"A bad workman will always blame his tools" Uknown
I first heard this saying from my dad, I can't remember when, but I'm guessing it was shortly after I was doing something wrong and tried to take the blame away from myself. I remember hearing it in school during woodwork class, then when I was a landscape gardener, then when I was kayaking.
This phrase seems to have crept into multiple areas of my life and I know for a fact I have used it when coaching others.
Although as I have progressed into a more modern and developed world, this phrase doesn't seem to be as true.
I blame my phone and social media for my lack of productivity.
I blame the scales and social media for feeling bad about myself when looking in the mirror.
I blame my training equipment for not progressing as fast as people do on social media.
I blame my shoes for making my legs hurt when I go for a run.
I blame my shoulder joint when I reach overhead and it hurts.
I will, however, solve all these problems as follows
1) Delete social media and remove all distracting apps from my phone
2) Throw out my scales and not look at social media
3) Buy some home training equipment, follow that plan that was on offer and then do that diet I have been reading about.
4) Buy new running shoes
5) Book my shoulder surgery that I have been putting off for 5 years
How I have solved these problems (some a long time ago, some more recently)
1) Limit social media VIEWING to 10-minute windows WHEN I HAVE TIME (If I don't have time I don't look... because I don't have time) & turn off notifications.
**Research also indicates that having your phone out of sight is beneficial for reducing the desire to check it. So when I am working on my laptop, my phone is behind it, when I am working on something in the gym, it is somewhere on the other side of the gym.**
2) My scales are a tool to measure progress, it's not their fault that they tell the truth. If I am trying to lose body fat, subjective measures like looking in the mirror or feeling how tight my clothes are can be skewed by lighting, bloating, or mood (ironically which can be dictated by what you have eaten in the past 24 hours). Objective measures like limb circumferences and bodyweight are used in conjunction with our subjective measures to give a true reflection of the situation.
3) Be consistent with my exercise and planned nutrition.
1 million pounds today or double a penny every day for a month? This is the difference between hard and fast and slow and steady. The interesting thing about this question is that on day 20 doubling your penny you will have only just broke the £10,000, and on day 27, just 3 days from the finish line you will only have £671,088.64 (over 3 hundred thousand pounds out of pocket). This is of course not how extreme fat loss or strength gain works, but it is powerful to understand simple and small tasks when made CONSISTENTLY can lead to big changes only in the long run (the result on day 30 is over 5 million pounds just so you know). If you quit on day 27, you're throwing a lot of potential momentum out of the window.
4&5) Actually do some exercises that prioritise your joint health. The details of how, and when to do this are beyond the scope of this post, but my simple approach is as follows.
Every day/ every other day, make my main joints (spine, shoulders, hips) go through a full range of motion.
Before training, ensure I have warmed up the whole range of motion of each joint being used. This means for example before bench press I will still warm up for overhead movements.
Do as much as I can barefoot or with minimalist shoes on and make sure I load my hands to the ground every day.
To finish, before you blame the tools around you for a lack of progress, look to your present self and see what inner work NEEDS to be done.
Are you scrolling through social media too often because your actual life doesn't excite you?
Are you blaming the scales or the mirror because you're scared of the possibility that you need to try harder?
Are you sabotaging your own progress with external excuses because underneath all the layers of fake goals and egotistical progress you don't actually want to change?