Maddening Madden Madness

There’s only one game that forces me to spew more obscenities than a Bob Saget stand-up special: Madden. My wife has no idea why even continue to play the game. Hell, I went hoarse from yelling at the TV once because of Madden.

Sure, it’s terrifying to watch the Hulk rage when he loses a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. But when a middle linebacker jumps 13,000 feet in the air to intercept a pass in Madden—with the back of his helmet(!)my ginger rage ignites to a level that would startle the Hulk. Ugh, I’m already pissed off thinking about it. 

Of course, once I’ve cooled down, and begun to realize how asinine it is for me to get pissed at a video game, I take a few more deep breaths and then watch the replay of my Tony Romo-sized mistake. And here’s what I discover almost every time:

Oh, wow. So maybe it’s not realistic for that middle linebacker to catch that ball. But I also threw that ball over the middle into a ton of coverage. Actually, that’s a play that you’d probably see in real life turn out to be an interception as well. Man, I suck at this game.

Actually, that feels really good to admit: I SUCK AT MADDEN. Jesus, do I make some poor choices when it comes to executing my game plan.

Making poor choices and not executing your game plan: how many times have you done that while you’re trying to eat better or exercise more? You do so well those first two weeks, get some first downs, move down the field—you’re nailing it. Everything feels right. And then…..

Something happens.

Life intercepts your plan and runs it back for a touchdown. That interception could be a stall in weight loss, an injury, a weekend of debauchery with your friends, or maybe you’re not seeing the results you expected. And what do you do then? You rage quit like a 13-year-old grown 31-year-old man playing Madden.

The Fault Line

Hillary, one of my badass online coaching clients, almost rage her fitness goals the other day. Here’s what she said in an email:

Robbie, first off, I need to tell you how much stronger I feel. I’m not winded walking up stairs anymore at work. I can carry groceries or move furniture without asking for help. And it’s the increase in confidence and independence that makes me the happiest.

Then I read the all important “BUT.”

But I noticed some weight gain over the last week. And I’ll admit, I ate like an asshole this weekend; I didn’t make the best choices. It was a nice weekend in Philly, and I enjoyed some drinks….okay, fine, one too many drinks. And that led to me overeating at dinner, and then I got ice cream. I know the only person who can fix this is me. I’m the one at fault. Not my friends or my boyfriend.

Would you have the strength and courage (because it takes courage to admit your faults/failures) to admit that you were the one responsible for going off the rails this weekend? Or would you blame your friends, the booze, your significant other, or some middle linebacker for intercepting your plan?

Yes, you screwed up. But bitching about it and beating yourself up isn’t going to make it all better. And rage quitting and throwing a controller across the room like you have while playing Madden isn’t gonna help either. It’s not the “game’s” fault—it’s your fault.  

But you’re also the one responsible for getting yourself back in the game. Sure you lost a possession by eating all the cake at a party this weekend. But you didn’t lose the game. Forgive yourself, notice your screw up, and make a different choice the next time.

The Toughest Defense You’ll Face

Hands down, the most difficult defense you’ll face when it comes to diet and exercise is yourself. And what powers that terrifying defense is your inner voice of denial. Rather than accepting that you’re responsible for your decisions, you blame for your actions and mishaps on outside forces.

When you get off track from your game plan, head to your instant replay, aka your food log or your diet tracking app and review where you stumbled. And then swallow your pride, and admit your failure(s). But don’t wallow in them or fly off the handle into a rage.

No one forced you to eat the weekend-long splurge of Oreo’s. You made the choice, admit it, learn from it, and make a better decision next time. It’s easier to believe that the world or a game like Madden is out to get us rather than accept responsibility for our actions or mistakes.

Use those “interceptions” as learning tools for the future, instead of exploding into demotivational rage-filled tirades of destruction. And remember: the only person who has the power to change the outcome in all of this is you.


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