I get frustrated with the health and fitness industry at times. So often they are selling magic pills and miracles when I know the only real solution to a healthy and sustainable weight is consistent work and lifestyle change. I get frustrated at the people who keep falling for it over and over again, always buying the latest gadget or following the newest trendy diet, year after year with either short-term or no results at all. They never give up chasing the latest trend, but if they used that determination by building healthy habits, they wouldn't need to tackle the same goal over and over. Seeking the shortcut can hurt their progress because it takes the focus off the real work that needs to happen to reach their goals.
Why can't they see? Why is it so clear to me but lost on so many?
As I was tossing yet another hair gadget in the garbage can, I realized that I do it too. I've been doing it my whole life...but not with fitness.
There it was, sitting on the shelf at TJ Maxx with a clearance sticker for $14.99, the answer to all my problems. Well, all my hair problems, at least. A brush that dries while it straightens. I had a glimmer of hope that finally, after decades of searching, that this was the solution.
I came out of the womb with a full head of hair. My dad, at 70 years old, has a full head of thick, coarse hair. I have more than my fair share. It's unruly. It's both a blessing and a curse. When expertly wrangled by a professional, it can look downright beautiful, but most days it's a sweaty, ponytailed mess. I've been looking for the magic bullet my whole life. Did I honestly believe this was it; Finally after decades of searching, on the clearance rack at a discount store?
I've purchased practically every shampoo and conditioner ever made, tried vast amounts of styling products, straighteners, gadgets, and processes looking for the answer. How can I easily manage my hair? The shampoo companies want you to believe it's in their special formula. The infomercials are convincing that their styling gadgets are the answer. How many smoothing, de-frizzing, curling and straightening products do I have to buy before I lose hope that the answer is not in a magic product?
I had this discussion with my hair stylist, and he reconfirmed what I already knew. He said as long as you are using a professional-grade product, they don't matter much from brand-to-brand, it's all in using the proper tools and technique. He said to purchase a high-quality brush (tools) and work on mastering the technique (heat and tension, he said). Tools and Technique...sounds familiar.
Lightbulb moment: It's also what works for fitness success: Tools and Technique.
USE THE PROPER TOOLS
I'm not talking about the ab-rocker or thigh-master but the tried and true tools, like dumbbells and barbells for resistance training. Invest in a good pair of running-specific shoes instead of a waist trainer. Forget the new inventions and trendy gadgets, use the tools that are proven to be effective. They are not always exciting, but they work.
MASTER THE TECHNIQUES
Develop the skills necessary to reach your goals. Kind of like mastering the use of a round brush and a hairdryer. Master the exercise movements with proper form. Follow appropriate programming. Learn how to eat like an athlete.
This comparison taught me a lesson in looking for shortcuts, and now I have a better understanding and compassion for those chasing their magic bullet, because I've been chasing one my whole life. I can't be too frustrated with people looking for their magic bullet when I've been looking for my own.
Will I give up my 25+ year dream of effortlessly beautiful hair? Will I waste more money on products promising a miracle? Maybe I need to spend my time and energy working on mastering the skills necessary to achieve the look I desire, rather than throwing my money at the easy way. It's no surprise that my TJ Maxx find was a worthless piece of junk, no more effective at straightening my hair than a finger in an electrical socket. Will I fall for it again when the next new product hits the shelves?
Use the correct tools, master the technique. We can all achieve our goals with a little time and persistence.
Gotta run, I have to wash my hair, this could take awhile.