either desperate or we’re used to a society where everything needs to be instant and rewards are achieved with minimal effort.

Our thoughts on these types of programmes are well documented and don’t need expanding on. The only way to lose weight is through achieving a calorie deficit. It’s best done through small changes to your lifestyle until little by little there is a transformation from how your lifestyle was before, in the direction that brings improvements to your health and well-being.

There is a common trait that runs through all these types of ‘quick results’ programmes. They all involve you buying something and there is not an ethical professional in the UK who would recommend these.

Could you imagine if you rocked up at a local group and the leaders started to advise you to eat 2 boiled eggs, 2 pieces of fruit, a grilled chicken breast and a green salad each day whilst drinking 5 glasses of their new miracle weight loss cordial at only £19.99 a bottle?

Would you lose weight? Yes! Why? Because you are actually starving yourself!!!! Does the weight loss cordial at only £19.99 a bottle make any difference? No! Its normal sugar free cordial!!! Why do they do it? To steal your money!!

If miracle cures worked it would save the NHS in the UK billions and they would be prescribing them left, right and centre.  Surprise surprise, they are not!

Smart risks

Now this is where you should be investing your time and energy. If you are choosing to attend a group or join a program, and it didn’t work out for you before, ask yourself why. Did their advice not work, was it poorly informed or presented badly to you? Did you actually listen to what was said, and put it into practice? Or did you just go along to get weighed, do your own thing, and then give up, when the results weren’t what you wanted?

If it’s the latter, then its good news! Groups help, there’s no doubt about that.  The community and peer support from groups (online or physical) are a great way to keep motivation up and  on track.  But they don’t work if you don’t engage with the group or follow the methods given to you.  So take the advice, be brave and engage, put yourself out there, but keep it all very simple, minimise the pressure on yourself, and don’t do everything in one go.

Our (simple) advice

You have to accept that it won’t likely happen for you overnight. If you do take small steps then you have the absolute best chance of success. Read our articles on Tracking Calories and Process Goals to get started, or check out the Reset Restart online learning. There is enough in there to keep you going (and learning!) for  a few weeks. If you need help, then get in touch or ask  in the forums or on the Facebook group.

Try your utmost to progress this from being a hobby to a serious business! You can pick up and leave a hobby as and when it suits you. If its a serious business you get the job done, you live that life for as long as it takes, it becomes a part of you. Where are you now? Can you make the change or somewhere in between? Serious business takes place Monday to Friday then you become a hobbyist at the weekend? It all depends on what fits with you but as long as your travelling in the right direction that’s all that matters.

Check in with your progress

You might think you are failing at something, if you aren’t seeing the results you anticipated, so maybe it’s time to just step back and check in with your progress. And by progress, I actually mean effort.

Are there areas of your lifestyle that you haven’t really touched yet, or certainly had a really good go at improving them? Are there any areas that are actually preventing you from achieving your goals?

Did you really start to move more? Was it the best shot you could give it? Are you still doing it? Could you improve?

Does your planned exercise really fit in with your routine? Do you even have a routine?

Have you set a process goal, just 1 or 2 simple tasks you will complete each week for a very short period of time?

Do you know your real deep seated reason for doing this? Connecting with that will help you stay on track and focused.

Have you set a normal goal, one that has a specific outcome and a number of detailed steps of how you’re going to achieve it?

Do you know how many calories you need to consume each day? Have you worked out what meals to have based on that number? Are they meals you love eating?

Have you cut down, or stopped, some of the habits that are counter productive to what you’re trying to achieve?

What’s getting in your way of being successful? Have you worked out a plan to overcome it? Have you asked for help and advice? Keeping busy often helps by taking your mind off things – what could you do?

Are you eating less? Do you know how much less? Have you been tracking calories? How many days last week, or last month were you successful on your calories? Do you know or would you have to guesstimate?

Don’t give up!

This is all about your belief in yourself. Its also about your aspirations. You don’t need to walk away from Be Strong to re-group, re-plan and assess the next move. You can do it all from within.  We can always accept people failing, after all most people fail at something every now and again. What we cannot accept is never really trying. Some people tell us they really want to make changes, then they only give us reasons why, for them, trying is not an option. Everybody can try at something.

So this week, reflect on where you are on your journey and what your next move is.  Reflect on how the next phase of lockdown easing, might impact on where you are up to on the journey, and how you might have to adjust for it. Don’t be afraid to try and fail in the process, as long as you learn from the experience.

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