Making any kind of change isn't easy. Our habits and behaviors are so deeply ingrained that changing them seems nearly impossible. Habits become like involuntary reflexes, like breathing. Yeah, old habits die hard. We try. So hard. Our intentions are good but the passing weeks and months weakens our resolve. We exhaust ourselves striving and pushing, forgetting to rest. We just give out. Then setting our alarm early to work out seems crazy. Saying no to a heaping plate full of pasta and bread seems impossible. Writing out a meal plan and shopping list is boring. We get tired. We may even completely give up. Am I the only one? Please tell me I am not alone!
When I started down this road of cleaning up my health/fitness habits I refused to set myself up for disappointment. I checked my unrealistic expectations at the door. Did I still have accountability? Yes, absolutely. Did I still have goals? Yes, I absolutely did. But, I refused to buy into the lie that the ability to change demands perfection. It doesn't. Cue the Hallelujah chorus in the background! Here's the thing. When we commit to change, we are committing to process, to progress, not perfection. Did you catch that? Progress. Not perfection.
Here's why that matters.
- We can relax a bit. We don't have to be so rigid in our expectations. I gave myself permission to be flexible. Missing a morning workout or having an extra dinner roll does not equal failure. Not at all. It doesn't even equal setback. You adjust. Work out in the evening and eat a little less at your next meal. It's ok. Believe that.
- We can decide now to say no to setbacks. One misstep doesn't derail the health/fitness train and send us spiraling toward a major setback. Instead, we just keep going. We do the next thing. We make the next choice a good one. We press forward understanding that one missed workout today does not undo all the hard work we've put in. We press forward believing that one extra roll doesn't wreck all the progress we've made. One missed workout can't turn into a week's worth of missed workouts. One extra roll doesn't turn into six. Make that choice now.
There, now you can breathe a bit easier. I certainly need the reminder today. (I may have had Home Run Burgers for dinner last night. And pizza the night before.)
Oh, and about those self-imposed expectations. Only one expectation has paid dividends in my journey so far. Here it is: Tomorrow I will be/do/choose better than I did today. That's it. I always know I can do that at the very least. And, it's something, right? And it means I'm always making progress, at least when I'm paying attention.