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You’ve started something new. Maybe you’ve switched up nutrition, or taken on a new training program… And everybody’s got an opinion.
Your goal is to minimize distractions, focus on your plan, and learn from the experience. So here are responses to some of the most common types of (not-so-helpful) feedback.
1. “That sounds awesome. I’m going to put that on my list of things to check out.”
When people make suggestions, you may feel pressured to respond right away. Maybe they want you to agree. Maybe they want you to argue back. There’s no need for either. You’re executing a plan, something that’s taken some real thought. And that’s why you’re not going to jump ship at the sight of the first new piece of information. BUT you’ll think about it. And if you decide to act on it later, you’ll give it the same level of focus and respect as your current plan.
2. “Can you send me the links to the original studies? I’d love to take a look.”
People love to cite academic papers. Except that people don’t love to read academic papers. And you’re going to need more than an opinion (of an opinion) of somebody’s research. The odds are small that you’re getting quality information. So ask for the source material. The odds are even smaller that you’ll ever get it. End of discussion.
P.S. Don’t forget to ask for the full paper. Abstracts don’t count!
P.P.S If they wind up sending you the full paper, make them read it first.
Finally, here’s a helpful article on how to read a scientific paper.
3. “This is so good. I’m just going to take my time and enjoy it.”
This one is for the nutritional saboteurs; the ones who pressure you into eating. If you’re trying to eat better (without getting extreme about it), there’s room for little treats. So make them count. Eat slowly. Savour each bite. Be present. And do it when they can see you. It makes saying “no” to anything else much easier for everyone.
4. “ Who wouldn’t this work for?”
Some people are true champions of an approach. It’s worked for them. It will work for the rest of the world. And you’re next! It can be helpful to jog their critical thinking skills. The way they answer this question will tell you a lot. Have they reflected on your specific needs and challenges? Or are they simply being dogmatic?
Most of the time your worst critic is you, so cut yourself some slack. Think about how you’d speak to someone you care about deeply. Use that language. Let some stuff go. If you stumble, start all over again. And remind yourself that both you and your brain are playing on the same team.
For more on this, you can check out Dr. Kristin Neff’s work here: