I used to think about failure as…well, failure. As a bad thing. But as I’ve worked on how I think about things this last year I realized that I’ve missed out on some really important lessons. I’ve learned that evaluating each failure brings with it important steps to getting better and getting it right the next time. Or the next.
One of my favorite lessons from my mentor, Brooke Castillo, is the reminder of how babies learn to walk. They are the masters of failing right. They don’t let falling down keep them from trying again. They fall over and over again while learning. Each time they hit the ground and get up again they make their muscles stronger. They develop the strength and the balance to succeed because they fall. Not in spite of it. The failing is what builds their skill. It is the key!
Now I’m learning to take a closer look each time I fail. My latest example has to do with a tech challenge I was having with my blog. I didn’t get all the tasks done that I had committed to a couple of weeks ago because I was stuck on a certain task. I tried multiple different ways. I tried watching YouTube videos to figure it out. I watched tutorials. I was frustrated. The old me would have given up. The old me would have stayed stuck.
Instead I took a look at the failure. I listed all the things that went right.
– I figured out other parts of the program
– I learned to take breaks when I was frustrated
– I acknowledged my feelings
– I figured out other tasks I could do when I was frustrated that kept me moving in the right direction
– I kept my mind open for other options that might work
– I showed up and didn’t quit
– I worked on it after work, even when I was tired
– I caught myself saying “there’s not enough” time and re-framed my thinking to “there’s plenty of time” (this is a lesson for another day – powerful stuff)
Only after I filled my brain with the good stuff, I listed what didn’t go right:
– Didn’t figure out the original program I wanted to use
– Didn’t figure out how to link the program I was trying as a second option
– Found more tweaks I needed to make on my website (this alone would have derailed me in the past)
– Underestimated how long this task would take
Then I listed what I would do differently next time:
– I would have figured out the tech before planning a launch
– I would hire someone who is good at this tech stuff
– I will build a road map of stuff that needs to be figured out before a launch so I would be more prepared next time
Doing this process created an amazing brain shift for me. The next day, instead of feeling discouraged, I was empowered to push through the negative feelings. I ended up figuring it out. And it felt so good to have figured it out myself. I learned that I can do hard things outside my comfort zone. I realized that if I do this with every fail of 2019 I will have a treasure trove of valuable lessons to build on.
For 2019 I’m planning a goal that is way bigger than what I think I can actually accomplish. I’m excited for the person I will become in the attempt. I have a list of planned fails for the 1st quarter of the year. These are things that will stretch me and if I learn from each of them I can’t help but grow. When the quarter is over I will evaluate each win and each fail and then plan more fails for the next quarter. And so on. I’m looking forward to sharing what I learn with you. It’s a fresh way to look at New Year goals.
What will you create in 2019 for yourself?
One of the keys to sticking to your nutrition plan is food prep. It can sometimes feel that you just don’t have time to do food prep. However, once you get the process down it can save you even more time during the week.
In an article on the website The Lean Green Bean, author Lindsay Livingston gives 5 steps to making it easier. Check out the full article to learn more. The first step lays the foundation to a successful food prep: Make a Plan!
This can be full recipes or simply a list of food components. It does not have to be every single thing you’re going to eat next week or even full meals. The goal is to just make a list of food items you could prep that will make your life easier.
I usually keep my food prep really simple:
Do you food prep? Share your ideas in the comments.
Using a hunger scale is one of the basic habits that has helped me lose 49 pounds and keep it off. When I first started using it I had many “light bulb” moments that highlighted how often I was eating for reasons other than physical hunger. Using a hunger scale is an important component to shift from mindless eating to more mindful eating. There are many versions of the scale and you can customize one that works for you. I wrote previously about how to use a hunger scale for weight loss here.
In the post Mindful Eating: What It Is & Why You Should Try It by Alissa Rumsey, the author describes mindful eating this way:
Mindful eating is being conscious about what we are eating and why. It is about getting back in touch with the experience of eating and enjoying our food. What it is not: a diet. Eating mindfully does not place “good” or “bad” labels on foods. Instead, the goal is to base our meals and food choices on physical cues like hunger, rather than emotional triggers like stress or unhappiness.
The article gives tips for how using a hunger scale can help you practice mindful eating.
Get the full article for more detail on how to implement the practice and gain the benefits. If you want more information on the basic habits needed for successful weight loss you can get my free 7-day email course.
In the U.S. it’s estimated that we eat more than 60% processed foods. In the Medium article The United States Has an Epidemic of Processed Foods – And it’s Killing Us, author Manya Goldstein tells the story of how she was diagnosed with a chronic illness and how it led to her search for answers. Traditional medical care only provided partial answers and prescriptions to control symptoms. Until she sought a holistic practitioner she never considered that her food could be part of the problem.
Wait, what? Back up a second. Our food choices can’t really matter that much, I thought.
I mean, c’mon, it’s just food. And besides, I have a nervous system problem. The doctors gave me a diagnosis; they say its chronic. I’m just trying to control my symptoms a little better.
The article summarizes the problems associated with processed food and also tackles many of the issues with our current recommended nutritional guidelines. It’s a meaty article but I recommend you read her whole post. It’s chock full of great information.
Making better lifestyle choices can help prevent many chronic diseases. And those with chronic disease can improve and sometimes reverse their disease with lifestyle improvements such as avoiding processed foods. If you need help with making better choices with your food, get on the list to be notified when sign ups happen for our Upgrade Your Diet course.
One of the basic habits for successful, long term weight loss is getting enough sleep. I wrote about this previously. A new post on WebMD tells us that Sleepless Nights Could Make Pastries Hard to Resist.
After a night of lost sleep, the participants’ brain images showed increased activity in a circuit between the amygdala and hypothalamus, which is involved in food intake. This suggests sleep loss increased the desirability of food compared to non-food rewards, Peters said.
Previous findings have shown that hormonal changes after a sleepless night can affect appetite, but this study shows that changes occur in the brain as well. The good news is that paying attention to getting enough sleep can help us to achieve our weight loss goals. One of the best ways to improve your sleep is to have a nighttime routine for winding down and getting to bed on time.
What is your nighttime routine?
As we close out 2018 and look towards the new year you may be looking to write your 2019 goals. As you plan, look to these four areas of your life and plan ways you can be more intentional in your growth.
One of the best things I’ve done for myself and my personal growth has been to develop a morning routine. I used to get up at the last minute to get ready for work and would head out the door feeling groggy and rushed. A couple of years ago I decided to be more intentional about how I start my day and it’s made all the difference for me. I show up at work now energized after taking care of myself knowing that I’ve already accomplished some of my most important tasks.
Read more about how to make over your mornings here.
As you look at your 2019 goals is important to consider who you spend time with. Who are you hanging out with most of the time? Who are your mentors? Make sure you surround yourself with people who stretch you and encourage you to grow.
What do you spend your free time doing? Are you doing things that help you reach your goal or are you doing activities that keep you in your comfort zone and stagnant? Evaluate how you will spend your time going forward. What activities will you include that help you reach your goal and what activities will you cut out or decrease?
What are you reading? Reading (or listening to audio books) can be one of the best ways to learn and grow. But only if you take action on what you’re learning. Check out the books I’ve read in 2018 here. Listening to podcasts can be another way to learn and take action.
The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, seemingly insignificant habits. These habits, repeated daily, on a consistent basis don’t seem like much in the moment. But over time, the Compound Effect kicks in and the payoff is amazing. The book The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is one of my favorites for building good, consistent habits.
One of the books I read this year is High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. In this book there are 6 types of habits that high performers share:
Check out the book for more details on how to develop each habit.
Working on your mindset every day is so important. Believing that you can achieve your 2019 goals is a crucial part of your success. Step into the mindset of the person that has hit your goal. What does that person think and do? What decisions would he or she make in each situation?
If you are working on a weight loss goal I’d love to have you join me in the Upgrade Your Diet course. This is a great way to work on your mindset around weight loss and dieting. Get on the waiting list here: Upgrade Your Diet: New Habits*New Thinking*New You
New session starts January 2nd.