Health and fitness are not always easy.
Even though it’s been my job for quite awhile now I understand that it’s not always desirable to go to the gym or eat as clean as possible. I completely get that. There are plenty of days I don’t feel like working out or I’d rather eat my weight in Count Chocula than eat healthily.
If you feel that every meal needs to be flawless and you can never miss a workout it’s time to stop beating yourself up over all that.
The key to getting on the right path with your health and wellness goals is to focus on progress and NOT perfection.
When it comes to health and fitness perfection is simply unattainable. Trying so will only leave you feeling frustrated, unmotivated and livid at yourself. When you focus on progress you allow yourself to acknowledge that your diet, your fitness and your overall health pursuits might not always go swimmingly. You now give yourself some breathing room and can allow real wellness to take hold.
If your day is spent overly stressed that you didn’t drink enough water, that you only got 3 servings of greens and you only did 20 minutes of cardio I’m afraid that’s not true wellness. You’ve shifted the balance to stress and irritation and I don’t think that’s an ideal way to live.
Focus on the fact that you did get to the gym, that you did choose water over a soft drink and you still got in some greens. All of this is what adds up over the course of months and years. Progress isn’t perfect but it’s keeping you pointed in the right direction!
How can you make sure you are making progress on a daily level? Here are three ways:
Your workout doesn’t need to look like an Olympic athlete where every rep and weight is accounted beforehand but you shouldn’t walk around aimlessly either. You should have a general idea of what you’re going to do when you exercise or hit the gym and follow through on that as best you can. You might end up swapping out an exercise or take a shorter hike but ultimately, you were still being active.
Without a plan, you are not going to be aware of how to reach your end goal. And speaking of that..
There’s something about seeing your goals written down in black and white that makes them seem more achievable. It’s important to set realistic expectations but each day when you see your desires written down it’s that great reminder to keep you on track to where you want to be.
Those who write their goals down accomplish significantly more than those who don’t.
This might be the most critical, and easiest way, to stay on the right course for your health. When you have someone who checks in with you, or that you need to be accountable to it keeps you on track like you would not believe.
This doesn’t have to be like an intense drill sergeant type relationship but just knowing that you have to report back how you’ve been doing to someone makes you much more likely to make great health progress. When you’re left to your own devices without any accountability you become less responsible for your own actions.
Whether it’s just wanted to please people or not let yourself down being accountable to someone makes you more likely to make the healthiest decisions on a day to day level. An accountability partner can be a close friend or colleague who’s on the same health journey as you and creates a great support system.
It doesn’t even have to be someone you know. There are so many great online health and fitness communities where you can check in with each other and provide support. Emails, texts and even Facebook groups can all help you create that great community, keep you motivated and have that accountability.
Give yourself a little breathing room, you deserve it. Instead of getting frustrated that you had to drag yourself through your workout or you didn’t eat the healthiest lunch remember that you’re still moving forward. Get that idea of everything having to be perfect out of your head and simply focus on progressing slowly but surely. Health is a long term goal and it’s like climbing a staircase. Taking just one step at a time might not feel like you’re moving along quickly but after awhile you notice that you’ve been progressing upwards this whole time.
Originally published at medium.com