My Infinite Failure Loop

Camden Sloss

Camden Sloss,

February 28, 2022

It wasn’t until 2021 that I realized it was happening again. And again. And again.

For months, my mind had been haunted by convictions to get back on an exercise routine. There were only 3 weeks until spring break and I wanted to get in shape for the beach. So, instead of starting to work on building a sustainable routine, I decided to exercise and eat healthy every day for 21 days. One week later, I’m hobbling home on my way back from a run after overworking myself and injuring my foot.

Rewind to 2017. I’d just mustered up the courage to ask a girl I barely knew to the winter dance and quickly started to catch feelings. Plus, Spring Break in Mexico and Senior Trip to L.A. with all of my classmates were on the horizon; both trips would land me on the beach. So, what do I decide to do? Tackle one of my biggest insecurities… my body. I started exercising and keeping myself to under 1,600 calories a day for the next 3-4 months. For that period of time, I killed it. I hit my goals, lost over 20 pounds, and honestly, looking back at pictures of myself, came out of that time looking like a twig. 

Nonetheless, I was proud of myself.

Problem is, while I did achieve my goals, the process was pretty miserable; to the point where I ended up burning myself out. A burnout that lasted over four years. After those vacations, I didn’t get back on my routine because of how much I hated the process.

The most damaging part of all this (other than the fact that the girl I liked did NOT reciprocate feelings) is that it warped my perception of self-improvement and progress. It began a cycle of attempted all-out change and incessant unrealistic expectations for myself that left me burnt out and empty-handed.

This is what I like to call the “Infinite Failure Loop” (Trademark pending). The loop manifests itself in 3 steps that continuously repeat. As you read the steps, are there any loops in your life that you need to break out of? Relationship patterns? Trust issues? Addictions? Laziness? Overworking? Self reliance?

  1. I recognize issues and opportunities for self-improvement over time but do nothing.
  2. After reaching a tipping point, I set high expectations and attempt to change everything all at once.
  3. I get burnt out, feel like a failure, and lose motivation.

For almost 5 years, I was stuck in that cycle. After a breakup and Covid lockdowns, loops started to form in my emotional and spiritual life too. I wasn’t healing in a healthy way and my faith was suffering.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t learn, grow, and make improvements in myself during that time. What I am saying is that there was no consistency in my personal changes and growth.

It wasn’t until 2021 that I realized what was happening, determined the deadly loop in my brain, and figured out what I needed to do to adjust my mindset and my habits. Here are 4 of the things I’ve been doing:

  • Write down what I think needs to change. Don’t bottle them up inside.

    • Journal. Make lists. Write poetry. Tell stories.
  • Slowly and steadily try solutions and make improvements.

    • Don’t just set big goals. Use smaller goals as checkpoints.
  • Rest. Give myself some grace.

    • Get that sleep you need. Let your brain have a break.
  • Reflect.

    • Look back at what you’ve done, celebrate the wins, and make adjustments if needed.

It’s possible to do these things and make changes on your own, but it’s easier when you’ve got someone else with you. Most VC funds want to invest in Co-Founders, not one Founder. It’s good to have another person by your side to encourage and keep you accountable. Who is your Co-Founder? Is it your spouse, best friend, coworker, or family member? Is it God? Whoever your Co-Founder is, I’d encourage you to find one that’s willing to run the race of life with you and keep the pace.

My growth and change mindset was certainly damaged from the way I lived the past 4 years and I’ve still got a long way to go. I’m not perfect and neither is the healing process I’ve outlined, but I’m slowly breaking out of my Infinite Failure Loop and you can break out of yours, too.