Lesson 2: See the bigger picture: Progress not perfection
The past two weeks have been in equal measure both challenging and rewarding on my fitness journey. Through these, the words of the wonderful health coach Tammy Hume ‘Progress not perfection’ have been ringing in my ears carrying me through a few tricky times.
Ok, so I caved when a care package full of my childhood treats arrived from New Zealand. I’ll admit after sizing it up, circling it licking my lips for a few minutes, deciding how I could justify just ‘a little’, before I knew it, wrappers were flying and I found myself in the midst of a crazed daze with crumbs of my favourite chocolate on my cheeks and lips mid-morning. Yep, probably not the best move (shhh don’t tell Malik my personal trainer).
But hey, that’s life! I don’t need to be a purist. Momentarily the familiar internal critic piped up scolding my reckless abandon. However, instead of jumping off the wagon and eating the rest of my tasty treats, I remembered Tammy’s words and thought back to how on balance, this was nothing in the big picture of healthy choices I had been making. With that perspective I enjoyed the taste and relished every minute of my feast and importantly stopped myself from devouring it all which previously I would have been guilty of.
For a perfectionist like me, these words are like a tonic to my soul, giving me permission to not have to ‘get it all right’. In the past I’ve been guilty of beating myself up or getting stressed out when a slight deviation to my perfect plan has veered me off course. ‘Falling off the (diet/exercise) wagon’ has cued the internal voice of ‘why bother?’, followed by feelings of failure, guilt and defeat. So simple catch phrases like ‘progress not perfection’ help lift me up and see the bigger picture.
Besides empowering reminders like the quote above, I use other helpful tools to help keep me inspired and to help me see the bigger picture. One is a great app called My Fitness Pal (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/), which tracks your daily activity and nutrition. It shows you the bigger picture of your week’s progress, which gives you positive perspective and motivates you not to let a little speed bump derail your health journey.
Progress not perfection!
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