We tend to make our goals with an all-or-nothing, extreme mindset and approach.
This is the year we will finally eat perfectly, lose 10kgs and transform our body and life. And, because we really want it this time, it will be a piece of cake. We’re determined. Committed. No matter what it takes. Do or die.
We think this is the kind of mindset that it takes to reach our goals. On the contrary, the great thing about building a healthy and fit lifestyle is that it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Sure, it might be optimal to do a complete overhaul and eat “clean” and exercise every day and never eat junk or drink alcohol ever again. But it sure isn’t reasonable or practical.
It very rarely ever lasts beyond a few weeks when the last shreds of our willpower finally runs out. The truth is, our healthy lifestyle choices lie within a spectrum. It’s not one or the other, all or nothing. That extreme kind of approach just doesn’t work long-term. What does work is making small, incremental steps toward a more optimal, healthy lifestyle and body. As you can see in the graphic below, there are a loooooot of perfectly good choices in-between the two extremes of completely unhealthy and perfectly healthy.
All of our choices, whether it’s related to diet, exercise, or mindset, don’t fit into a nice little box of good or bad. They fit somewhere on this spectrum — maybe closer to the unhealthy side, maybe closer to the totally optimal side. Or maybe right smack in the middle.
We can all agree that eating a burger minus the bun is a better choice than chowing down on a huge plate of pizza, chips and a slice of cheesecake. That burger may not be the absolute healthiest choice, say compared to grilled chicken or fish, but it’s a better choice than the alternative. And if you’re not used to eating a perfect diet (like a lot of us aren’t), it doesn’t feel like deprivation either. I’d much rather have someone choose a caesar salad with croutons and cheese over their usual big plate of fettuccine alfredo with bread sticks. Because, hey, at least there’s veggies! And fewer starchy, nutrient-sparse carbs. It’s a step in the right direction.
It goes without saying that if you have fat loss or performance goals, you’ll need to continue moving along the spectrum over time in order to achieve them. But for someone just getting into (or getting back into) a healthy lifestyle, it’s awesome. Something’s not nothing. These small steps can lead to big changes.
Choosing progress over perfection gives yourself some grace when facing the temptations of daily life. Because perfection doesn’t take into account the real world we all live in. It’s assuming perfect conditions at all times, iron-clad willpower and discipline and a ridiculous amount of support and help from loved ones. Which, let’s get real — this never happens. We don’t live in a perfect world. The conditions are never perfect.
So what’s the ONE thing you can do today that will be easy to implement to get you one small step closer to your goals? Are you at least 90% confident that you can do it consistently every day? If not, break it down to a more manageable task until it’s almost too easy. Once you have that down pat, go to the next step and master that. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.
When you can achieve a series of wins day after day, week after week, it really adds up. The trick is to build up each habit week after week until you are living the kind of life that gives you the physique, health and fitness outcomes you desire, while still being enjoyable. Before you know it, you are making the best choices for you, with far less effort.
Yes, its very gradual and can be frustrating at times, but it is the most balanced, sane and lasting method of transformation. There is no wagon to fall off, no restrictive path to deviate from. And you know you are just one meal, one workout, one good night sleep away from getting back to health/fitness/fat loss mode. That takes a lot of pressure off right?
As always, i am here to help, if you have any questions getting started or getting to the next level. Please reach out [email protected] Claire xx