Learning from failure

There is no such thing as failure. There are only results – Tony Robbins.

There are about a million quotes I could have used to open this blog post. I was actually trying to find a quote by Michael Jordan that I like, but couldn’t quite remember off by heart. So I simply looked up failure quotes on google. There were hundreds of quotes all basically saying the same thing, something I personally believe in. Failure is inevitable if you strive toward success. Another thing struck me when looking at the authors of these quotes. I had heard of every single one of them. They were innovators, thinkers, successful in whatever industry they are or had been in. Quite amazing that all the top achieves in the world seem to realise that failure is simply part of solving a puzzle.

This is true in the gym too. Most people go training for a reason. They have a goal. They might not share it with you or me, they might not even know exactly what it is, but I assure you they are there to change something about themselves. They are trying to solve a puzzle. Now that puzzle differs from person to person. It could be the puzzle of:

‘Why my back aches’
‘Why I can’t lose weight’
‘Why I can’t make my muscles bigger’
‘Why I can’t feel better about myself’
‘Why I can’t walk’…
Just a few examples.

The problem with solving puzzles is its often wrought with problems. Failure is something that as we have suggested is inevitable when trying to achieve a goal. S it’s important tag when it’s matters of the body and mind, we frame failure correctly.

Failure is not:

Not achieving your goal
Not getting the desired result from a course of action re: a diet or exercise program
Having a dietary slip up or missing a aiming session
Letting other commitments get in the way of your goals
Changing your goals

Let’s break these down further:

Not achieving your goal – say you set yourself a goal of dropping a dress size by summer. Summer comes around and low and behold despite all your efforts your still no leaner. This is not failure. Its simply a means by which we can analyse where we went wrong. Were you eating correctly? Training properly? Was the goal achievable in the first place? All these are ways of framing your experience into a positive mindset so that you can go on and achieve what you initially set out to do. This also goes for the times when you might get a result from your hard work, but possibly not the desired result. Lets say you’re goal was to put on more muscle. You spend the next 12 weeks LIVING in the gym and working out real hard. Alas the gains you have made were not quite what you had in mind (you’re not exactly busting out of your tshirt…) does this mean you abandon what you were doing? No. You simply make the changes necessary to accelerate the process.

Slip ups and other problems – people tend to throw themselves into things full bore. While this is sometimes admirable, it does leave them open to failure because they don’t allow themselves any room for flexibility. It’s not failure to have a wobble. It’s natural and part of the refining process. Instead of beating yourself up over what HAS happened, use your training indiscretion as a means of motivating you into getting back on track. Again, re frame the negative feeling into a more positive one that’s going to help you achieve your goal.

Changing your goals – unrealistic expectation is not a good thing. Reframing your goals can be a positive experience, and one that can help you be happier in your training. It’s not a failure to achieve, its a reassessment of what is possible given all the extenuating factors. Your training goals should be flexible. Set anything in stone training-wise and its a recipe for disaster.

By using an outcome based approach to your training and nutrition, you can better avoid pitfalls and continually develop your training to solve whatever puzzle you set yourself. The only true failure is to not try at all.


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