Have you ever missed a workout and then guilted yourself into feeling like a total failure?
Or “cheated” on a diet and then spent the rest of the day believing you’ll never accomplish any of your goals?
Do you look at influencers on Instagram and compare your body, training routine, or diet to theirs, with the belief you aren’t doing enough?
If you have—you aren’t alone. These ways of thinking and talking about our relationship with health and fitness are everywhere.
But the truth is: thinking about yourself and exercise like this actually gets in the way of accomplishing your goals.
Because what it comes from is the pressure to be perfect.
This toxic pressure to be perfect sucks the joy out of exercising. And even more importantly, it makes you feel awful about yourself when you’ve done nothing wrong.
Guilt and shame won’t get you into the gym. And they won’t help you achieve your goals faster.
Fortunately, there’s another way of thinking about fitness that doesn’t require perfection. And will leave you feeling inspired and enthusiastic instead of ashamed.
It’s choosing to focus on your progress over perfection.
When progress is your goal instead of perfection, there’s more to celebrate, more to enjoy, and you can be more flexible with how you train.
And that’s the real secret to hitting your goals and being happy with yourself.
So here are some insights to help you focus on progress instead of perfection in your own training routine:
The all or nothing attitude towards training is everywhere. This idea that you have to be completely invested in fitness above anything else, every single day, if you want to accomplish any of your goals.
And it’s true that consistency is important. But the way it’s talked about is often misleading.
Being consistent doesn’t mean you must operate at 100% intensity in your training all the time. Or that you must train like an elite, professional athlete, or else there’s no point.
Consistency is really about showing up each day in ways that are meaningful, but that work for you. Even in small ways. Because over time, even the small ways you show up turn into big outcomes.
This means there are some days you’ll do an intense workout, or reach a personal record, or try a new challenge. And other days when you stretch, do slower movements, and focus on low impact.
Both are important for progress.
Consistency isn’t about all or nothing. It’s about doing something, big or small, every day.
Exercise is important for your health, happiness, and longevity.
But when we get into exercise, it’s easy to find ourselves taken over by feelings of needing more and needing to be perfect. And that’s when it starts to drain us.
If you feel guilty and torture yourself for having an extra glass of wine with some pizza on Friday night, then you’ve entered the territory where the healthy lifestyle mindset is doing you more harm than any wine and pizza.
There are so many aspects of living a good life. Our physical health is one of them. But our emotional, mental, and social well-being is just as important. If your exercise starts to take priority at the expense of all those other areas in your life, then you’ll run into new problems as a result.
So the next time you feel yourself worried about missing a workout on vacation, or wondering if you should have that piece of cake at a friend’s wedding—remember that you’re allowed to enjoy yourself too.
Being consistent and making progress doesn’t come from being perfect every day.
The more you enjoy something the more likely you are to keep doing it. It’s something we all know intuitively. But in our pressure to be perfect, we start to see exercise as a means to an end—like having a better body or improved health.
But to reap those long term benefits of exercise, it has to become a regular part of your life.
The best way to consistently show up for your workouts, without it feeling like a chore, is to fall in love with the process of getting fit.
Enjoy each workout for what it is…A time away from all concerns in life. A place to focus on taking care of yourself. And a time to do something fun and active.
If there are types of exercise you enjoy, make them a part of your routine. If you aren’t sure what you like yet, don’t hesitate to try new things. Or if you get bored easily, then mix up how you exercise.
However you do it, discovering your love for exercise will change everything. And trust me, when it comes to getting fitter—love for the process will do loads more for you than guilt.
Consistency is only possible when you allow your body to go through times of high intensity and lower intensity.
If you’re operating at high intensity all of the time, you won’t recover fully, you won’t get stronger, and you will burn out.
Your worth is not tied to how intensely you train every day of the week.
Should you be proud of yourself when you hit new PRs and when you master a new skill? Absolutely, positively, without a doubt!
But should you also go to the other extreme and fall into a pit of despair when you don’t live up to your expectations in one area of your life? Definitely not ever.
If you don’t hit that goal as soon as you wanted to or expected to, make an adjustment. Check-in with your body. Are you resting? Are you eating and hydrating enough?
And remember to be patient. You’re making progress, even when you can’t see it.
All fitness goals take time. And when reaching your goal takes weeks, months, or longer, pure grit isn’t enough to get you through for that length of time.
So instead we focus on the day-to-day efforts we make towards our goal. We enjoy them, and see every piece as a necessary, and fun, part of the whole.
Because it’s easier to make exercise a habit and reap the benefits when you enjoy it.
I’ve seen this mindset shift work for myself and the clients who’ve worked with me for years.
And it’s why I design all my programs around the goal of helping you feel fitter, healthier, and happier but without all that pressure to be perfect.
Whether you’re an in-person or online client, I stay in touch and keep you consistent in your training. But also remind you to have fun, celebrate wins, and see exercise as one piece of your overall health.
And it’s how I’ve been able to help tons of clients reach their goals.
Whether you’re brand new to training or an experienced gym-goer looking for accountability, I have programs to fit your individual goals. Find the right fit for you.