Failure is not an Option, it’s a Requirement

I have noticed a major trend in the workout world for those who are not professing athletes: most people do not admit they are working out until after they reach their weight loss goal. They are afraid they will publicly fail.

Based on my observations, when the average woman contemplates “healthy” she thinks about losing weight. She considers how she looks to everyone around her, and what clothing size fits her. When the average man thinks what “healthy” means to him, it likely involves some sort of muscle gain.

The women who tend to be in the limelight are “thin-spiration” models, like those who pose on magazine covers and spout promises to cut back on belly fat before the summer time beach vacation. Men who pose on magazines spend years perfecting their diets and exercise pursuits to get ripped, yet the magazines promise to give you a Spartan six-pack in a few weeks’ time.

It’s easy to feel inadequate posting about small achievements at the gym when we don’t look like the epitome of beauty that faces us in every grocery store, mall, or advertisement. Who cares about running a measly mile for the first time when you’re worried you’ll be judged for carrying around that extra baby weight? Who gets excited about lifting a mere 150 pounds when your friend can lift 350?

So much of our lives are spent subconsciously being told how inadequate we are and how much we need to change to find happiness. Combine these messages of inadequacy with our society’s disdain of failure, and we breed a culture of young men and women who pursue only that which they know they can achieve.

But that’s not healthy, my friends. You will never push past your limitations until you learn what they are. We have a problem in our culture of hiding away failure and only showing success. The age of social media makes this easier, but this innate need to prove we lead perfect lives has existed long before our Facebook accounts.

I want you to fail.

The harder you work to push through your physical limitations, the more confidence you gain. After a few months you’ll start to adapt and realize that if you try hard enough, you can achieve anything. Failure won’t bother you anymore, because you’ll be so proud of yourself for trying.

Three Steps to Achieving Success through Failure

Step 1: Imagine the Healthy You and pursue that person with your heart and soul, whatever that looks like — one less soda a day, one yoga class a week, nightly meditation, cardio 3 times a week, 150 lb bench press. Your success is first dictated by your mind; if you do not believe you are capable of being healthy, you will never try.

Step 2: Start somewhere. Or as the clever Nike slogan has burned into my brain: just do it. Stop thinking of your limitations before you even make an attempt to get into the gym. Minimize the excuses in your life that keep you from trying.

Step 3: Push yourself and Fail. Pick something to tackle that’s out of reach and fail it until you don’t fail anymore. Work up to that yoga pose that is several weeks out of reach; try climbing a 5.9 when you can only complete 5.6’s; try to max out (with a spotter) on the bench press. You can’t go through life pretending to be the best at everything all the time. Truly the only way to grow is to first fail.

Failure is not an option; it’s an expectation. It’s a prerequisite for success. I want you to push yourself to try something out of reach so that you always have a goal toward a healthier you. When you achieve it, it makes your success so much sweeter.

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