Sunday, April 05, 2009

Picking at Nits: Wish Me Luck Edition

I may bother some folk with today's post, but I've got to get this off my chest. I see it all the time at Gyminee, and only rarely at John Stone Fitness Forums. I don't pay enough attention to see it anywhere else, but I know it's out there. Anyway, here's today's nit:

People set a goal, say losing twenty pounds, announce it, and then say, "Wish me luck!"

It's the luck part that bothers me. You see, I don't believe luck has anything to do with it. To imply that it does, I think, sets people up for failure. Oh, I didn't lose the weight. What bad luck! Of couse, there are others that will blame themslves for having poor will-power, which I don't necessarily agree with either. Both of these situations, blaming luck or blaming will-power shifts the focus away from where it frequently needs to be: on the method.

Not able to lose 20 pounds on an extreme low-carb diet, and cheating all the time? Must have low will-power, right? No, perhaps your body is telling you that it would, indeed, like some fruit and grains once in a while. It's time to rethink or readjust.

Not losing any weight even though you're eating all low-fat food? Must be bad luck, eh? Probably not. Have you been looking at calories? If not, you'll probably be surprised to find that a lot of low-fat foods have added sugars. (And vice versa.) Time to change your plan a bit.

You get the idea. If something isn't working, don't jump right to will-power, and certainly don't blame luck. Here's an analogy: Have you ever seen a mechanic say, "wish me luck" before going to work on the car? Does he blame himself for not being able to diagnose the problem right away? No, of course not. He tinkers and fiddles, determination on his face, until he figures it out, testing the system properly before making each change, like a scientist.

Yes, it's all about science. When we make these changes in our lives, whether losing weight or becoming faster in a sport, we need to take act as methodological scientists.

Luck doesn't enter into it. Luck is for lottery tickets against ridiculous odds. Luck is for kicking a ball through the goal posts against a number of uncontrollable variables. Luck is for anything we can't fully control.

This, however, we can fully control. Luck doesn't enter into it. That's good news.

No comments: