Progress not perfection

Many of us have a really all or nothing mindset, which often holds us back in life. Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Spending ages trying to find the best way to do something and never actually getting started.
  • Being frustrated / angry / disappointed in yourself for not doing something perfectly, which typically then makes you feel worse about yourself and deepens any downward spiral you’re in.
  • Regularly starting again on Monday.

What if things didn’t need to be perfect? What if making some progress, however small, what good enough?

The egg theory (I wish I knew who to credit this to) is a fabulous perspective to take if this is you…if you bought a dozen eggs and broke one, would you throw away the whole box? Of course you wouldn’t. You’d just put that down as a broken egg and carry on as before. And this is very much the strategy I’d like you to take with healthy living.

In an ideal world, we’d all get our workouts in as planned, our nutrition would be on point, we’d get enough sleep every night, meditate regularly, have very little stress in our lives and life (and our small people) wouldn’t throw us curveballs and distractions. We all that’s not the case though.

The key to progress is consistently putting in some effort, no matter how small. In continually trying, even if we don’t achieve exactly what we wanted to. And the more we do things, the more competent and confident we get at them, the more they become habits, and the easier they become.

From a nutrition perspective, Precision Nutrition analysed 12 month’s worth of data from 1000 of their nutrition coaching clients to try and uncover what it really takes to lose fat, get healthy and change our bodies. And the findings made for a really interesting read! Here are the key points:

  • Clients who were less than 50% consistent, but stuck at it for the 12 months managed to (sustainably) lose 5-6% of their total body weight and improved on various health and wellness measures. So not even half compliant!
  • Those in the halfway house category (i.e. those that stuck to their workout and nutrition goals 50-79% of the time) saw great results in terms of reduced abdominal fat, smaller waists and weight loss.
  • And incredible transformations were achieved by many of those who were 80-89% consistent with their nutrition and lifestyle changes.

At no point was perfection required to get results!

So next time you’re setting yourself a goal, start small and have a think about what a little bit better would look like. Do more if you can, celebrate what you do manage and keep at it. Small steps and changes add up!

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