They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (As a side note, when I was checking the quote I came across this post from a few years ago in Psychology Today which is basically a rant about just how wrong that quote is. But that is neither here nor there in regards to my post today.)
This post is about ruts. The ruts we all get into, whether in fitness, work, family, writing, or just about any life situation you can imagine.
I am reminded of my youngest son’s third grade teacher. My son was having a few problems grasping math and I had a conference with the teacher. He said to me, “I keep telling these kids how to do this but they just can’t get it right!” Seriously. Not only blaming the
victims students, but obviously not figuring out that he was doing something wrong, and still expecting that one day “those kids” would get it. (By the way, I had him transferred out of that class the next day.)
I have fallen into this cycle myself. As the manager of a fitness center, we frequently offer promotions and specials, both on training packages and spa treatments. I have been known to use the same special again, even if it didn’t do so well the first time around. I’ll blame things like marketing, not getting the word out, and sometimes that is true. But sometimes that particular promotion is just a loser. I need to accept that and try something else. Case in point was a promotion I ran during February a few years back. Actually for two or three Februarys in a row. A spa special with a chocolate twist (and chocolate scented oils). The problem was, while people love to eat chocolate, they don’t really want to smell like chocolate after their massage. Lesson (finally) learned.
No matter on which side of the political spectrum you fall, we can all generally agree that our politicians must be insane, right? Otherwise why would the keep on trying the same old unsuccessful programs?
Of course I, as a fitness blogger, will relate this idea to training. Two thoughts come immediately to my mind.
Take a runner, who has done several marathons. She is comfortable with the online intermediate level training program she has used for the last few races. Her goal is to qualify for Boston, and based on her times in other races, she has the ability to do so. Yet, her times haven’t improved. Could it be that it is time to change her training strategy?
The other example is something I see year after year as a personal trainer. My clients come to me with specific goals, and I design a program that best suits their needs. However, once they leave the gym, they seem to lose their good common sense, and continue their unhealthy eating and drinking habits. I work in a country club, and my clients are faced daily with the temptation of parties, drinking, and eating out. They know what they must do to reach their goals, yet time after time, they succumb to temptation, then come back to me with their sob story.
It is simple, in theory. If something is not working, we need to make a change. Whether it is insanity or just stubbornness and ignorance that keeps us on the wrong road, we need to realize that we are not moving toward our goal (which means we are either stagnant or moving away from that goal) and make the changes necessary to move in the right direction.
Change is good. And it is essential if what we are doing, whether it is fitness, running, or our jobs, is not working.
Have you ever caught yourself being “insane?” Continuing to do something even though it isn’t working? What did you do to change the cycle?