That is, in the case of self-experimentation, of course. Hey, we humans are animals, no?
Being a test subject in your own life is a fantastic way to find the magical recipe that makes you exactly who you want to be. Of course, allowing ourselves to try something new that may or may not lead to success is kind of scary. What if I’m wasting my time? Most of us would rather have a guide book in our hands that tells us, “Do steps 1-5 and you will certainly have success!” Unfortunately, that would lead to a rather vanilla planet where we had nothing to learn from ourselves of each other.
Trying something and finding out it is not for you is never a waste of time. Time learning about yourself is always well spent. In college, students are encouraged to complete internships in their field of study to find out what kind of career would be the best fit. So many times at the end of an internship, the conversation heads towards “well, now I know what I DON’T want to do.” And guess what? That’s A-OK.
I try to use this self-experimentation idea in most aspects of my life, from career, to travel, to hobbies, and most frequently with health and wellness.
Lately, I have been very intrigued by nutrition and the impact of the foods you eat on your body. There are so many strict nutrition plans circulating; from Paleo to low carb, to low calorie….how are we to know which one is best for us personally? Guess what….we have to TRY different things to find out. No one can tell you “Eat Paleo and you will reach your goals” just as much as no one can tell you “Low carb is the way to achieve your goals.” I have been eating clean and healthy for quite some time, but was ready to mix things up and see how making some different choices would affect my fitness and my body. I completed the 21 Day Fix Extreme meal plan which focused highly on Carb Depletion. Guess what? NOT for me! I was hungry and tired and actually lost some muscle mass. But Carb Depletion works wonders for some folks. Next up, I am experimenting with intermittent fasting by eating only during a set 8 hours during the day and fasting for the other 16 hours. I’m only one week in, but I am enjoying this plan as much as any I ever have! I’m excited to report back to you guys what I think after at least four weeks of this style of nutrition.
I like to lift weights as part of my fitness programs, but have almost always exclusively lifted ‘low weight, high repetitions’ as a way to tone my muscles & had decent success. I purchased a workout program (Body Beast) that focused on lifting heavy and the DVDs sat in my basement for months. Every time I thought about doing it, I convinced myself that I didn’t want to BULK UP and look like a dude. After a long time, I finally popped in the DVDs and completed a workout. After just ONE I was in love. Lifting heavy WAS for me, but what if I’d never tried? I’d never have smiled this smile.
Be okay with trying something and deciding that it isn’t your cup of tea. This is not failure, this is learning. Truly knowing yourself is a gift that you should spend time on. I am a firm believer that being selfish shouldn’t always be a negative thing. Being selfish means you value yourself and you take the time to develop.
On the other hand, I truly think self-experimentation helps us be better friends and people. So many times when we hear something extreme, new, or different to us, we automatically judge it or dismiss it as “not for us.” Says who? I think trying different things in ALL parts of our lives makes us more relatable, more knowledgeable, more human. You really do only live once, but during that ‘once’ let’s try to live AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.