On April 5th, 2020, I posted on Facebook and let my friends know that I would be avoiding sugar and red meat on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of that week. And I meant it. I shared it to encourage others to share their commitments as well. I didn't plan to brag about my success. I wasn't sure if I'd even follow up at all about it. "Set it and forget it."
But then, less than 6 hours after I made my commitment, I broke it. So many people read my post and believed in me. I believed in me. It's not a far stretch to assume that some people were inspired to commit to a goal of their own because of my announcement. And there I was at work telling myself that one bite of a lemon loaf was okay. "One bite doesn't even count," I told myself. "One bite has only a few grams of sugar."
One bite quickly turned to the entire loaf. I was starving. I needed sustenance, even if it meant breaking the rules completely. I felt terrible. I let my followers down.
"Should I tell people I failed?" I justified that I would not share my failure, since I hadn't planned on speaking of my success. Plus, I might lose credibility! How is the guy that committed to his health today going to break his commitment so quickly?
After my determination to keep my mouth shut, I went home and cooked salmon and vegetables. I completed some homework. I worked a little bit on editing my book, The Study. And when I turned my computer off to call it a day, I was hit with a revelation, "I HAVE to share my failure with others."
You see, I believe that failure is a teacher, if we allow it to be.
I didn't realize it until I shut my computer, but in my subconscious, I had already built a plan for the rest of the week to avoid falling victim to sugar again. I bought extra food for work so that I wouldn't be as vulnerable to snacking. I would show up prepared in the future. I knew why I failed on Monday, and I was now better equipped as a result.
On the first day of my commitment, I failed, but I also strengthened my chances of success for Wednesday and Friday.
I also learned that it is okay to fail. We are human. We are creatures of habit. We are vulnerable. And even though we have the best intentions, we are bound to fall short. But this cannot let us give up on the big picture. We must instead allow it to teach us. We must give ourselves credit for even trying in the first place.
So I leave you with a message of hope. Just because you have failed in the past, aim high tomorrow.
And do not forget the importance of planning! Set yourself up for success! Think of the goal you have set for yourself:
What obstacles might get in your way tomorrow?
How can you prepare to overcome those obstacles?
What is your "why?" Why is this goal important to you?
I failed on Monday, but I will be better tomorrow as a result. I am happy I failed.
Visit www.jericsorrell.com/5minutes if you'd like to try my one page weekly planning worksheet.