If you fail, it’s your own goddamn fault
When is the last time you heard someone say “I was doing great on my diet, but then some maniac kidnapped me, tied me down, put a gun to my head, forced me to eat a dozen pieces of pizza, and told me that if I ate anything healthy ever again he was going to kill me and my whole family”? Never, right? Because that would be insane. But it would probably also make for a blockbuster rom-com.
How about “I was doing great on my diet, but then I ruined it by having a couple of Oreos, so I said fuck it and ate two extra large pizzas and a tub of ice cream and I’m a failure so I’m just not going to bother any more”? It happens, a lot. And it’s just as insane.
I partially blame this all-or-nothing 110%-all-the-goddamn-time attitude on society and the media, but that’s a rant for another time. Perfection is the enemy of progress.
Unfortunately, I personally still prefer cheesecake to broccoli, and probably always will. So I’ve had to figure out ways to let myself have the things I love without turning into a cheap parody of Jabba the Hutt, but without the hot slavegirl (note: I am accepting applications for the currently vacant position of slavegirl. The Contact Us link on the left works just fine). It turns out that staying on track most of the time but still letting yourself indulge a little occasionally is a lot more maintainable and fun than the 110% on/off mentality that many people seem to have.
When you fail, when you give up, it’s your own goddamn fault. When you quit, that is your choice. No one else’s. You were lazy.
You decided that “this is just too hard, and I don’t care enough” and that change was less important than comfort. And if that is what you want to do and be, own it. Don’t blame anyone else, and don’t make up excuses. If you are going to be a fat, lazy slob, be the best goddamn fat lazy slob that you can be. Don’t let anyone make you be less fat or lazy. Who gives a shit about health anyways, right? But you haven’t failed until you quit.
If it’s worth doing, you will push through the discomfort of changing things. You will look at the habits that cause you to fail, and work on changing them. Oh, and that whole “21 days to form a habit” thing you hear all the time? Mostly bullshit. Research1 suggests that takes somewhere between 18 to 254 days to form a solid habit, with an average of 66 days for fairly simple ones.
So, give it three months. At least. And if you eat an extra oreo cookie? That’s about an extra 15 minutes on the treadmill or exercise bike. If you eat two entire pizzas and a tub of ice cream? That’s two weeks worth of hard work and dedication wiped out. Either way, you can choose to do one of two things afterwards: fail, or pick yourself up and continue. You haven’t failed until you quit. So don’t quit right now, no matter if you slipped a bit or not. Sleep on it first.
But if you choose to fail, don’t blame someone else. Figure out what it is inside you that made you choose to fail. And maybe work on that first. You can always give it another shot later.
It’s your choice.
- Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C. H. M., Potts, H. W. W. and Wardle, J. (2010), How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40: 998–1009. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.674 ↩