After a restful holiday break, I am back in the saddle and have resumed coaching people through The Regimen.  My fresh eyes can’t help but notice a string of similarities amongst my coach-ees:

1.  They go too fast.

Them: [Quickly move their hands over their skin]

Me: Whoa Nelly! When you go too fast, that creates irritation. Let’s slow it down. Here, let me show you. [I demonstrate washing very slowly]

Them: Wow, you want me to be that gentle?!

Me: Yes.  As you get more experience in performing The Regimen, your skill level will allow you to go more quickly and remain gentle.  For now, be patient and go slowly.

2.  They want to shorten the amount of time between steps.

Them: [3 minutes after washing] Can we do BP now!?

Me: Whoa Nelly!  The waiting periods are important.  Try to settle into a routine that includes doing dishes, saying goodnight to your kids, etc. while you wait between steps each morning and evening.  We want The Regimen to become part of your life and not make you feel like you are just “waiting.”

3.  They add in variables way too soon.

Them: Someone on the message board said a 4 blade razor works better, so I got the one they recommended.  I hope that’s OK.

Me: Whoa Nelly!  I need you to stick to The Regimen exactly until you are completely clear. That includes using only a 2 blade razor. Imagine you have blinders on. We want to get you completely clear before we add in any variables, and we know if you follow The Regimen precisely we’ll get you clear. Once you are completely clear, then you can add in 1 variable at a time, like trying a 4 blade razor.

4.  Once they are clear, they add in more than 1 variable at a time.

Them: I figured since I was clear that I would try to just use BP once a day.  Oh yeah, and I also started using this great new SPF I found.

Me: Whoa Nelly!  One at a time.  You’re going to be in the sun a lot in the next month or two, so let’s add in the SPF and see how it goes for at least 3 weeks.  If you’re consistently clear after 3 weeks we can try going to BP just once a day and see if you stay clear.

5.  They are emotionally attached to their unused, expensive products.

Them: I’ve got a really expensive department store acne scrub.  Can I use it with The Regimen?

Me: Whoa Nelly! Like most people, you are disposed to inflammatory acne. The last thing you want to do is scrub and irritate your skin. Why don’t we se how much you can get for that scrub on Ebay, shall we?

6.  They are clear.

Them: Wow, The Regimen really works.

Me: Good job! You listened to me, followed it exactly, and it worked.

1. “That sunscreen broke me out!”

2. “The minute I changed to that cleanser, I broke out. It must be the cleanser.”

3. “Every time I try a product with that ingredient in it, I break out. I hate that ingredient.”

Any of these sound familiar, like something you may have said before? Now, consider these equally plausible reasons for what the person above is claiming:

1. The person applied the sunscreen four times a day for three days because they were in the sun for so long. They applied it without staying as gentle as they could. The real reason they broke out: Irritation from repeated, rough application.

2. Two weeks before the person changed the cleanser, he/she skipped two nights of BP application. The real reason they broke out: The missed treatment at night caused the initiation of a breakout which took two weeks to surface.

3. The problem is a combination of stabilizing ingredients which formulators very often use in conjunction with the ingredient in question. When used alone, that ingredient in question is perfectly safe. The real reason they broke out: Stabilizing ingredients.

I see this kind of premature jumping to conclusions frequently in people I coach through the Regimen. I also sometimes do it myself. I have to remind others and myself to take a step back and consider all variables first. If we jump prematurely to errant conclusions, we are doing ourselves a disservice because we won’t ever know the real reason for our problem.

So, my question to you guys: I want to help people learn that all variables must be taken into consideration and conclusions must be left tentative until it is definitively proven what is at fault. I’d like to get this lesson across in a fun way. Ideas on how to do this? Is there a game out there? Some other kind of fun group activity perhaps?