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I always make the same mistake: I’ll work out in my head how much should be (more than) enough based on my not inconsiderable adult male appetite, then (generously) guesstimate it using a cup, adding a bit to be on the safe side. When it’s in the pan I’ll panic and throw in another last handful…and then one more little pinch just to be sure. Somehow, I’m always shocked when it turns out I could have fed the whole street. It’s insanity. I do the same thing wrong every time and just never learn my lesson.

Hopefully you don’t share my weird phobia of underestimating quantities, but no doubt you will recognise the pattern in some way from your own life. Sometimes it is something small and inconsequential, but other times it can be more serious, such as a repetitive cycle of unhealthy behaviour, for example ending up drunk when you go out, giving in to watching porn again, or getting into relationships with the wrong kind of boy or girl time after time. The problem is that when you keep using the same solution each time history repeats itself.

The answer to my rice issue of course is to weigh it using scales, and to laugh about it with my family so they keep me accountable when they see me trying to guess the next time. Talk to your mentee about the things they want to beat or avoid that they keep slipping up on in exactly the same way. Can you help them identify a new way of looking at it; a new approach; a 90-degree change of direction that can finally get them to a useful solution?

Draw a flow chart to help them understand how to avoid repeating futile actions. (There is a large version of this you can use here.)

Chat through the flow chart and help them use it to think through an issue they want to resolve differently.  

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