Here we are again folks, time for another blog on a fitness site that is only loosely related to fitness. I’m starting to make a habit of this. I’ve also been noticing a trend recently, and I am a prime culprit of this as well, so I’ve mainly noticed it in myself.
We are all definitely flawed specimens. Even with our best intentions we will make mistakes and put other people out, and even come across as being rude. It happens. I’ve talked before about ignorance and the competency chart and Dunning Kruger. However this trend I’ve been noticing circumvents these things.
Another concept I’ve talked about before is that goal setting is a two edged sword because the act of setting the goal gives the same reward response as actually achieving it so a lot of people set their goals, get the spike and feel accomplished enough to never actually work towards the goal. How good is it to write a list? I’m really good at writing a list and feeling like that’s a good enough job for today.
The last sentence I wrote is the trend I am talking about. There is now a currency in admitting our faults:
“Sorry I’m late, I’m so bad hehe”
“Oh, no sorry I don’t have that, I’m so disorganized haha!”
“Oh, was that today, man, my memory is so bad!!”
“Oh, sorry I didn’t respond, I’m the worst lol”.
The modern day human has a very good way of avoiding the feeling of personal responsibility, which I get. It is hard and uncomfortable to sit with the fact that you have done something not nice for no good reason. Normally the reason is comfort. Now I am certainly not saying that unless you are military on time and respond instantly to every text, email and message you are being rude. Far from it. Nobody can do that, we all have so many moving pieces in our lives. What I am suggesting is that by making an “excuse” by admitting our faults, we can be letting ourselves off the hook for something by blaming it on…DNA…I guess.
In much the same way as we can spin our tyres by setting goals and getting the warm fuzzies from that and never really working towards them, we can excuse our bad behaviour and let ourselves off the hook and never really address it. Conversely it’s really annoying when someone behaves that way to us. You can let the odd whoopsie slide, but habitual lack of regard for other people is intensely frustrating. Our time and emotional investment is precious, and it seems only fair that if one person is investing theirs, it should be reciprocated with, at the very least, clear communication.
I caught myself doing exactly this the other day, I was talking to someone and we got to some line of conversation about hand washing and my response was to joke that “I’m the worst, I really need to spend more time washing my hands, but I’m so lazy sometimes….haha”. That’s not OK. Admitting that I am bad at washing my hands isn’t being endearingly imperfect, it’s conceited. What makes me so special that I can laugh off an important thing to do because “I’m the worst, haha”. I sat with that thought for awhile afterwards, and then washed my hands, properly. It seems like not a big deal, but the principle is actually a really big deal and shows a lack of accountability and a lack of regard for others. It’s really not OK to be bad at washing your hands in the midst of a pandemic. Sort your shit out. I’ve done better since then, probably not hospital grade hands flaking off from too much alcohol sanitiser, but certainly a lot better, and I don’t try to laugh it off any more.
To relate this back to the industry I actually work in, I hear a lot of people, including myself, laugh off the very things that are stopping them achieving something they want.
“I really should have a more balanced program but I just love benching, yo”
“Haha, I’ll probably end up like Johnny Bravo but I just hate squats”
“I’d have such a flat stomach if I didn’t love chips so much hehe”
“I’ve tried every gym in town lol, I can never stick at anything!”
We all like to turn things into a joke because taking it seriously and sitting with an uncomfortable feeling is no fun. However what we do is abdicate responsibility when we do this. Like goal setting with no work towards goals, admitting our faults with no effort to change them isn’t endearing, it’s kind of lame. If you are self aware enough to know what your bad habit is and laugh about it, you have the mental capacity to work towards changing it.
When you laugh off a bad habit and elect not to take responsibility for it, you are letting someone down. You are taking someone’s time and energy and declaring that your comfort is worth more than it. Sadly enough, we do it to ourselves as much as others. When you are habitually late, you are being incredibly rude to the people you are keeping waiting (this article sums it up nicely). When you habitually laugh off your sweet tooth and constant snacking and end up with pre-diabetes, you have really let yourself down. I am not victim blaming people with recognised difficulty in this area (a mental illness can render this self reflection either impossible or impossible to act on – however it is incumbent on us to be more aware of those around us and reflect on whether a person is intentionally rude or fighting a battle we don’t know about), these people, by the very virtue of their condition, take things seriously. However if you have the capacity to acknowledge something you are doing is letting someone down, but still consistently do that thing in spite of this knowledge, that is rude and unacceptable.
Whatever aspect of life this trend may apply to you, take a moment to notice if you are excusing your own bad behaviours. I did recently and it doesn’t feel very nice, but then I wrote a list about it and set some goals and now it’s better.
Seriously though, it is a virtue to be able to accept critique and self reflect and notice when our behaviours are less than what we would hope for. Having a flaw doesn’t make you a flawed person. Working to make sure your flaws have the least negative impact on those around you (including yourself) however, is very admirable.
I guess, at the end of the day if I had one piece of advice that I wish we could all follow, the umbrella under which this piece would sit, it’s this:
Try not to be a dick.