Failing: How It Can Help You Succeed

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If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s failing. And in a spectacular manner too.

Now, there’s more than one style of failing. There are the every day types of failings. Ask any of my friends and they’ll confirm I’m a bit of a mess. I have a hard time practicing basic self care, I don’t really respect my own personal space, and trash my car/room consistently, and it’s highly likely I will say yes to a cookie and cram it into my face.

There are also the larger failings. I went 0-3 my first three boxing matches, lost in the finals of my first national tournament, and famously ker-ploded during the olympic trials boxing when my shoulder failed to remain in its proper place.

Now, why am I talking about failing? It’s because I want to be a Debbie Downer and remind every one who is in the midst of their New Year’s resolutions about failure. All kidding aside, failure is a valuable tool. I have always said I am a fighter defined by his losses. This is because it is in my greatest failures I have been able to identify how to succeed.

We often hear the saying “New Year, New Me” when the new year rolls around. This is the time everyone announces their New Year’s resolution and dive enthusiastically into accomplishing this goal. For about a week, maybe a month tops do we maintain this enthusiasm and then it drops off. I’d say it’s safe to say most people fail at their resolution. I think one of the main reasons why people fail is they do not examine why they failed previously.

Our failures can teach us much more than our successes. Have you tried a training and/or nutrition plan before and it failed? If so, why? In my career as a fitness trainer, there are usually three reasons why trainees fail stick to their fitness goals.

1.) Accountability
We all need a little push now and again. While I am a pretty internally motivated individual, I am fortunate to have a boxing coach and a strength coach to hold me accountable to my training. There are days we just don’t want to train and there is really no excuse other than laziness. This is where having a system of accountability helps. While we may not need someone to prod us along in the first week, when you hit the half-way mark, it’s nice to have someone make you stick to your guns. Whether this is finding a trainer, a training partner, an accountability buddy, making a bet,or finding an online community, have some sort of accountability put into place to keep you on track.

2.) Sustainability
So, you’re hell bent on being the best you possible. You pick up a fitness magazine and read about the newest low carb/low fat/starvation diet. This is your only way to get the body you want,so you bite the bullet and throw out all your sugary junky food, processed carbs etc. The weight is dropping off and you feel like you’ve become roommates with hunger. Great, except you’ve been invited to a wedding. All the foods you denied yourself are right in front of you and boy, do you gorge yourself. This one day stuff-fest ends up turning into a week long binge and all your hard work seems to have been destroyed. This sound familiar? That’s why when you start a training or nutrition plan, you need to examine how sustainable it is to your lifestyle. While you will need to make some changes to your lifestyle, you also have to see how realistic it is. Sometimes making small changes can have the biggest impact on your progress.

3.)Guidance
Have you ever gone into a gym and been overwhelmed by how much stuff is there? Do you retreat to the safety of machines and ellipticals because you aren’t exactly sure what to do? Having the desire to train isn’t enough. The chances of you developing much strength or having a noticeable muscle gain from playing around on machines for even weeks at a time are pretty nil. That’s where you need some form of guidance to help you reach your goals. Effective training programming is an art, not some random workouts strung together. To reach your goals, you need to enter the gym with a plan to continue to improve. Don’t look to the magazines for the fad workout of the week, actually find a book written by professionals or better yet seek out a trainer. If you’ve had a trainer before and they didn’t work out for you, examine why this one trainer didn’t and decide what traits you need to find in a person who will work for you.You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to stick to your goals when you actually know what you’re doing.

So, take a step back and re-live all your failures right now to get a game plan going. Hell, if you’ve already failed on your resolution this year, you’ve already got a head start to making adjustments to succeed. Rather than the motto, “New Year, New Me”, let’s say “New Year, Wiser Me” for 2014.

P.S., I have a limited number of spots open for online personal training. This method has worked wonders in terms of holding clients accountable, establishing sustainable lifestyle habits, and total training programming. If you’re interested, apply for your free consultation here

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