Ever feel like you’re taking two steps forward and three steps back when it comes to losing weight? It’s time to learn how to use your failures to your advantage.
Once at a restaurant, the waitress had a young man training with her. When the trainee came with our waters, all five water glasses slipped right off his tray. It was quite a mess but luckily, none of us got wet. He was obviously embarrassed. Every time that young man came back to our table, he made some kind of joke about the water incident.
When he brought the bread, he exclaimed, “Should have brought the raincoats!” When he set an entrée down, “Watch out here I come!” When he refilled the water, “Beware, hurricane approaching.” And on and on he went, reminding us of his mistake with each visit. After awhile, his comments that started off funny became a bit irritating. We had forgotten all about his water incident by the time the check came, but he obviously had it front and center on his mind.
We can be like that young server, can’t we? After we’ve made a mistake, we constantly remind ourselves of our shortcomings instead of moving on. So take a lesson home from my experience in this restaurant. The next time you fail in your diet, exercise, or life in general:
1. Forgive yourself. You are human which means you will inevitably make mistakes. Give yourself some growing room. Through your mistakes, you will learn vastly more than through your successes if you allow them to teach you something.
2. Don’t strive for perfection; strive for improvement. If you want to make yourself unhappy, try to be perfect all the time (or expect perfection from others). Instead, strive to learn and grow each day. Celebrate incremental growth.
3. Journal about your errors. Write down the mistake you made and then write what you would do differently next time. By taking time to do this, you can avoid the mistake in the future and implement a solution instead. When you close your journal, forget your mistake. Don’t beat yourself up one more minute about your error.
So the next time you made a mistake, perhaps you can think about the waiter in training I met. Don’t remind yourself over and over of your failures. Laugh and learn from them once and then move on.