One of the more common types of posts we see here on 30BaD belong to a certain type of approach, and I'd like to take a moment to explain why it is nonsense.
We see over and over again the idea that "I failed, fell off the wagon, slipped up, gave in, caved... and now I'm starting over!"
Let's have a look at this and see if we can't help correct this flawed approach.
Say you set out to climb a mountain, and after an hour of hiking you step on a loose rock and slip. You stumble and fall and scratch your knee. For a moment you hold your knee, wipe off the blood and then you stand up. Now, upon standing up, do you say to yourself: "I failed!! I fell, and now I have to start all over again!"
Of course you don't. Because even though you fell, you're still an hour into the ascent! You're not back at the beginning; you're not back to selecting the mountain or buying your gear, or driving to base camp. You're an hour into the ascent! And so you pick yourself up and continue climbing, knowing that all you lost was a few minutes and a little blood and sweat, and being a mountain climber you know it's totally natural to stumble here and there, and totally natural to lose a little blood and sweat along the way.
The essential problem with the "I failed" approach is a psychological one, and all that is required to correct it, is a little tweaking of our perspective. When you feel the first stirrings of 'failure mentality' creeping into your thoughts, remind yourself of where you are, how far you've come. When you go a week of HCRV and then you have a cooked meal, remind yourself of the week of HCRV, put the cooked meal (the scratched knee) behind you and continue on, unabated!, all the more experienced at climbing!
So this is my message to all of you who beat yourselves up, who falsely imagine that the cooked meal you had last night was akin to hitting the reset button, and the message is this:
Stand up, dust yourself off, and keep climbing! The rest of the ascent is still in front of you, and the summit still awaits!
"The only failure is the one we name as such"
See also: Why it's ok to "screw up" at first, by Apollonia
if I alter my viewpoint to one of 'It's a journey; pick yourself up and continue', how do I determine how long I've been raw? How do you count?
Oh, it's fine if you wanna count, and set whatever parameters you wish for the specifics. Just don't buy in to the idea that if you get to 'day 35' and then have one cooked meal that you're starting over from scratch. If you wanna say you're then on 'day 1', so be it, but that's not the same 'day 1' as the previous 'day 1' - in other words: you can't discount the 35 days of 100%. So it's a new day 1, with the backing of 35 amazing days, which is much different than going back in time to the old day 1 - everything in you is different because of those 35 days; they don't suddenly not count (that's the main point here). Make sense?
Yes, Jon this makes clear sense. I never saw it this way!
Thank you so much! I feel so much better now. You should see how many times I've crossed out the dates in my log book and wrote 'Failed again: Start Over - Day 1'.
Done with that...forever onward
thank you so much i needed this i started to tear up a lil :) ! this is why i love this site!
I really like this post, very encouraging and true. Also I like the philisophical debate going on, it's good stuff to consider.
Such a great post Jon! Thank you.
Needed this so much right now!
Thank you! Makes me feel tons better about when I slip up. :)
No problem. Self-punishment does no one any good. Staying realistic, focused and consistent through all the ups and downs is the way to success :)
I really needed to read this today. Thank you!!