This is kind of controversial ... at least in my brain!

It's finally time for the fifth installment of the "10 Habits of Highly Effective Exercisers" series: Seek First to Understand. 

This is a tough one for a lot of people because the tendency for many is to jump in with both feet into a program.  And I admit that my belief in this philosophy ebbs and flows from time to time when it comes to exercise and weight loss.  It its original context, I completely believe in it, though.  The original intention of the phrase, from Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," deals with interpersonal interactions.  In other words, understand the other person's point of view, make sure he or she recognizes your understanding, and THEN get your point across.  It works well in this way. 

In the land of fitness, though, it kind of works.  In translating the concept into fitness, the idea is to get a really clear understanding of the scenario.  What are your options for working out and eating clean?  What obstacles do you need to conquer?  What tools do you have to work with?  In theory, this works nicely, but there's one big problem ... the Universe rewards action, not planning and information gathering.  So the issue with seeking first to understand is that if you spend too much time trying to understand, you may never move forward. 

"Paralysis by analysis" is the common term for this phenomenon.

Seemingly, the more aggressive "ready, fire, aim" approach would yield results for more people.  My amendment for the rule is this: "Seek concurrently to understand, while you do everything in your power to make progress with your current knowledge."

That's kind of a mouth-full, so this sentiment will hence be represented by the original phrase, "Seek first to understand."

From this point on, whenever you hear that phrase, your brain will correct it to our new, amended phrase!