“Jason Bourne Syndrome” (JBS) is real
I have a problem. I admit it, I suffer from “Jason Bourne Syndrome” (JBS).
Understanding This Affliction
When I run up against a challenge or something I’m struggling with, I try to “fix it” or “solve it” all alone; Jason Bourne-style. I’m a guy and I’m an adult. I feel like I’m supposed to have stuff figured out by now. It’s also possible I have a vision of kicking-some-ass in there, too. Some sort of hero standing on the hill who arrived at the last minute to save the day.
The Phenomenon in Action
I tried to lose weight my whole life. I was an overweight kid and became “beefy” adult male. I became an athlete and a runner, but my bad diet and beer intake trumped my exercise regimen. “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.” There was shame and frustration. I felt resigned to a life of feeling dumpy and self-conscious.
The Syndrome Take Over
I convinced myself that to conquer the “weight loss game” I had to figure it all out by myself. No help from the outside. No need for a nutritionist, a trainer or advice from fit friends I have around me. Nope nope nope. A “real man” figures it all by himself. Jason Bourne-style. There are more than enough motivation YouTube videos to carry me through, right?
In the grip of JBS, there’s only me, so I must motivate, force or convince myself to keep moving forward. There’s not time for friends, colleagues, and the people closest to him and say “Hey, I could use some help.” It’s all kicking in the doors and beating the stuffing out of any obstacle. All by myself.
Even Bourne Can’t Conquer Donuts
Well, the results were predictable. Nothing changed for me. I lost some weight, but it was temporary and left me more frustrated than ever. Progress was slow, frustration was high. I had no place to get answers to things I was experiencing, no sounding board for how it was going.
Working Harder Wasn’t Enough
I discovered I can work hard for short periods, but it is all predicated on getting the results I was aiming for, and fast. This plan didn’t allow for achieving sustainable results over time or allowing for setbacks. I didn’t get the results in the timeframe I expected, I threw my hands in the air and walked away.
When afflicted with JBS, you ignore some key concepts that make your failure a foregone conclusion. The vision you’re basing your expectations is either:
- A future you’ve imagined but never experienced (and therefore have NO IDEA how it’s supposed to go), or
- Basing it on the results of others which assumes you’re JUST like them and you know EVERYTHING about how it went for them
These are a recipe for unrealistic expectations and disappointment.
I made up stories to justify my results: “I don’t have that body-type”, ‘The ‘Dad Bod’ must be real.” I masked my unhappiness with my body by telling self-deprecating jokes to offset my discomfort. “I’m in shape!” … “Oval is a shape!”
No one said we have to do this life alone. It’s up to us to choose differently than the men before us and the men around us. Click To Tweet
The Game-Changer: Discovering What I Really Wanted Wasn’t What I Thought
The day everything changed was when I realized I was telling myself a story about what I was “supposed” to do to get fit, and the story wasn’t either helping me or getting me the results I wanted. I needed to get real about my goals, and do the thing I was avoiding: Get help.
I found a trainer and finally admitted to her (and myself) exactly what I wanted. It was different than what I “thought I wanted.” I was a little self-conscious, but I had to admit: most important of all to me about weight lifting was the way I looked. Health was good, but looking strong and fit was much more compelling for me. I told her about what the way I want to look, and asked if she could support me in getting those results. She smiled and told me that looking better is what MOST people want and thanked me for being honest. Then we designed a program that fit my goals.
I met with a nutritionist the trainer recommended and told them what I wanted. I didn’t want to feel like I was starving, I wanted to fine tune what was already working and what needed to shift to reach my goals. We discovered I was a LOT closer to my my ideal shape than I thought, and my diet shifts were much less significant than I anticipated.
So, Did It Work Out?
Taking on support changed everything. The welcoming faces of a pair of professionals I had ON MY SIDE to help me get my goals kept me motivated. Always available for a question or to get together. And my goals came, easier and quicker than expected.
No one said we have to do this life alone. It’s up to us to choose differently than the men before us and the men around us. If more alone-ness and putting up with more-of-the-same doesn’t sound attractive to you just remember, “It’s always more fun when we do it together!”
Here’s How You Can Apply This Lesson
Here’s your TACTICAL and PRACTICAL questions of the day:
- What do you want in your life that you’re too self-conscious/nervous to ask for?
- Who could you reach out to that can help you get that result for yourself?
- Would it be OK with you if getting support meant that you don’t work so hard?
Today’s Action: Make that phone call, send that email or have that conversation today. Your future “you” will thank you.
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