Whoever gave the world this famous quote was really on to something:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Russel Brand, the comedian, modern-day philosopher and recovered Heroin addict, talks about this in his book, Recovery.
We develop ‘a plan’ over the years, Brand says. It might be a plan to lose weight; to exercise more; to find career fulfillment; to be a better partner. And we become very attached to this plan. No matter how many times it fails us, we go back to this plan, time and time again. We make excuses for why it didn’t work this time, while explaining why it will work next time.
Yep I know I never get up to go to the gym, but tomorrow, I will make myself!
I know I only ever manage 3 weeks of Weight Watchers before eating everything in sight, but this time I just know it’s going to work.
Clearly, this is utter nonsense. This isn’t ‘gut instinct’ – it’s self-delusion. Because just like Russel Brand says, you’re attached to ‘your plan’ and you don’t want to change it.
But seriously…Would you still bother with a friend who let you down every time you needed them? Would you bet on the same lottery numbers for sixty years, despite never even getting 3 numbers?! Hopefully, the answer is no.
So make a change!
If you’re going to get up for the run, ask a friend to join you. If you’re going to try Weight Watchers, apply some mindful eating at the same time. Or just do the mindful eating full stop.
You don’t have to throw out the whole plan. But apply an approach of ‘trial and error’ and make small, subtle changes every time you try the plan again.
Even if the new, adapted plan fails; you’ll have more data as to what does and doesn’t work.
You’ll be closer to your goals than if you’d just repeated the original plan.