The short answer is don’t focus so much on perfection that you don’t celebrate your progress.
It’s very easy to start a new fitness or weight loss goal with lots of enthusiasm and determination, only to be derailed when things don’t go to plan… even though we have made so much progress.
Other times the goal can seem so impossible that we don’t even start… our own fears and insecurities stop us from even starting.
By embracing the phrase ‘progression not perfection’ we are still able to strive for excellence, and set goals… however, we focus on setting smaller milestones, and celebrating as we make progress toward our overall goals.
When we focus on progress, not perfection, we are less likely to spiral down the self-doubt and self-criticism rabbit hole. From a progress point of view, we can look back at what we have accomplished and use it for continued motivation to keep moving forward towards the overall goal.
The thing to remember is that nothing in life is ever perfect… so we can’t use perfection as our outcome… otherwise, we will always fail. We are all human… we are all imperfect… It’s what makes us all so unique, special, and awesome!
We should set the bar high and strive to achieve great things in our lives… but we should always be kind to ourselves and allow some wiggle room for those imperfect moments that will happen.
What does this look like in practice?
To truly make a lasting change, it has to be a change that is meaningful to us, not just to others. It can’t be something we feel is imposed upon us rather than chosen by us. It has to be something that we value, that we believe in, that we can get behind and commit to because we know the hard work will be worth it.
We have to ask ourselves why we want to make the change… we have to be honest with ourselves. It has to be something that is meaningful, that we can call upon when we’re struggling along our journey that will help to keep us on the right path. Something that will help us keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep making progress when the going gets tough.
Then we need to focus on the how.
Say we want to “get healthier”, there are all kinds of ways we can get healthier. To support our physical and mental health we could eat more nourishing foods, cook more at home, sleep better, move our bodies more frequently, meditate, get outside every day, practice to improve our skills at a favourite sport or hobby, learn a new skill.
The list is endless and can be just as overwhelming as the big picture when you look at all of the possible options. This can make taking the first steps to trying something new or achieving success in some area of our lives very difficult.
So we split the goal down even further.
To make the process more manageable, we focus on just one task, one small change, which will help us to achieve our goal over time.
Say we want to get healthier and we don’t eat a whole lot of Vegetables. Our task, our one small change, could be to eat a serving of vegetables with every meal… that’s it… that’s what we focus on doing… and we do it to the best of our ability… if we hit a bump in the road or we veer off track, that’s ok.
We just find the path again and keep moving forward.
Pretty soon that one small thing becomes a habit… it becomes part of our daily lives… and we’re miles closer to the overall goal.
Once that first small thing becomes easy, we focus on the next task, the next change.
We keep making progress… we keep moving forward… we enjoy the journey and we celebrate each and every success.