Monday, 29 January 2018

Stop Getting in Your Own way

"Self handicapping is a cognitive strategy by which people avoid effort in the hopes of keeping potential failure from hurting self-esteem." According to psychologists, people find possible reasons for failing before they even try, in order to make failure (if it happens) easier to explain. You tell yourself on Tuesday that you're not going to do well on your check-in with your trainer this week because you have a party on Saturday and you know you're going to cheat. Or, you'll tell yourself that you probably won't get that raise because your bosses like some other guy in your department more. In both these cases, you've 'padded' your self-esteem with an excuse, which means that you won't feel as bad if you don't get it.

What the f***?! Why don't think you deserve that raise as much as the next guy? Why does one day of wings have to derail an entire week of progress? Says whom?

Me, looking for my goals, longingly
Another strategy people use is something called "task discounting", where we belittle the task in the first place so that failure won't hurt as much. "Fat loss isn't that important," we say to ourselves, "It's all about how you feel, anyway."  Except fat loss IS important to you, and you DO want to feel comfortable in your own skin. When you discount the task, you don't stand up for yourself, and you don't try as hard when it comes to being adherent to your goals. According to one behavioural economist, "The fear of failure can lead to failure in the same way that the fear of judgement can be self-fulfilling."

Why do these constructs even exist? And is it the fear of failure that really gets to us, or fear of success?

What I mean is, are you scared that you're not actually going to lose the weight (or gain muscle, or run a marathon, or whatever your goal is), or are you scared that once you do lose the weight, it won't be as amazing and magical as you expected, and it won't fill that void in your soul? This blog isn't about the WHY behind your goals though, it's about how you need to just cut the shit, and stop getting in your own way.

If you're a self-handicapper, STOP. You DO deserve everything you want, and you can get it by working hard.

If you're a task discounter, STOP. Your goals are important, and hold meaning/value. So there's no reason to diminish them.

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