“Learning to fall: Learn how to fall, and you’ll learn how to fly.”
Every sport or activity has its version of “learn to fall down”.
Falling down, screwing up, wiping out — whatever you want to call it — is inevitable whenever you take a risk.
If you’re afraid of falling, you’ll never get out on that bike, or that surfboard, or on that horse. You’ll never try anything, or learn anything new, or grow.
But if you accept that falling is part of the game, learn to do it safely, and commit to getting right back up immediately, then nothing will stop you.
If you embrace falling, there’s nothing left to fear.
In PA Coaching, we have the Clean Slate Policy.
Whatever you did yesterday doesn’t matter today. Get up, clean the slate, and move on.
That’s our version of “learn to fall down”.
The risk hierarchy
We actually encourage you to “practice falling.”
This means you practice the situations that challenge you, allowing the possibility that you might indeed screw them up.
This helps you get better at dealing with those situations in the future, even if you don’t do well at it the first few times.
For instance, when it comes to eating well and following your habits:
- Do you struggle with holiday dinners, work parties, or dinner parties?
- Does the schedule disruption of traveling or family demands get you off track?
- Is it difficult for you to eat well and exercise when you’re tired or busy?
Regardless of your answers, think about the situations that you find most challenging.
Rather than trying to avoid them at all costs (which you can’t really do in life), think about how you can practice them in advance.
Make a “risk list”
One way to do this is to make a “risk list.”
List the situations that are more or less “risky” for you in terms of sticking to your good habits. For example:
- Most risky: Holiday dinner with nutty relatives
- Sorta risky: Lunch with coworkers
- Least risky: Grocery shopping
Then it’s time for some practice.
Start small and easy
Start with the situations that are just a little bit risky.
Don’t tackle the biggest risks just yet.
Strategize and prepare in advance
Visualize the risky scene (like we’ve taught you).
Imagine all the things that could happen. Come up with possible solutions beforehand.
Have a safety net. This means having something (or someone) that will cushion you, or keep you from spinning out of control.
Face the fall
Now put yourself in the uncomfortable situation on purpose, but this time with a plan in mind. Observe what it feels like to be there.
If you fall, fall. It’s OK. After all, you were prepared. Then get right back up. Immediately.
If you succeed, give yourself a high-five and cross that risk off the list. You did it!
Wait, what? Are you guys asking me to try nutritionally tough situations… on purpose!?
YES! The more you succeed at anticipating and managing tiny risks, the more you’ll be able to deal with the major ones.
And the more you learn that falling isn’t a big deal, the less afraid you’ll be to do it.
Over time, you can work your way up the “risk hierarchy” to take on bigger and bigger challenges. In the meantime, as always, give yourself lots of padding and room to wipe out.
Here is the quick summary from today’s learning:
Recognize that falling is inevitable.
It’s normal. It’s OK. It’s part of the process.
Make your “risk list”.
Think of situations that challenge you to stick to your healthy habits. Then rank them in order of difficulty. We’ll help you get started, but feel free to make a bigger list.
Pick one of the easiest “risky situations”.
Tackle it this week or weekend.
If you fall, that’s OK. Get up immediately and keep going. If you succeed, give yourself a high-five and cross that risk off the list. You did it!
“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”
Like the Japanese proverb says. Just get right back up after a spill. No biggie.
Unlike a video game, in PA Coaching you get as many tries as you like!
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