You don’t need a complicated eating plan and exercise routine to transform your body. You don’t need to be “perfect”, either. Shoot for “pretty good” instead. Think about it. When you’re running from a bear, do you have to run the fastest? No, all that you have to do is run a little bit faster than the slowest person. (Remember that the next time you’re on the trails.)
The Pain of Perfectionist Perceptions
Most of us have perfectionist thoughts or feelings from time to time. Any of these look familiar?
- I always need to do better.
- I wish I was like _____.
- I can’t start a nutrition and fitness plan until I have more free time / get over an injury / get a different job / get over my gym anxiety / [insert perfect life situation here].
- I suck.
- If I can’t do _____ then I won’t do it at all!
- If I don’t have “high expectations” for myself, then I won’t do anything.
How’s that working for you? Not very well, we’d guess. Perfectionism kills performance. The problem is, the more we try to be “perfect”, the worse our long-term performance becomes. Perfectionists burn out, feel like “failures”, avoid trying new things or procrastinate, don’t learn, and don’t actually improve. (Irony!) Meanwhile, “good-enough” people keep muddling through, feeling happier and more relaxed, trusting the process, rebounding from setbacks, laughing at their mistakes, and in the end, succeeding.
Chasing perfection sucks. When you do it, you feel awful. You’re crabby, critical and controlling. And worst of all, you don’t even get what you want. But luckily we never need to be perfect. We only have to do a little bit better than yesterday. Progress, not perfection.
Consider two options:
Option 1: Making yourself crazy for a week chasing an A++ performance, then burning out and giving up.
Option 2: Showing up every day willing to try, being “good enough for now”, and sticking to Lean Eating for a full year.
Let’s do the math:
7 days x 100% effort + 358 days x 0% effort = no change, or backsliding. You end up feeling like a failure.
365 days x 75% effort = significant transformation. You end up feeling like a superstar.
Focus on “making a little progress” each day rather than being “perfect”. Let yourself be “good enough for now”. Take the pressure off. Be patient. Keep showing up. Keep trying…Let the bear bite someone else in the butt!
Don’t wait for the “perfect” day, “perfect” body, or “perfect” schedule full of free time to come. It never will. Do something NOW. Take a “5-minute action” doing whatever you can do, immediately, to stay on track.
Remember our mantra:
START WHEREVER YOU ARE.
USE WHATEVER YOU HAVE.
DO WHATEVER YOU CAN.
You are good enough.
(Excerpt and Modification of “Running from the bear” originally by Precision Nutrition)