Too Smart for Your Own Good…

“Paralysis by analysis” hung at my old job. We trained competitive athletes. The sign was a reminder: too much thinking (or cuing from coaches) hinders performance. Focused minds are effective, too much contemplation causes problems.

I wonder, are you in the way of a healthier life? Infomercials, magazines, classes and trends abound. Some of us tend to wade through every option, read every article, and insist on making sure it’s the absolute best choice. Well, I have some bad news for you: none of them are the best choice.
All of them have pros and cons and none are perfect. My beautiful reader, get out of your own way and just move forward. In simplest terms: MOVE. If the plan you are about to undertake increases your weekly amount of activity, go for it. It’s 100% better than doing nothing.
Don’t let that fabulous brain of yours get in the way. Detailing every option is a mask for procrastination or fear (I should know.) I implore you to stop the research and commit to the plan that sits well in your gut. If it doesn’t work, feels unsafe, or is terribly inconvenient, you can always change it.

We know that contemplating a change isn’t changing anything – pick one and MOVE forward. Good luck. I’m rooting for you!

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The Futility of “Perfect”

ModelwithBallandChainBlakelyFIT“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.

Personal Strength Training for Women Exclusively in Chicago