chart showing progress

Progress Not Perfection

October 19, 2021

The idea of perfection is completely foolish and unreasonable in my eyes.

We live in a messy, beautiful, chaotic world. And honestly, I prefer it that way. The idea of being perfect seems so exhausting to me and frankly extremely boring. Constantly trying to attain perfection causes so much anxiety, depression and worry and who wants to live like that?

Every day we are bombarded with thousands of ads and articles claiming to bring us closer to perfection. I’m here to tell you, it’s never going to happen, and this should come as a relief.

The past few years I have followed the following mantra “progress not perfection”. When I find myself feeling discouraged or when it is taking me longer to reach one of my goals, this is what I repeat to myself. Making progress of any kind is really what we want to focus on, not being perfect. Having high standards and believing in a high quality of work is not the same thing as perfection. It is healthy and motivating to want to be good at what you do and succeed. Striving to be perfect is the wrong way to get there because it can really slow you down and get in the way of reaching a goal. When you are so hyper focused on getting every detail right and perfect you distract yourself from making meaningful changes. In addition, perfectionism really hinders you from being creative and opening yourself to new thoughts or ideas. You can really get stuck in a pattern of thinking and doing things the same way over and over again. Lastly, it can put you in such a black and white mindset that it can really zap your motivation. We all have good days when we seem to be on the right path to reaching our goals and bad days, when things are a bit slower and we are feeling discouraged. If you see things as strictly win/lose or fail/succeed with no gray area in between, it can make your work inconsistent and any time the smallest thing goes wrong you want to entirely give up because you think you have failed.

man on top of wall celebrating

This is why it is important to focus on progress instead of perfection. First of all, Progress is not a straight line and if there is one thing you take out of this article, please let it be that. You will struggle. You will take 4 steps forward and 2 steps back. You will make mistakes. But you can rest easy knowing that all of us do. Be patient in your journey to reach your goal. There is not one person that followed their dream or started something new that didn’t fail dozens, maybe even hundreds of times before finally reaching their goal.  Still, they didn’t give up until they were satisfied, and neither should you. Each failure is an opportunity to learn and to grow.  Focusing on progress puts us into the mindset of learning. Instead of seeing things as failures, they are seen as learning experiences. If I tried to do something and it didn’t happen to work out, I can move on knowing that I learned from that experience and can approach it in a different way and see if that works better. Focusing on progress is inspiring because it encourages you to reflect and see just how far you have come. You may not have reached your goal yet, but you can look back and see how much you have accomplished since you started and this can push you to keep working to make progress towards that goal.

When I started my fitness journey, I was discouraged when I didn’t see results within the first week of working out. Sure, I felt better and stronger but I couldn’t physically see results yet, so I felt like a failure. I thought about giving up plenty of times because results were not coming as fast as I wanted them too. But I did notice that I felt better, even if only slightly. This was progress for me, so I kept up with it. It was months before I saw any real physical progress and it made me realize that things do not have to happen immediately. We live in a world where everything we want is at the tips of our fingers. We can search things on our phones and find the answers in seconds and food is ordered and delivered to us without ever having to leave the couch. But great work takes time. When I started my fitness journey I was so out of shape and couldn’t even do one pushup. Now I can do 10 and while that might not seem like a lot to some people, it is something I am proud of and never thought I could do.

It is the same idea when it comes to losing weight. People often decide they want to lose weight and then are upset when it is not happening fast enough.  It is always better to focus on your progress and make lifestyle changes slowly so that you are more likely to stick those habits them for a long period of time.  Any little progression towards your goal puts you one step further!  Awaken180 is perfect for this because we really focus on building healthy habits that you will keep for life and teaching you all the tools to support these lifelong habits. We not only coach you weekly but we provide a website with recipes, guided meditations, and inspiration to keep you on track. Call us at 844-346-1800 and set up a consultation and learn how we can help you!

Taking small steps every day is better than taking no steps at all because you are afraid it won’t be perfect. Attempting to do something many times is better than never attempting at all. Failing is something that happens to you, it is not a part of who you are. If you are in the middle of working towards your goal or even if you are just starting, I encourage you to write down 3 small steps that you can do today that would help you reach your goal. Pick one of them and do it today! Even the tiniest move in the right direction is something to be proud of. You’ve got this!

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