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More Progress, Less Perfection

By: Jennifer Hefner


“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” – Michael J. Fox

I love it when my world is just working without any bumps or roadblocks. When the stars and moon align, when I am productive at home and at work, when my daily schedule just flows without any interruptions, and I check off all the boxes on my to-do list. When I go into my workouts and complete them as planned, running 3 miles without any struggles, you know like the people in the movies who are out running and act like they are out of breath but their hair and makeup look flawless? When I am lifting HEAVY weights without any struggles. PERFECTION!

WAKE UP ALICE! Let’s be honest here. This is not reality. Well, not my reality. And let’s just say hypothetically that this is my reality- what happens next? How can I measure my progress? What happens when I do have a day where I don’t get my work completed or I am not able to lift the same weight I did last week? That’s when disappointment sets in- that’s what happens. You feel like a failure. You feel less than adequate. You feel like you don’t belong.

What if we change our mindset to focus on progress instead of perfection? When we talk about achieving or growing as an individual, we need to use tools that will help us train our brain for a positive mindset. This way as we navigate our journey in a healthy way as to not derail ourselves or cause ourselves to quit. I did a vlog a while back where I talked about S.M.A.R.T. Goals. The “M” standing for MEASURABLE. When you can “measure” your progress you will see a difference in your mindset. Sometimes we might want to measure our daily progress against our last workout. Did you run or walk farther? Did you complete the same distance faster? Or, if you are not feeling your best that day, you might see your “progress” as simply completing a workout.

As for your nutritional goals, you might measure progress in a couple of different ways. Maybe you count your macros or maybe you count your calorie intake. Some people measure progress on the scale where some individuals measure body fat or simply go by the fit of their clothing. However you measure your progress, PROGRESS IS PROGRESS. It is measurable, it can be forgiving. Progress for one individual will not be the same for another. This is the beauty of PROGRESS.

I was recently listening to a mental advantage podcast. The guest, Lauren Williams, a former elite collegiate hockey player, talked about the problem we encounter when we are always looking to achieve perfection. When we look to be perfect in our performance, instead of recognizing progress each day, we are automatically setting ourselves up for failure. We have set the bar so high, something unachievable, that we are going to fail every time. That is when we lose the love for whatever it is we are doing. In essence, many people quit.

Working with college athletes daily as well as youth athletes, I can attest to this. The athletes that look for perfection in their performance are always deflated at the end of most practices. I see the defeat in their face as well as in their body language. They compare themselves to others instead of looking at the progress they make. Then the ultimate happens, it is inevitable. They lose the love for the game and for competition. Then many of them quit.

What does this have to do with the every day person, or yourself you ask? Everything! I want to encourage you to look for MORE PROGRESS, and LESS PERFECTION. Whether you are beginning your journey for a healthy mindset and body, or you are a seasoned pro, stop for a minute and make the decision that you are going to look for progress. Look for the small improvements that will add up in the long run. This is the secret for success. Progress adds up over time and equals BIG gains.

As you begin the new year, start laying the foundation for more progress and give the boot to perfection. You will see your mindset change as well as notice a healthier, happier you. Challenges will be more enjoyable and your love for the journey will keep you going!

Happy New Year!

~Jennifer Hefner, HH Mindset Coach

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