Volcanoes are bullshit science projects. I never made one. If you made it past third grade, you already know what happens when you add baking soda and vinegar. It’s predictable.
When I did a science experiment, I didn’t want to know what the outcome would be beforehand. I wanted to make a hypothesis and let the process teach me whether I was right or wrong.
Because that’s what science is. It’s about making predictions. And it’s about the process of discovering the right answer.
When it comes to our health and fitness habits, we’re running experiments with ourselves all the time, whether it’s testing a new diet
“I wonder how long I can survive without carbs before I want to push someone down the stairs for a basket of bread?”
or getting into a new fitness routine
“Let’s see what happens when I stay up until 2 am watching videos of baby bats eating fruit and set my alarm for 6 am to go to the gym before work.”
If you find yourself getting in your own way of developing new habits, think more like a scientist.
Scientists don’t wait for motivation to run an experiment. And it doesn’t make sense for them to take it personally when their hypothesis is wrong. They simply use their results to refine their predictions. And they never stop experimenting.
When something doesn’t work with your new habit—whether you cave to a slice of pizza after getting trapped putting in unexpected overtime at work, or hit the snooze button a few too many mornings in a row—you can reframe those perceived “mistakes” as “feedback” instead.
Then use that feedback to try a new experiment and see if it leads to new results. If you can’t get to the gym in the morning, try going in the afternoon or the evening. If you’re constantly regretting the number of times you eat out, try packing a meal or two before you leave for the day.
If an experiment isn’t working for you, it doesn’t mean you are a failure, it just means the experiment was. Make a new hypothesis and move on. We aren’t volcanoes, or robots, and what worked for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you.
You can’t expect success on the first try, and sometimes things will blow up in your face. But you can always get back in the lab and try something new.