I sent this email out to my coaching club today. The women of Germinate have been consistently working towards their goals for almost 2 months now and I am constantly inspired and in awe of the smart choices that they make.
Choices to move their bodies and nourish them with good nutrition.
Choices to take time (no matter how little) for themselves, to manage stress and listen to what their bodies are telling them.
But MOST of all, choices to move past and through the "imperfect" moments and decisions...
The choice to recognize that there is no perfection, there's just persistence.
Anyways, I wanted to share my email with any of you that can identify with what I am writing here.
Maybe, like me, you give up on things when they aren't easy or when you aren't good at them right off the bat?
Read more below!!
As a kid, I remember thinking that what mattered most when trying to accomplish something, was how good I was at it.
For example, in high school, I joined track and field for one reason and one reason only.
I was good at it.
I was always fast and had learned to hurdle and long jump at a track club in middle school, so I signed up.
My dad was great at track in high school too, so I feel like natural ability was really in my favor.
As a freshmen coming on to a mediocre track team, I was by comparison pretty good and stood out from the rest of the freshmen.
My coach saw promise in my abilities and therefore gave me lots of opportunity.
It's sort of sad.
I think being good right out of the gate did not serve me well, I never learned to work hard and to persist when things got difficult or when I straight out failed.
I'll be the first to admit that when I had a race that sucked, I wouldn't finish it.
When I had a slow time, rather than doing the work to improve day in and day out at practice, I just crossed my fingers and hoped for a better race next time.
I had no ability to persist through the failure and discomfort the way that I needed to to hone my skill.
Consequently I started on the team as a good athlete and left 4 years later, eh...ok....when I know, had I applied myself, I could have been great!
It's funny, being "good" at stuff never really served me well because my ability to get by with little to no work, just encouraged me to coast.
I never learned to dig deep.
I never learned to push myself off when I failed, to identify what I needed to work on, and to commit to practicing that thing until I got better at it.
Nope. I just did things that I was good at and when I wasn't good at it, I stopped doing them.
Fast forward to my junior year of college when I was literally drowning in bills and bad grades because of this perfection mindset.
I finally learned to how to apply myself.
I learned how to dig-in and to consistently put in time and effort, over and over, and over until I got the result that I wanted.
And thank God I began to learn this lesson at 20, because I was about to set out on an adult life path where I would constantly be faced with things that needed to be done, things that I was no good at.
People think that perfectionism is about being meticulous and having high standards, but I think that perfectionism is also a little about laziness, and making excuses for ourselves and not sticking with something.
"If I can't do it perfectly, then I'm not going to do it."
"If I can't do it the way that I believe that it needs to be done, then I'm not meant to do it. "
I think that we sort of know that if we can't do something perfectly right out of the gate, that we are going to have to put some work in.
We are going to have to see ourselves fail over and over and over again, until we finally succeed.
We also might even suspect that we will never accomplish that thing in the way that we had envisioned, and we aren't super comfortable with departing from the plan, in which we perfectly achieve that perfect thing.
This is one of the primary reasons that I created my "Persistence Over Perfection, POP Challenge" that so many of you participated in, because I feel like the need to be good at something rather than the ability to be faithful in something, holds us back.
Today when you look in the mirror, or get on the scale, look at your workout form or nutrition choices, remember that it doesn't matter if you are perfect.
It doesn't matter if you are nailing all of your food choices or completing a workout with no rest periods.
It doesn't matter whether you are good at pushups today, or food prep, or taking time to walk.
What matters is that you persistently pursue practicing these things.
Because A. You can't give up!!
Recently I re-connected with a friend from high school that after years of working towards her physique goals while battling an entire life of excess fat stores and medications that made it difficult for her to lose, finally successfully achieved it.
This is what she had to say about how she finally made it happen:
"It took a lot of help from my trainer and switching up my nutrition MULTIPLE times before we figured out what really worked for me but most of all ... [I would recommend to others], just keep working, switching it up until you find what works for you - and don't give up on yourself!!! Mind over matter - your body won't give up on you unless you give up on it"
And B. As was the case in my story, being "good at something" initially, AKA following a diet and getting swift results, doesn't necessarily serve us well longterm.
Do you want to be perfect for 3 months to temporarily change your body, your weight and your lifestyle?
Do you want to reinforce the idea that when a diet or workout is hard, that you have to quit or wait and hope that next time it will be easier? That you will finally find the one program that comes easily to you and gets you quick results?
Do you want to learn to want to practice persisting through the imperfections...to carve out a lifestyle that works for you, body mind and soul?
The high school girl collapsed and pouting on the side of the track because she wasn't able to push through some adversity to hit her stride would tell you to choose persistence.