If you’ve subscribed to our email list, “liked” us on Facebook, or are simply making the time to read this, I’ll assume you’ve taken an interest in improving some aspect of your health and fitness. And I’m gonna also assume it’s not the first time you’ve taken an interest. If I’m correct, what have you tried in the past? What worked well? What didn’t? Regardless, I’m sure you had a plan (you did have a plan, didn’t you?) to follow.
Your plan may have looked something like this.
You first establish your goal to lose x-number of pounds. You then create a list of the behaviors that will help you lose that weight. (You’re already ahead of most by focusing on behaviors. Kudos to you!)
You then find the best online weight-loss calculator or fitness app you can find and calculate that you’ll lose x-number of pounds in a certain number of weeks.
You now have everything you need. You’ve got a specific, measurable goal. You’ve got a realistic timeline to accomplish said goal. You’ve got the behaviors outlined that will get you to your goal. With your perfect plan in hand you’re excited, amped, stoked, jazzed, geeked, juiced, or whatever other words you’d like to use to express your excitement, to begin.
So begin you do, and you kick butt the first week. You’re sleeping like a log, eating like a rabbit, and exercising like a horse. You are killing it! Then something happens—life.
Work, kids, finances, spouse, home, you—all begin to interfere with your perfectly designed plan. But you know what? That’s reality.
The problem is we don’t think our health and fitness goals fit into reality. We live in this dream world where everything works according to our schedule and plans—a dream world where we make every workout, ice cream no longer tastes good to us, thus removing any temptation, and progress toward our goal is perfectly linear. And because we try to live in this dream world, when things go awry, we bale on our plans because they are no longer perfect.
Good news, though. Things don’t have to be perfect. Our plan doesn’t have to be, nor should it be. Perfection leads to all or nothing thinking. Something we’ve all fallen prey to.
“Dang, I had a Ding Dong. Well, I might as well have another one.” (Remember: Two dongs don’t make a right.)
“I don’t have time to get to the gym and work out for an hour, so I’ll skip today and just do it tomorrow when I have more time.” (Which you won’t.)
“I blew my diet, again! I’ll start again on Monday.” (Even though it’s only Tuesday.)
To get to where you’re trying to go, you don’t need perfection, you simply need progress. You need only to be better than you were yesterday. The thesaurus lists the word incompleteness as being an antonym of perfection. I’d argue that they’re quite synonymous, though. If you want to not complete something, try being perfect.
Progress toward health and fitness goals is never linear. It looks less like a perfectly straight line and more like you’re charting the stock market . . . or a roller coaster. You’ll have ups, downs, and what feels like all-arounds. But, much like the stock market, if you remain invested and patient, have the proper strategy, and a great advisor, you will make great gains toward your goals.