Photo by Nathan Cowley
We know what we need to do but those two things get in the way, and we start to tell ourselves we will fail. We tell ourselves about our past failures and begin to create a narrative that supports an identity of a person who doesn’t succeed, doesn’t get things done, and doesn’t follow through.
And once you hear this enough – internally or externally – you begin to believe these statements as truth.
BUT in reality, this is not your true self. It might be true that you have failed an attempt to become more healthy. It might even be true you have failed multiple times on this path.
This is OK! It’s necessary for the process of change. You actually have to be the person who does not succeed in order to succeed.
Sound confusing? Let me break it down.
First, you have to recognize change is a process.
We tend to set a goal and see it in black and white, if I don’t get to X, I have failed. This could be getting to a particular weight, reaching a number of miles, faster time, or any other pin point you set for yourself.
It isn’t that you won’t get there, however, it might take you more stages than a single shot moment. You may have underestimated the work and effort or time it will take to reach your goal.
Second, you may need more information on how to make sure you are successful and that includes why you haven’t been successful in the past.
Maybe you are bored with your current lifestyle and want to find a new way to stay on track and re-energize your spirits.
This month we dropped a full workout for our newsletter crew members and last month they got a quick easy breakfast recipe packed with veggies, good fats, and solid protein to keep you fueled for the adventures in your life.
If these are interesting to you, sign up for our newsletter (in sidebar & footer) and become a Studio B-er, creating your best life full of the ABCs to great: Adventure, Brilliance, and Curiosity.
Batching food can be a life saver for busy weeks, and will help you stay on track even when you are tired. If that’s interesting to you check out last month’s video, link is below, on how to successfully batch food.
Now, back to failure and how SO many of us deal with this fear.
Fear often keeps us from fully engaging or even starting. This is why today, we are going to make sure this is not your experience any more!
We are going to talk about two things:
One, how to face this fear head on and two, how to push it out of the way.
First, in order to face fear head on, we need be honest about the fear itself.
We often speak to it, but then want to move away from the uncomfortable feelings as soon as possible. Instead we want to embody our experiences. This means we want to feel the physical sensations of this emotion or thought.
All experiences start in the body and by examining them from an embodied place we become better at determining what we need to do in this moment.
This makes us better at making choices based on our internal wisdom, and helps us reach our goals.
The better we get at listening to our own knowing the less we quit looking outside ourselves for answers and the better we get at honoring our own bio-individuality.
This makes our workouts, meal plans, social experiences more healthy for us and easier to stick to. So embodied experience … makes us more successful in the long run.
We are going to break down how you can face this fear into three parts.
The first part is to start, allow yourself to feel your fear.
As you examine it, feel where it lives in your body. What are the physical sensations of it? Does it have a shape, a color, a dimension?
What thoughts come up when you feel it? Memories you have of past times you have failed in similar situations? Statements others have said to you about your progress or lack of it? Whose voice is it? And where do these thoughts and memories impact your body?
Do you feel tightness, tension, relaxed, hot, cold, heavy, light. We are looking for adjectives to describe your experience. You don’t have to figure out what or why you feel what you feel.
Part two: Where did the fail really happen.
It is likely that you didn’t fail at the whole thing, but at some point you quit doing what you needed to do to complete it. Or at least quit enough of the actions that it was not going to work out.
Look beyond the obvious and determine the layers of the failure. Did you fail on a logistical level, planning phases, or maybe unexpected events derailed you?
Really look at the whole process and notice where you were set up for success, and where you were not. Ask yourself, honestly, what did you really fail at?
Part three examine your fear of failing again now.
Does this fear come into play to help you make sure you do not have to work hard at your goal?
Does it allow you to continue a story about your life and your person that feels comfortable? How does it reinforce the identity you believe to be true about yourself?
Look at your relationships and see if holding this identity keeps you connected to others you care about?
For example, if you shift your exercise and lose weight does that disconnect you from your partner, best friend, family members?
Will the actions you have to take to be successful take you away from loved ones? Does this recognition, subconscious or consciously, result in criticism or undermining behavior by your loved one to get to go back to “normal” routines?
What about those who you have played small for? These are the folks that tear you down and hold you back. They are the ones that do not want to see you … or maybe anyone else succeed.
They may ridicule or even use verbal or emotional abuse to keep you in the powerless position so they can feel more powerful. They may be those you are afraid to confront or who have judged you in the past.
If you can, get far far away from them. Or at least keep them far, far away from your vulnerability and fear regarding your goals, hopes, and dreams. They are not a coach in your corner.
Now on to number two, how to push it out of the way.
Finally, it’s time to take the information you got from examining the 3 parts we just talked about and shift your focus.
Once we have accurate data to support what really happened in our past endeavors we can get really clear about how to do it differently this time. Some of the common one’s I hear are about planning problems, difficulties with family and friends, and lack of accountability.
Here are some questions and action steps you can take to shift the focus:
If you have a planning problem ask yourself:
How can you plan differently this time? What part of your planning failed? How could you eliminate this issue now?
If you’re believing old mental tapes and other people’s judgment statements:
It is time to record some new material! Toss the negative nellies from your coaching circle and hype yourself up! You can find lots of inspiration online, through music, and watching or interacting with others working on a similar goal.
Or is it about your culture and loved ones feeling left behind by your goal attainment and success behaviors?
This example is more common than you think, if this is you maybe you need a good sit down and talk through your observations and feelings with them.
Maybe you can work on your schedule so that the activities you need to do to be successful work in and around your family and friend time.
Just remember, you have choices when it comes to what you eat at the potluck, which beverages you consume, and how much time you spend watching TV and sitting on the couch.
If there are activities you no longer what to do with friends and fam – like plow through a whole back of chips while kicking it on the couch or downing pints of beer over free peanuts it is time to come up with new active things you can do together or host the potluck at your house, bring a dish to share you know you can eat – even if it’s the only one you can eat.
Learn how to craft mocktails and sample non-alcoholic options to find what fits you. This is a growing market and is not your parents n/a beer. You might be surprised how popular your new beverage is at the party.
With some new, but fun options, you can join the party and enjoy reaching your goals at the same time.
These are the tools to face your fear head on and push it out of the way. But this blog post isn’t going to solve all your problems …
In reality we all need help and support. It is an act of strength to ask for help.
When we are facing a situation where we really want to accomplish a new health goal, but feel plagued by past experiences and fear of failing at our efforts again, it may serve you best to hire a professional.
Gathering a dedicated team in your corner can be the difference between reaching your goal or failing again.
With a good coach or psychologist you have accountability.
You also have someone you can share your fear and shame with, who can help externally monitor your narrative to help you identify places you might be turning toward your old patterns.
People need other people. When we socialize our goals we are more likely to succeed.
If we only rely on our family and friends they may get burnt out by the efforts we need to put into our goals, the amount of time it will really take us to achieve our dreams, and the shifts we’ll have to make in old habits they might have a bias in maintaining.
Coaches can help you examine what didn’t work last time without your emotional ties.
If you feel like this will help you, check out our amazing professionals at Studio B. You can learn about us on our website, the link is below.
Coaches may be able to honestly take stock of what worked and what didn’t where you struggle to see any positives.
Plus, with their experience they can normalize your process, help you see common issues, and navigate around things you don’t even know are going to be obstacles.
Because they do this all the time they can share common pitfalls with you and help you avoid them all together.
In the end, success never comes without failure.
All the greats know this.
They openly speak about their failures because they know they are just points for learning how to succeed.
If you can take an objective view you will be able to learn from the parts that went wrong, change them based on your new learning, and capitalize on the parts that went well.
So if you are whispering to yourself the message that you are afraid of failing again and not moving toward your healthier self, it is time to take a moment to analyze your past behavior, address the issues, and apply the learning.
Look into hiring a solid support team to help hold you accountable and make your journey more effective and efficient.