When was the last time you were perfect? If you’re being honest, I’m guessing never. Sure, there are those moments when everything went exactly as you planned and envisioned, but I’m willing to bet that even in those cases there was a fair amount of prep and practice that took place beforehand.
Every great athletic performance was preceded by loads and loads of repetitive practice. Every perfect presentation was built on hours and hours of rehearsal and revision.
In just about every one of life’s endeavors, we expect that we will be required to face challenges, adapt, adapt some more, and then eventually overcome. Fall down, get back up.
But for some reason, for many of us this acceptance doesn’t translate well to health and fitness. I’ve never fully understood why, but we tend to give ourselves way too little leeway when it comes to changing our bodies. If it doesn’t happen in 2 weeks or 30 days, or whatever arbitrary timeline you assign, well then you’re just not good enough, so why even continue on?
In almost every other avenue of life, we can distinguish setbacks from failure. Generally speaking, we don’t get immediately discouraged to the point of throwing in the towel like we do in the realm of health and fitness.
If you’re going to succeed long term at this health thing, you absolutely need to give yourself permission to fail. Understand going into this that you are going to slip up and eat some bad food. You’re going to miss a workout or give less than maximum effort. You’re going to binge on late night TV when you should be sleeping. And that’s okay. As long as it doesn’t become a habit.
Here’s some ancient Chinese wisdom for you: Start being hard on yourself without being so hard on yourself. You might not be perfect, but the goal is to still strive for near perfection – with the understanding that the path will be challenging and wrought with many twists, turns, and setbacks. Know that it’s okay to stumble. That it’s expected, in fact. Long term progress is never a linear progression. Demand much of yourself, but when you fall short, be quick to forgive yourself and get back to the process of moving forward.
Remember – allowing yourself to fail is not the same as not trying. You still want to strive to be your absolute best and to continually push yourself. Just stop beating yourself up so badly when you fall down.
Be Your Best,