A really important habit for a loser to get into is to FORGET PERFECT! Instead, we should embrace progress. I say it all the time: progress, not perfection. I know that is the right attitude. I completely believe that statement when I’m referring to someone else, but I still have a hard time applying that belief to myself.
If someone else runs a mile, I think they are amazing and I’m proud of them. When I run a mile, I get down on myself because I should be able to do more. I ran two 1/2 marathons in the past, after all. That was 2011. This is 2015. Obviously I trained for those races. I haven’t been training regularly now, so why would I expect myself to be able to do that much now? It’s totally illogical.
Why is it that we are so much harder on ourselves than we are on others? Do we somehow think that we should be superheroes? We don’t expect anyone else to be perfect, yet we tend to expect that of ourselves. We have to crawl before we walk and walk before we run. We need to be patient with ourselves.
To be successful in weight loss and weight maintenance, you do NOT have to be perfect. Did you catch that? YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO BE SUCCESSFUL. The sooner we can embrace that truth, the easier the process will be for us. I have not been perfect even one time during my journey because there is no such thing as perfect. So why do we try to hold ourselves to some standard that is unattainable in the first place?
Years ago I was battling depression and anxiety. One of the key lessons I learned in therapy was “Good enough is good enough.” I have to remind myself of that all in time in many areas of my life, but I can tell you that I am MUCH happier when I adhere to this belief. It is good enough. There is no standard I need to live up to for folding laundry, cleaning house, cooking food, or tracking points. I just need to get it done. If it’s done, then it’s good enough.
When we try to be perfect, it leads us to all or nothing thinking. How often have we said “Well, I already blew the day. I might as well keep eating.” I am SO guilty of that. It makes no sense but it is such a hard mindset to change. I’ve heard several analogies recently that demonstrate this better than I can…
If you get a flat tire, do you slash the other three?
Of couse you do. The car is ruined and you can’t drive it now, so you might as well give up.
If you trip on one stair, do you throw yourself down the flight of stairs?
You might as well. Clearly if you tripped on one step you’ll never be able to make it up or down an entire flight of stairs. I guess you’ll have to get someone to carry you.
If you drop one egg, do you drop the rest of the dozen too?
Why not? You already broke one. What’s the point of saving the other 11?
See what I mean? Those things sound completely ridiculous, but we apply a similar attitude to weight loss and fitness ALL the time. The bottom line is that change is a process. Some things will be easy and some things will be hard, but nothing will be perfect. The important thing is to just keep trying.
If you exceed your points/calorie budget one day, you are not doomed to stay overweight. It was one day. Try again tomorrow. If you miss a workout one day, you are not a failure. Try to be more active during your day and focus on your next workout. Don’t dwell on one tiny thing that didn’t go as planned when you are doing SO many things that are going well.
If you have one bad meal, you haven’t ruined your week. My Weight Watchers leader taught me that we have 21 meals in a week (not even counting snacks). If you don’t do great at 1 meal, that’s only 5% of your meals for the week. Beating yourself up and stressing about 1 meal will only make things worse. TRUST ME…I’ve done it.
If we can accept that we will never be perfect and celebrate our progress instead, we will we much happier and more successful. Positive thoughts lead to positive behaviors. Good enough is good enough.
Want more? Check out all my Habits of a Loser posts!