You are, you know. Going to fail. I don’t mean ultimately. That’s really up to you, but somewhere along the way you will fail. Let’s face it, your goal is probably something challenging. Maybe it’s losing a certain amount of weight. Maybe it’s getting your cholesterol down. Maybe it’s being able to get up and down from the floor. Whatever it is, there will be times when you stumble on your path to achieving it.
Our perception of failing is typically tied to following our initial plan exactly. Perhaps part of your diet plan is, “I will not eat desserts.”, but then, you attend a birthday party and the birthday cake wins the battle. Afterward, you feel that you have failed, and then, a week later, some other dessert opportunity gets the better of you. “Why even bother! I’m such a failure! I can’t do this.” This is your turning point.
You have a number of choices you can make. Many, frustrated, just give up. Some, keep trying with the same plan and continue to fail and feel badly. Others look at their situation, analyze what happened that threw them off, and change their plan to better handle that situation. It’s all a big experiment. You have an idea of how it should go (your hypothesis), you test it, if it works…great. If it doesn’t, you look at why and make new plan with your next best guess. Test it, repeat, repeat, repeat until you ultimately reach your goal.
Don’t judge yourself for failing. Failing is a part of learning and learning is what’s going to get you to your goal.
I know that the idea of men not asking for directions is a stereotypical, but, there is an underlying issue that makes this true for many. That is ego. Many men don’t like admitting that they don’t know something, don’t know how to do something, need help with something, are wrong about something, and/or are not as good with something as they thought they were. Somewhere along the line we were socialized into believing these scenarios are somehow a threat to our egos.
Don’t get me wrong. Having a healthy ego (or good self-esteem) is great! But, when that ego is easily damaged, walls are put up that usually create more problems.
When it comes to working out and taking care of our health (you knew I’d get around to this, didn’t you?), the ego can take a beating from a lot of things, like not knowing how to use a piece of gym equipment, not looking like other gym members, not using as much weight as the guy (or woman) next to you, or not getting the results you think you should be getting. There are a lot of reasons why this may be the case and none of them should damage your ego.
Not knowing how to use a piece of gym equipment: You are new to the gym and they have some equipment that you don’t know how to use. Ask a trainer for help.
Not looking like other gym members: You are not the average member. Many clubs vary in demographics, younger/older, more women/more men, more hard-core/more laid back, etc. Either look for a club more in line with you or just keep on going and not worry about it.
Not using as much weight as the guy (or woman) next to you: They’ve probably been at it longer. Maybe you got injured or have been away from the weights for a while, and you shouldbe going lighter with a more gentle approach. Maybe you just haven’t been training appropriately or eating properly to support strength gains. Talk to a trainer and/or a registered dietician.
Not getting the results you think you should be getting: Definitely talk to a personal trainer and/or a registered dietician. Something is going on that you don’t understand. Find someone who does.
The ego thing is a little like failing at some task or venture that you take on. Many see failure as, well, failure. The insightful ones, however, see it as a chance to learn, to grow. Don’t let your fear of a damaged ego stop you from progressing. If you are not where you want to be, ask for help… ask for directions.