Consistency Is More Important Than Perfection
When you’re on a nutrition improvement journey, the pressure and expectations we put on ourselves can often make it feel like there is no room for error. How could there be? You’re working for something, you’re changing, you’re prioritizing new things and often paying for new things, too. Whether you’re motivated by money, or purpose, the goal or the journey, it’s important to always keep in mind that consistency is more important than perfection. Holding ourselves to a perfect standard only sets us up for failure, disappointment, and making the progress a whole lot harder than it needs to be.
Perfection Is A Fancy Form Of Fear
Life happens and personal obstacles are always going to be there. Once you overcome, there will be another. However, if you hold yourself to a perfect standard rather than focusing on consistency, then you’re living in a masked world of fear, of your own failure.
Perfectionism is not only the enemy of all the good that can happen or that could be, but it’s also the thing that ruins the realistic, possible, and the journey along the way towards your goal. It’s like a hamster wheel - you feel like you’re going somewhere, but in the end, you’re not. You’re just going to get off the wheel and be right where you started when you got on it.
To take things a step further, the idea of perfectionism can often stop us before we even begin our nutrition, wellness, or performance journey(s). So why bother changing in the first place? Why bother trying the new weight, the new recipe, or the new perspective of yourself when you stare into the mirror?
Quite possibly, the biggest problem of perfection, is that it’s often disguised as a virtue. Ever go into a job interview and say that you’re a ‘perfectionist’ or you try to sell your potential employer on your ‘perfectionism’ as if it’s a good selling point, wearing it like a badge of honor on your chest? Here’s the truth, perfectionism can be chalked up to fear. A fear of failure and a fear of not accepting ourselves as we are.
PERFECTIONISM TELLS US THAT NOT ONLY ARE WE NOT GOOD ENOUGH NOW, IN THE PRESENT, BUT THAT WE WILL NEVER BE.
Consistency Is More Important Than Perfection
Here’s a weird pill to swallow - once missed meal, one day of messed up macros, one holiday weekend, aren’t going to ruin your progress. Life is about enjoying the journey along the way, and so is your nutrition journey. This means being 80% consistent with your day, allowing for a little wiggle room, error, and success.
If we focus on perfection, we allow the all or nothing mentality to creep into our day-to-day, where we live in fear of failure and disappointment. Most likely, at some point with this mentality, you’re going to throw in the towel, giving up, and getting off the hamster wheel, back where you started.
Just because you got a flat tire doesn’t mean you get out of the car and slash the other three, right? So why do we do this when it comes to our nutrition, what we eat, how we exercise and the way that we look at ourselves in the mirror?
It’s possible to move on without derailing progress by changing the internal narrative to the idea that consistency is more important than perfectionism.
Why Consistency Wins
For most people, drastic changes aren’t sustainable. When you work on improving one habit at a time, while moving onto the next, we can more deeply root these new, healthy habits into our brains and our daily routines. The narrative changes from guilt, fear, and pressure, to achieving by receiving feelings of pleasure, accomplishment, and positivity.
Consistency also keeps us from snowballing poor behaviors into derailing or detrimental habits. By allowing ourselves to eat the foods that we enjoy in appropriate amounts, we reduce cravings and desires to go overboard on ‘bad foods’ that we ‘cannot have’. When we improve our consistency, we reduce the illusion of perfection, allowing for moderation and the balance of living in the colorful areas between the black and white spectrums of our lives (we talked about this a few weeks ago).
Give Yourself The Keys To Change Every Day
In order to implement more consistency, start small. Pick a goal that you’re going to work on this week and write yourself a sticky note reminder and putting it by your toothbrush, by your steering wheel, or on your desk at work. Even if you miss a few days, give yourself some grace and patience. Why strive to be perfect? Why live in fear? Why be afraid of failure? Why not chase your goals while enjoying your life along the way?
Here are a few more ways to implement the ‘consistency is more important than perfection’ mentality:
KNOW YOUR WHY
Dig down deep and find something that is going to keep you accountable when the days get dark and tough. The WHY is the purpose, cause or believe that drives each of us in the direction of our goals. It works philosophically and it works biologically within our brains. It helps you discover your purpose and how to live in alignment with it.
AIM FOR 80% CONSISTENCY
Consistency is providing yourself with a baseline to achieve every day. If you go over 80% consistency with your plan, macros, or habits, that’s great! But the goal is to not go below 80% consistency in order to stay in balance and on track with your goals and habits. Simply put: if you cannot be consistent, you cannot make progress. This is why accountability, whether it’s from your why, or a nutrition coach, or the things around you (or all of it) is crucial to making change.
So now that you know accountability is important, how are you going to stay accountable? We suggest starting with simplifying your process, making it achievable, and keeping your commitments small. This might be a little humbling, but it should also be a little liberating. When you commit to more or less in your life, you begin to create structure, boundaries, and accountability. Stringing together small steps, creating a progressive pattern, that doesn’t just half way, it gets you the whole way.
DON’T MAKE FOOD OFF LIMITS
When you make food off limits, you live in the all or nothing world. When you’re restrictive with yourself, your mind doesn’t just know it, your body knows it. This increases cravings, desires, and wants, rather than needs. You’re not a good person or a bad person for eating something, okay? It’s just food. Don’t let people or social media or the ad in your favorite magazine tell you otherwise.
TRACK PROGRESS OVER TIME
Ah, the time factor. While it’s important to celebrate small victories along the way, it’s also important to have respect for the journey and the work that goes into your progress overtime. If you feel like you’re not making progress fast enough, open the conversation with your coach to see if your concerns or thoughts are justifiable or if there is a lingering expectation that is unachievable. Track progress over time so that you can aim for consistency rather than perfection. Sure, we all want it RIGHT NOW, but is the going to be the way to achieve what you want, 5 years from now?
Patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet. When you’re positive and persistent, this is where the change happens. If you’re not getting the results that you want as fast as you want them, what can you do to be better? Does it mean following your plan closer, hitting your targets better, exercising more consistently, getting more quality sleep, reducing stress levels, or even setting appropriate expectations? Is it getting more rest between training sessions, talking with your coach more, or just taking a deep breath and resetting throughout the day? Is it nutrition timing, hormones, or inflammatory ingredients? When you’re patient with the process, open with your communication, and clear with your methods, you begin to refine and define ‘your nutrition’. Not someone else’s, not someone else’s body or goals or progress, but yours.
So all in all, consistency is more important than perfection. When you focus on the process, mindset, habits and routines, you lay the building blocks for success towards your wellness goals. It won’t come from what you do occasionally, it will only come from what you do consistently.
A month from now you can either have a month of progress or a month of excuses of why you didn’t.
READY TO TAKE THE GUESSWORK OUT OF YOUR NUTRITION AND WORK TOWARDS YOUR GOALS INCORPORATING THE FOODS THAT YOU LOVE?
THE SWOLE KITCHEN provides 1:1 nutrition coaching, macro coaching, and custom meal plans to help guide you to becoming the best version of yourself.
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