“Consistency is better than perfection. We can all be consistent - perfection is impossible.”
As someone who has always fought with needing everything to be perfect before I can go on, this saying has stuck with me throughout my fitness journey. Before I could pursue fitness, I wanted to have the ideal diet. I also needed to have the ideal exercise regimen.
Holding yourself to a "perfect" standard is one of the riskiest things you can do whether you're trying to improve your overall health, lose weight, grow muscle, or improve your fitness. Perfectionism is the enemy of all the good possible things you can accomplish through consistent effort and it certainly ruins the journey to reach your goal. This kills motivation and will cause feelings of failure and despair. This is where a lot of people give up. They get off the hamster wheel no closer to their goal than when they started. But let’s go one step further. The pursuit of perfection often causes people to never start or progress at all. They never try because they know it will never be perfect. The biggest problem with perfectionism is that we often consider it a virtue. Think about it. Ever tell a hiring manager that you're a perfectionist? You say it as if it’s a selling point. When the truth is it’s not a selling point. It’s fear of failing and not accepting yourself as you are. It’s a cop out. It’s an excuse to not take action.
Being healthy and fit takes time. It's a journey that you will always remember. For some it’s a journey that never ends. As one goal is reached it is replaced with a new one. The enemy here is not skipping a workout occasionally or exceeding your usual caloric intake. The enemy is holding yourself to the perfect standards of what the health and fitness industry portrays (remember our blog “What the fitness industry doesn’t want you to know”). If we focus on consistent changes we can focus on changing one behavior at a time which in turn will help us pursue our goal even further then we ever thought. We talk a lot about sustainability because for most people drastic changes aren’t sustainable. This is why we focus on one habit at a time. As we root these habits in our daily routines it flips the narrative from one of fear, failure and pressure to accomplishment and positivity.
When you look at your fitness journey remember that comparison is the thief of joy. Your only competition is who you were yesterday. Compare your journey to what your journey was yesterday. Change your mindset and focus on how much you are improving by setting realistic expectations. When striving to achieve objectives in or out of the gym, consistency is undoubtedly the most critical factor. Setting reasonable goals such as doing cardio 2 days a week compared to 6 days a week will allow you to reach for more achievable results. When we give up the pursuit of perfection and focus on consistency we are making more progress and stimulating longer term physical and mental growth by actually giving yourself something you can grasp on to. Always remember you’re human and no one is flawless all the time; it's incredibly easy to feel like your efforts are useless when compared to a perceived perfection. By letting go of perfection and embracing consistency you will find that balance and sustainabililty that you’ve really been searching for all along.
“I’d rather you hit your nutrition 80% than 100%. Why? At 80% you can go out, enjoy yourself and not get obsessive with every single calorie. Your progress will be slower but it will be more sustainable and enjoyable. 100% on point with nutrition isn’t perfect. It’s prison.”- Jordan Syatt
Below are some helpful tips that helped me get over a perfectionist mindset in health and wellness:
Setting your goals below what a perfect mindset would want. Remember the SMART goals we talked about a few weeks ago? Utilize that skill.
Ask yourself what is the difference between going 85% into this task/objective and the 100% perfect mindset. Will 85% affect the quality of the outcome in a negative or positive way?
Adopt a growth mindset where every task/day you're learning and allowing yourself to make mistakes. It’s true that there are no mistakes, only lessons. The most successful people in the world have all “failed” multiple times.
Learn to challenge your negative thoughts. This one’s a difficult one. Thoughts are just that….thoughts. They don’t actually exist. But you become what you think about so be fearless and positive in your thoughts.
Compare yourself to no one else. You are just as worthy and deserving of reaching your goal as the people you admire and look up to.
Look at the end goal and what you personally want out of health.
If this blog post helped you or resonated with you in any way, definitely reach out and schedule a consultation with Stephanie or myself. We would love to help you on your fitness journey. The trainers at Ryan Howard Coaching have years of experience working with clients in all walks of life. I hope you learn to give yourself leniency and pursue more sustainable goals.
-Ryan and Stephanie