I just read Bhrett McCabe’s TPI article and love it. Dr. McCabe is a clinical psychologist and a frequent contributor on MyTPI for mental coaching for sports performance. The title of the article peaked my interest, We Induce Failure: Therefore Our Students Succeed. It contains some great golf drills as well as an explanation of an approach you can use right away in how you process your successes and failures. I employ the failure-inducing technique he describes in my nutrition coaching practice and in the gym with great success.
In summary, failure is good. And if you want to succeed, then induce failure.
In nutrition coaching, we work on the one-habit method. The habit is determined by the client with input from me and scaled to the client’s confidence level of 9 -10 (on a scale of 1 – 10). When the client is confident then it’s the right daily habit to tackle. The client tracks daily compliance to the habit, like eat every 2 – 4 hours, on a form and notes pertinent information about how they feel and what works in relation to the previously-determined outcome goal of more energy, better mood, stamina, etc. They also track information about each challenge or situation that occurs when they are not compliant with the habit. I let them know that I look forward to examining the successes and the failures because we can build on the success and troubleshoot the failures. The failures are a reflection of their actual life and the purpose of coaching with me. The failures are the best way for us to get to the issues we need to work on.
We know no-one is 100% compliant with all good habits, but as we troubleshoot the failures or non-compliance we can move closer to 85 or 90% compliance. In nutrition, you can reach most of your goals and build lifelong habits with 90% compliance.
Example: Joshua A. skips breakfast, has a high sugar/caffeine drink late morning, skips lunch, loads up on snacks in the afternoon when he is famished, eats a healthy dinner and then grazes until bedtime. Complains of no energy or stamina on the golf course, poor sleep and weight gain. We decide in coaching to work on the habit of eating every 2 – 4 hours beginning first thing in the morning.
Sounds simple enough and Joshua feels 9 out of 10 that he can eat every 2 – 4 hours each day for 14 days. On day 7, we meet again and discuss the week. Joshua reports that it was much harder than he first thought because he wasn’t hungry and kept forgetting to eat. He also found himself in situations where he didn’t have access to food and wasn’t going to be able to get food until past the 4 hour mark. However on day 4, he realized that if he kept a cooler in the car with some bars and prepared snacks/meals that he would be able to eat more frequently on those busy days. He found some bars he liked and bought more groceries like eggs and fruit to have in the morning.
Over the weeks, Joshua worked on thinking ahead and preparing for a whole day’s worth of meals, shopping with meals and snacks in mind to make the week go easier. Every few weeks, we stacked on more daily behavioral habits once compliance was reliably high. With the daily practices of troubleshooting the failures Joshua discovered the great energy he gained from combining protein, fat and fruits/veggies in the morning and afternoon to help with better moods, focus and that it also gave him more stamina and energy. Joshua lost about 6 pounds, mostly fat, the first month and felt a lot more efficient in his workouts.
Tracking compliance to a habit induces clear focus on failures and successes. Inducing failure to get to the real issues leads to discovery and knowing yourself. Examine your failures for greater insight and reset daily behaviors for lasting change.
Thank you, Dr. McCabe for the inspirational article and for assuring us that failure is one of the best things to happen for achieving success.