Hello, hello GOALfriend, welcome to this Most Valuable Podcast (MVP) episode. And before I even tell you anything else about it, I have to share a little personal detail about why I’m calling this an MVP episode. Well, two reasons, actually. First, a podcaster that I love and admire – Stacey Boehman, who is the host of the Make Money as a Life Coach podcast – calls her “replay” episodes MVPs. So, I’m totally borrowing it from her. And the other reason is that the acronym MVP has been part of my life ever since I can remember.
I grew up in a very sports-oriented family. My dad is super into sports, and my brother is so into sports that he ended up making a career out of it, so MVP – Most Valuable Player – was always something I’ve known about. But, as it happens, MVP was also the initials of me and my siblings. My older brother Mike, my late sister Vicki, and me, Pahla. We’ve always been MVP.
And then later, when my mom – whose name is Marilyn – and my sister and I opened up our in-home preschool (which would have been way back in 2004), we called it MVP Academy, for Marilyn, Vicki and Pahla. Or Most Valuable Preschooler.
So, it feels super special to be able to share MVP (which now stands for Most Valuable Podcast) with you!
And here’s why I’m sharing this one today: the Get Your GOAL podcast has been gathering a LOT of new listeners lately, and I know it can feel pretty overwhelming, for those of you who are new, to try and get through two hundred and ninety-one episodes. So, occasionally, I’ll be sharing some of the most valuable older episodes, with an introduction like this one, which sets you up for why the message is still relevant and helpful today.
This episode, about making mistakes, has two key takeaways. First, the one that three-and-a-half-years-ago Pahla is going to make in her own rambling way, which is that the fastest way to weight loss success is to make mistakes. Perfectionism slows you down.
And the second, let’s call it a “meta takeaway,” can be had just by listening to three-and-a-half-years-ago Pahla! You can hear how far I’ve come, and how much clearer my message is, and how much I’ve changed and grown as a podcaster.
All because I was willing to make mistakes and not wait until I could put out some perfectly polished podcast. Because if that was the case, we’d all still be waiting!
So, my friend, enjoy both of the takeaways, or any other takeaway you happen to get from this Most Valuable Podcast.
Ahhhhhh. My friends, that was a weird way to start the podcast. Let me actually start that again, because this is not an ASMR podcast. This is not me speaking whispering or saying “Ahhh.” This is a podcast about fitness matters because we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. I am your host Pahla B from pahlabfitness.com, and you guys, okay? Oh my gosh, this, uh, this new podcasting-only thing is really different. I will tell you, I literally, I mean, I literally just finished recording episode number one. Haven't even listened to it yet. Don't know what the audio sounds like. Don't know if this is a good setup. Don't know if I had anything relevant or even coherent to say, and I'm already recording episode number two, and here's why. Because now, this week, 10 minutes after last week, this week, we are talking about making mistakes.
You guys, I want to wholeheartedly, right up front, encourage you to make mistakes. Make lots of mistakes, make mistakes as often as you can. Is that the weirdest fitness advice you've ever gotten? I hope so, because I feel like this is something that people don't talk about.
I am gonna rant today. It's one of those! Congratulations, you have joined me on a ranting episode. Isn't that exciting?
Maybe not. You guys, you're gonna make mistakes whether you want to or not. You might as well – maybe not set out to make them on purpose – but you might as well have the mindset that it's okay to make mistakes.
You know, we live in this world now, and maybe we always did, but I'm noticing it more now because of the internet, because of social media, because of how much we are in each other's faces constantly. I feel like we live in a world now where people want to be experts at things and they constantly want to tell you how to do something right. And I'll admit, I mean, as a fitness expert, as a YouTuber with a workout channel, I do try to impart my “wisdom” (for lack of a better way of putting it).
That just sounds so weird to me. You know, when you're inside your own self, even though I know that I know things, it still feels weird to say that I know things. That's a mindset I need to work on.
But anyways, when I'm imparting, you know, the things that I have learned and the wisdom that I have and the knowledge that I have, and try to tell you, “Oh, this is how to do things,” I know full well that the way that I have done a lot of things is by simply not knowing. By going out, making mistakes and figuring it out.
We – experts – always wanna be like, “Oh, well, here's how to make it easier. Here's how you don't have to make mistakes. Here's how you can do this without doing, you know, the five years of problems that I had on my way to success.”
But the fact is, the five years of problems that I had on my way to success is how I got to success. Yes, there might be some ways that you can do things easier. Yes, there might be some ways that you can do things faster or better right out of the gate than I did.
But there are a lot of things that you just need to figure out the hard way. And being afraid of that isn't doing you any favors.
Our brains are hardwired to fear new things. This is a fact. This is a biological fact for many, many millennia. It is how we stayed alive – being afraid of everything used to be good for us. Nowadays, when there's not, you know, wooly mammoths and sabertoothed tigers to be afraid of, when we do not have to fight every single day for our mere survival, that fear mechanism isn't helping us at all anymore. And in fact, in so many ways is hindering us from some of the, like, really basics of life.
For the things that we want to do with our fitness – trying something new, like going for a run, or working out regularly, or trying yoga, or any number of other things that you might think of. Eating more healthfully, changing our routine, waking up early, getting more sleep – all of these kinds of things. So, because we are hardwired for fear, we feel fear when we think about trying something new!
And the fact is, logically, I know that you totally understand that setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier is not something you should be afraid of. Like, clearly that is not life or death. Clearly that is not the kind of thing that is going to affect you so momentously that it… You know, well, okay…It could actually change your life if you set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and start working out every day!
But the act of setting your alarm, the act of waking up 15 minutes earlier, in and of itself, is not a life or death situation. It is not worthy of fear.
And yet that's what we feel. And we get ourselves wound up with “What if this is a mistake? What if this isn't the right thing to do? What if this is, you know, what if this is wrong?”
So what if it is?
This is the question that I ask myself, and it's such a ridiculously simple question, and yet it is really difficult to answer sometimes and also simultaneously kind of puts things in perspective for us.
So what? So what if you run a 5K wrong? So what if you train for your marathon wrong? So what if this workout didn't get you all the benefit that it could have because you modified exercises or you stopped after 20 minutes when it was a 30 minute workout? So what?
And I know that that sounds super flippant. Sometimes… sometimes when we talk about this mindset stuff, I do come off a little bit flippant, but there's a reason for that.
Making these mistakes, if you wanna call them that, is not life-threatening. It's not a big deal. It really is a “so what?” situation.
I'm going to encourage you, in addition to making mistakes, I'm going to encourage you to ask yourself, “So what?” And not about the big things, not about your goals, because it's true. We could walk down that road and be like, “Well, so what? Who cares if I set myself this goal to lose 40 pounds? You know, it's, it's not life or death. It might not make that much of a difference.”
“So what?” can lead you down a dark path sometimes. I will encourage you to set and keep and work towards your big goals simply because you want them, not because, not because of some life-changing situation, not because it's the biggest deal in the world, not because everybody is depending on you, only because you want what you want.
That is important and that is actually a topic for another day.
What I'm talking about is the steps that you're gonna take to get to your goal. We get very wrapped up in wanting to do things the right way, wanting an answer before we get started, wanting to know what it's gonna feel like, what it's gonna look like, how to get there the best way, the fastest way, the most efficient way. And that's when I say to you, so what if you have 40 pounds to lose? So what if it takes you five years to lose it?
Rather than getting yourself locked into, “I have to lose weight fast, I have to lose weight now, I have to lose weight the most efficient way. I have to lose weight the best way, I have to lose weight the healthiest way, I have to lose weight the way that the internet says I should, I have to lose weight X, Y, or Z.”
So what? So what if it takes you too long? So what if you make mistakes? So what if you eat the wrong food? So what if you do the wrong workouts? So what… if you eventually get your goal?
Nothing about the way that you got there matters. And I'm – the sentence isn't even out of my mouth, and I'm gonna put a caveat on that.
There is, of course, there is one way you can do it wrong if, on your way to a healthy goal, if you have jeopardized your health. There are absolutely times when the ends do not justify the means. 99.9% of the time, though, I don't think that's what we're talking about. And I mean, I'm thinking really, really specifically right now of weight loss and how sometimes we can go overboard and get into, you know, body dysmorphia or disordered thinking and things like that. And that really is a serious topic and a different topic.
Taking something to an extreme like that is always another level and not necessarily what I'm talking about. And I do hope that when you're listening to my advice that you are taking it with that grain of salt, that I'm never encouraging you to go to extremes. I'm never encouraging you to be obsessive. I'm never encouraging you to go after your goal no matter what.
And yet, I might say it like that. I might say it in a way that sounds like your goal is the most important thing in the world, but I want you to know that I understand and I hope that you understand that there's always a balance for me.
One of the best ways to find that balance is to ask myself the “So what?” question.
I tend to overthink the little things rather than the big things on my journey to getting my goals.
I rarely err on the side of “I'm going to do anything to get my goal.” I frequently, however, err on the side of “What if this font isn't quite right? What if the color I've chosen isn't quite right? What if this workout outfit doesn't photograph well? What if my hair doesn't look good on camera?”
I very frequently obsess about the things that are “So what?” And very rarely spend enough time (or more time) thinking about the bigger picture.
When you encourage yourself to make mistakes along your way to your big goal, it gives you more of an opportunity to think about and work towards your big goal. If you are not spending your day fretting about the little stuff, “What if these shoes are wrong? What if these socks give me blisters? What if I eat the wrong breakfast?” Those are little.
“So what?” things – those are mistakes that don't really affect the big picture.
I mean, okay, I'm thinking about the blister from the socks. Yes, that does affect you for a while. That's a little bit more “medium picture” kind of stuff. But it still doesn't affect you getting your goal. You are still capable of reaching your goal, whether your socks give you a blister or not.
Knowing logically that making mistakes is not life or death is not quite the same thing as being able to make mistakes. Being able to make mistakes is a skill, interestingly. And it is a skill that you are going to have to practice. It is a mindset issue that takes practice.
And here's how: by making mistakes! Which sounds like the worst way to practice a skill, right? But you don't get better at making mistakes without making mistakes, and you don't get better at not making mistakes, without making mistakes.
My friends, making mistakes can feel like such a big deal. It can feel scary, it can feel so much bigger than it is. But when you remember to just stop and ask yourself, “So what?” And ask yourself, “Is this big picture or little picture?”
Giving yourself permission to make mistakes is truly one of the kindest things that you can do for yourself. And here's how I mean it is a skill – I will tell you the same steps that I tell you every time we talk about any skill ever.
Start where you are is step number one. Start where you are and acknowledge where you are. If you are in a place where you have basically paralyzed yourself from making any decisions, because they all seem like they could lead to mistakes, that's where you start.
Step two is to take baby steps. Understand that you don't need to fail enormously to get this practice. You can make one small decision today. That might be a mistake, and it might not be a mistake. Let yourself make that decision. Let yourself either make a mistake or it might not be a mistake. Also, let yourself do that every day.
Take that baby step of making a small decision. Those small decisions will get bigger.
This is step three – after you've started taking the baby steps, stay consistent with it. And let the mistakes get a little bit bigger. Let them, let the stakes be a little bit higher. Let your mistakes be a little bit bigger of a deal, less of a “So what?” and more of a, “Well, all right, this could be an actual thing.”
When you practice making mistakes, which feels like the weirdest thing in the world to do, you will get better at making mistakes, but you will also make fewer mistakes. It's such a weird thing to work on a skill, to not do that thing as your skill.
But here's the thing. I have now survived two episodes of this new podcast, doing something different, making mistakes, figuring it out on my feet. Actually, not even on my feet. I'm sitting on my booty. I'm sitting down making this podcast. And maybe it's a mistake, but also maybe it's not, and in the big picture of my goal of having a successful podcast, so what if this episode isn't the best one I've ever made? So what if the audio isn't perfect? So what if my editing isn't perfect? So what if this relatively little thing in the grand scheme of things isn't what I expected it to be?
I'm still gonna work towards my goal. I'm still gonna make other mistakes along my way, towards my goal. And my friends, so are you.
I would love to hear what mistake you are making today, no matter where you are watching or listening, because I am everywhere, my friend. I'm on YouTube, I'm on Spotify, I'm on SoundCloud, I'm on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Tune In... I'm trying to think of all the other places.
Wherever you listen to podcasts, you can find the Fitness Matters podcast, and you know that I wanna hear from you. I'm easiest to find on social. Honestly, come find me on Facebook or Instagram because those truly are the best places to leave comments about a podcast. You could also leave a review, but I mean, those are hard to answer if you have questions. But I would love to hear from you.
Thank you so much for joining the Fitness Matters podcast. I'll see you next week.