As a recovering perfectionist, I feel comfortable saying this…
Don’t beat yourself up about being perfect.
Nobody who absolutely had to be ‘perfect,’ ever really accomplished anything worth accomplishing anyway. Without some risk, there is little reward. If you got through the rest of your life perfectly, where would the excitement lie?
I didn’t realize this until I had a couple of my own big failures in life, but failures are necessary in the grand scheme of things, you grow from failures.
I’m not saying, plan to fail, but rather accept adversity.
There is a high likelihood that you might not be perfect or highly successful in everything you do, so embrace that fact that these will be learning experiences.
Being perfect is not necessary in the grand scheme, nobody gets better when they are already running at 100%.
There is no incentive to do better than or stay at 100%, if you are always at 100%. There is no where to go, but down.
Not only that, it is entirely unrealistic to aim to be perfect all the time.
Know anybody that got 100% in every class, from Kindergarten to University?
How about perfect in every subject they took in a semester or over the course of a year?
Neither do I…
Very few ever people give up on school because they don’t achieve ‘perfect.’
So why then do a ton of people every year give up on their weight loss, or health and fitness goals/dreams because they don’t hit 100% on their nutrition or training habits?
This is often the expectation when we go on a diet or exercise plan though, isn’t it?
100% Perfection Isn’t Reasonable, Being Consistent Is (tweet this)
Imagine you hit 90% of your weight loss, fitness or nutritional objectives this year. If you got 90’s in all of your school classes, you’d be ecstatic and you’d be at the top of your class.
Plan for some mistakes and you’ll feel a lot better about the process and the outcomes.
This would be a phenomenal achievement, some people might even call you a fitness genius. Not only that, you’d also achieve incredible success!
Aim for 90% doing the things things you know you should and I guarantee you’ll see results.
80% is Honours Roll
Once you get the weight off, this is how I generally choose to lead my fitness lifestyle. It gives me 20% breathing room to enjoy life, while maintaining the physical body I like having.
You can still get great results in this realm too. I’ll even still guarantee you’ll see results if you do 80% of what any good fitness professional or book asks of you; Just know that it might not be as impressive a change as the 90% group.
This is an excellent way to maintain and 20% is a LOT of buffer room. If you have 5 meals a day, that means one of those meals can be a little off.
I will say that think this is the cut-off for most people in fitness and weight loss for seeing really good results, drop below this level and I’m not willing to stake my reputation on guaranteed results but it might be enough for short-term maintenance.
In school, many would say that 70% is a decent grade, but this is kind of the status quo isn’t it? Everyone else is the status quo, that’s probably the opposite of what you want to be.
If you’re already fit, do most of the right things the majority of the time but still fall down to this level from time to time, I’m of the mind that it’s enough to maintain where you’re at for short periods of time but not make dramatic improvement.
We all go on vacation right?
Sadly, I’m not sure this grade is enough to drop a ton of fat loss or build a whack of muscle, but it might be enough to lose a little or gain a little pretty slowly if you’ve got the time.
Something is always better than nothing, but hanging here for too long isn’t thrilling.
At the minimum, this might mean you stay where you are, but I wouldn’t want to hang out at this level for too long.
Adding It Up
You’ll have to kind of keep track of where you are relatively speaking, but that’s a hell of a lot better than counting calories, isn’t it?
Track your progress the right way, so that you can make changes based on the actual results!
If you eat 3 times a day like many, then you can cheat a little on one or two meals per week and still hit 90%.
If you eat 5 or 6, then you might be able to cheat a meal three or four times a week you’re still hitting 90%…
If you hit the gym three times a week, you can miss a workout if you’re having a rough day, once or twice a month and you’re still hitting 90%…
Think about that all for a sec and know where you stand. Everything can add up.
I’ve yet to meet anyone doing things so wrong all the time that I’d call them a 10%er or even a 30%er but admittedly some of us just aren’t doing enough of the things we know we should be doing.
If 70% seems like a daunting task though, it’s going to be really hard to put effort towards that.
Let’s say you’re a 40%er or a 50%er and you’re mildly to strongly unhappy with your current physical situation.
Bumping up from a 40%er to a 50%er is still progress. Bumping up from a 50% to a 60%er is also still progress.
Something remains better than nothing and sometimes seemingly small changes or improvements can make us feel like it isn’t worth the effort.
It builds momentum though. You exercise once a week for a while and suddenly you crave twice a week. Exercise twice a week for a while and the next thing you know you’re at three times a week. Start eating a little more protein or a veggie at one meal, and suddenly you’re eating more protein and a little more vegetables at most meals.
Sometimes it’s worth just leveling up. Develop your skills, take things up a notch, hold them there for a while, once you feel confident, expand the zone.
You have to learn that 70% is doable, slowly but surely sometimes. It isn’t always the starting point, actually many times it rarely is.
If you want to achieve mind-blowing results, you just need to hit your fitness and nutrition behaviour targets, 90% of the time, sure, but what about the other 10%?
Don’t call it cheating. Cheating makes it seem devious. Call it a free meal, or a free day if you want to save it up for a large period of time. Or even a fun meal or a fun day. Give it a positive spin.
The other 10% of your fitness or eating routine, shouldn’t mean downing an entire pizza, an entire bag of chips, or a pint of ice cream or an entire container of cookies or justifying something like gardening as your ‘planned exercise for that day.’
Just enough to make you satisfied. Keep it real. Ease up a little. Let your hair down. Plan the free meal or the free day if you can and have control over what you’re eating. Eat things you think are absolutely worth it.
For me, that’s usually ramen, red wine, pizza or chocolate. Everyone has their flavour though.
Have a piece of cheesecake on Saturday evening, or a glass of wine on Friday night, maybe a cookie or two with lunch on Wednesday, but avoid feeling you have absolute permission to eat whatever you want a one day a week, or a couple of meals per week.
Don’t give yourself permission to go buck wild, just because you’ve given yourself permission not to be perfect.
Don’t obsess with perfect, but be real too.