Maybe the Opposite of Harder is Different

“You can’t do what you did to get here if you want to get there!” – Coach Martin Rooney

I’m working with a new coaching client.  We met last week for our bi-weekly assessments, i.e., weight and circumference measurements.  More than occasionally, clients will preface our measurements with phrases such as, “I had a bad week” or “The numbers aren’t gonna be good.”

First off, that’s just what they are—numbers.  Or more “scientifically”, data.  Taking measurements, or assessing, simply allows us to see what’s working (or not), what’s going well (and we need to do more of), or what needs a little more TLC (don’t go chasing waterfalls).  The numbers may be indicative of what the client has done or not done, but it certainly is not indicative of who they are.  They are simply a tool in the decision-making process.  I draw attention to this because what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get managed.

Now, back to my client.  As we made our way toward the scale, he informed me he hadn’t had the best two weeks.  I asked him why.  He explained.  His situation was unique . . . just like everyone else’s.

Anyway, we weighed, and we measured.  He had lost one-half pound.  Now, that doesn’t seem like much (and honestly, it’s not), but given his last two weeks, he was dumbfounded.  I reviewed his bi-weekly consistency chart to see if he’d been practicing his habit, which was to eat to 80% full.  Of the 14 days, he had about half the time.

Most people who’ve taken the least bit of interest in fitness and nutrition have heard of the “80/20 rule”.  If not, it suggests that if you eat nutrient-dense foods 80% of the time, then you can be a little indulgent 20% of the time.  And I think it’s a pretty good rule (more of a guideline, though).  As a matter of fact, I inform clients that if they follow the principles or guidelines I share 80% of the time, they’ll achieve some remarkable results.  Anything less than that, and they can expect their results to be less than remarkable.  But, that doesn’t mean they can’t begin achieving their goals, which leads me back to the point I’m trying to make (if I’d only stop getting off-topic).

My client voiced, that although he’d only achieved 50% consistency, the habit wasn’t that hard.  This got me thinking (and now writing), things don’t have to be hard.  Sometimes, they only need to be different.

I asked him, “Although you don’t think it’s hard, is it different?”  To which he replied, “Yes.”  Sure, he wasn’t at 80%, but maybe before embarking on this habit he was following a “0/100 rule”.  And sure, he didn’t find it hard, but it was different.

I often encourage clients not to be perfect, but better.  Perhaps I should now encourage them to be different as well?

I wanna share a testimonial of a client of mine.  She nails this concept—sometimes you need only be different—quite well.  I’d set it up, but I think she does a pretty good job of doing that herself.

“For the last twenty years or so I have been a pretty active person.  I have always maintained activity to counter my poor eating habits and overindulgent behaviors.  I, like so many people, would balance out eating fried chicken with gruesome workouts.  I carried around ten extra pounds despite being very active.  I would have some success getting the extra weight off with diet programs, only to have the weight come back on, as I was not changing my habits.  I believed I would need to work out more aggressively and deny myself the foods that I loved to ever really get anywhere.  I had a trainer on and off for the last fifteen years or so. 

 I began working with Adam Lee in 2016.  I must admit, before I started training with Adam I judged his style.  Often, I would be training next to him and his clients.  It seemed like his clients were doing less than I was in the gym.  I could not understand how his style of training could get results for anyone.  However, it was important for me to keep training in my current location and that meant training with Adam.  So, I gave it a try.  

 Adam has helped me to understand that less is more.  Also, my form matters tremendously.

I have had some results that I did not think were possible.  I ended up losing about fifteen pounds.  I am in the best shape of my life at 42.  It’s funny how we can come by success in the places we least expect it.  Adam pushed me to stay on track with my goals.  He continues to push me today to be better and to do better.  Most importantly his influence has driven me to want to help others reach their goals in any way that I can.” 

I can attest.  Just as she watched me coach my clients, I watched her.  She did work hard.  She still works hard.  But she now works differently too.

Are you working harder at the same things expecting different results?  Perhaps you do need to work a little harder, maybe you don’t.  Maybe, though, you only need to do things differently . . . if only a little.