“Perfect” is overrated. Waiting for “perfect” can keep us on the wrong trajectory or worse, (and quite literally) stationary. Delaying action until we find the perfect schedule, the perfect time, the perfect shoe, the perfect mood, the perfect class, the perfect trainer (I can help), the perfect test, the perfect equipment, the perfect clothing, the perfect gym, the perfect food or the perfect kitchen gadget will NOT serve you well in this healthy living journey. “Perfect” is a perfect tool for procrastination. And who needs more of that? “Perfect” is rare, fleeting and in the healthy living game, unnecessary.
Fifteen minutes of cardio, a park district gym, a trial class, overpriced, ready-to-eat fresh fruit, old workout clothes, canned vegetables, a walk while pushing the stroller of a fussy child, a lap around the office every hour or scheduling a new workout program during a busy time of year: none of these are perfect, but all of them are effective. Most importantly, they relentlessly trump inaction caused by waiting for “perfect.”
Consider for a moment if/or how long you have waited for perfect. Three months? A few days? A year? And if you hadn’t waited for “perfect” and improved by 1% a week with a less-than-perfect habit: How much weight could you have lost? Could you already have lowered your cholesterol? Increased your bone density? How much more prepared for your vacation would you be? How differently would you feel about this upcoming summer?
Furthermore, “perfect” ignores process. And process is at the heart of healthy living. Perfect implies a fixed destination, an arrival, an end. Process is an evolution promoting growth, improvement and adjusting. Listening to our bodies, understanding our mental hurdles, trying different strategies and replying with wisdom to the curve balls life throws our way are all part of living healthfully.
And for those of us who tend toward all or nothing (eh-um), remember: letting go of “perfect” still allows for high standards and ambitious goals. Awesome, enjoyable, impressive, strong and fun-filled are a few of the alternatives to striving with out “perfect.” How many Olympians took our breath away with out being “perfect?” How many of us have gained a loved one or friend through imperfect means? How many times have we been bolstered by a far from “perfect” experience?
So, my sincere thanks for your efforts toward perfection in other endeavors (surgeons and structural engineers in particular.) But in your quest to live healthfully and successfully, stop waiting for “perfect” and embrace a more rewarding path with glorious and effective, imperfect action.
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