As we set about our plan to lose weight and keep it off for good, our natural tendency is to shift our mindset to optimism. We focus forward to that moment when we are the size and weight we want to be, and we tell ourselves that this time it’s going to happen. We think about all of the things we are going to do (eat better, exercise more), and those of us who are truly determined set about calendarising a plan. We think positive thoughts and we start our new way of life with gusto.
All of this behaviour is positive, and much needed in order to be successful. But there is one key method that most of us miss out on, because we are so busy throwing all of our energy into the positive future success.
This method involves working out how we can and will fail.
Sounds negative right? Truly, all this is about is pragmatism. There is a reason why we have failed to sustain our ideal weight in the past, and this technique is about unpicking those reasons and mitigating the risk of another failure.
The technique is called ‘reverse brainstorming’, and is used primarily in creative thinking for businesses. It starts by asking a simple question. Instead of “how do I achieve the results I desire?”, ask yourself “how could I fail to achieve these results?”.
How to use this technique
- Right down your core weight mastery goal (e.g. “I want to lose 25 pounds in weight and maintain my new weight for good”)
- Write down 21 answers to the question “How can I fail at achieving this?”. (21 answers are crucial here - the first 7 are usually pretty obvious ones that you've already considered. The next 7 are likely to be more creative. The final 7 you will have to think long and hard about, and will typically be the obstacles that blindside you, and ultimately cause your failure).
- Now take each of the 21 answers and reverse brainstorm for solutions - think of 2-3 ways that you could best avoid or bypass each these obstacles and pick the best ones as your 21 weapons against failure.
- Document your obstacles and solutions somewhere easily accessible so that you can reference them in difficult times. This will become your Anti-Failure Toolkit.
This process works equally well if you start in reverse - by asking “How can I achieve this?”. By going through the exercise looking at both the positive and negative, you are arming yourself with pragmatic solutions from the get go. This puts you in control of your own destiny, and gives you a much greater chance of success.
How did the exercise work for you? Did you discover any solutions that you hadn’t thought of before? Share in the comments below to help your fellow WeightMasters!