Strive For Progress, Not Perfection! June 17, 2017 11:08
In our fast paced, ever demanding society, staying on top of your game seems to be the only way to go. You have to be number one in your field, and among your friends and peers. We take this societal pressure as a given and rarely question whether trying to be perfect in every situation really makes us happy.
Most perfectionists would never even consider themselves to be that way, because they believe that nothing in their lives is perfect; hence, they can’t be perfectionists. But being a perfectionist isn’t about things being perfect; it's about thinking things have to be perfect and tirelessly pursuing it. The perfectionist is constantly trying to catch that feeling of having everything in their lives be “just right.” When they achieve that feeling, however, it is usually never satisfying, as it tends to be temporary.
To better understand the world perfectionists live in, take a look at these tendencies:
1. They are never OK with with the way they are.
2. Even when success is achieved, the feeling of satisfaction tends to be temporary. There is always more to achieve.
3. They believe that once everything is perfect on the outside, they will achieve inner peace.
4. If things go wrong, perfectionists feel like failures.
5. They are extremely competitive, at almost everything.
Do any of these attributes sound familiar? Most of you, hardworking athletes and gym goers, are in fact perfectionists. You bust your asses off to achieve the physiques of your dreams, and you take great pride in showing it off. We understand that (and we think you look great). At times, however, it is worth looking at bigger picture to access whether in your desire for perfection you are constantly reaching for some perfect future and forgetting the very real present.
“Perfection should never be the goal because the outcome will always be failure.”
Trying to be perfect is tiring and has been linked to a lot of negative consequences like:
1. You become less efficient. You try to tweak your results to the point of never being able to fully deliver.
2. You procrastinate. Nothing can be done unless the conditions are perfect.
3. You miss the bigger picture while fussing around small details.
4. You are constantly anxious and exhausted trying to get everything done in a most perfect way, and not getting anything done because ‘perfection’ does not exist.
So if you shouldn’t concentrate on a perfect result, what should you focus on?
If you are a perfectionist, it can be a huge detriment to you as you seek to make changes in what you eat and how active you are. That’s because as soon as you mess up—such as eating that dessert or missing two days of exercise—you feel like you a failure. When you ‘fail’, you either give up altogether, or keep promising yourself you’ll start again on Monday.
Fitness, or anything in life really, is not about perfection. You will never be the perfect dieter or have an absolutely perfect physique. Fitness is about striving for progress and making small, consistent changes day after day. That means that when you eat an unhealthy meal you do not let it define you as a failure at dieting. Instead, you make a smarter decision next time. And if you skip your workout for two days, you simply put on your motivational workout shirt and get one done on a the very next day, without waiting for Monday or any other perfect time to start.
Striving for progress means you are taking small, achievable steps every day. You are seeing the big picture and you are working on improving yourself. Small deviations don’t steer you away from your goal, they teach you how to do things better next time. As if staying on track wasn’t reason enough, striving for progress instead of perfections generally leads to more happiness. When you see the goal as a journey, not an end-point, you are much more likely to take pleasure with every incremental improvement along the way.
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
This week we encourage you to find satisfaction with daily improvements. Striving for progress requires a comparison with oneself – comparing your past self with your current self and future self. Look back at where you came from and enjoy all these great results you’ve had so far. We promise it’ll lead to greater sense of self-worth and self-respect.