Reaction and action: choosing between self-sabotage and growth.
Overindulged and now feeling awful? Bad day at the gym and feeling weak, incapable?
Whenever I “fail”, whether it’s eating too much cake, drinking too much, or being unable to perform a specific movement in CrossFit, my first response is guilt (when I did something I shouldn’t have done) or frustration (when I can’t do something). I am getting very involved emotionally, and I can internally rant for quite a long time afterwards.
Breaking news… That attitude is not helpful at all, quite detrimental in fact.
Expressing disappointment is fine but there is no point dwelling on it. What will I achieve if I keep repeating to myself “I’m so frustrated”, “I can’t do that” or “I screwed up”?
Does it make me feel better?
Chances are I am going to keep spiraling down, feeling low and not good enough - about everything. Negativity spreads like wildfire.
I am trying to shift that pattern into something less destructive and more useful. The aim is to take every failure as an opportunity to learn, by going further than the first emotional response of disappointment and frustration.
It doesn’t mean that failure is going to miraculously bring me joy,
but I can learn to deal with it in a more productive way.
1. What went wrong and is that an element I could control?
- If yes, what can I do so the same thing doesn’t happen again? What is the first step towards improvement?
- If not, let it go. Yes it’s hard, but as I often say to myself when a little bit of tough love is necessary: “Suck it up, buttercup”.
2. Don’t let that single thing get you down and cloud your entire vision. It was bad that one time, it doesn’t mean you are bad in general.
3. Move on and start fresh.
As overwhelming as they might sometimes feel, I refuse to let my failures define me and drown me in a pool of negativity. Why would I let that happen when I have the possibility to use them as material for growth?
Whether it’s about fitness, nutrition, work or ANYTHING in life you are in the process of learning (which I personally think is everything), you will face failure along the way. The choice you have is how you respond to it and what you make of it.
"Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn."
- John Maxwell
For further reading, here is a Nerd Fitness article about the “Get the **** over it” plan. A little bit of tough love, a lot of truth and useful tips.