Leave your thoughts
You know, being perfect sucks.
If I had to pick one thing that gets in the way of almost all clients I’ve worked with, it’s being “perfect.”
And it’s probably keeping you from losing weight too.
When you try to be perfect, you set your sights on a goal and measure your self-worth by that goal 24/7. You beat yourself up when you screw up and you end up burnt out, never reaching your goals.
In fact, I want you to completely forget about your goals for now.
Sounds crazy, right?
Don’t worry, I’ll explain in point number two. For now, just understand that…
1. It doesn’t happen all at once
You wanna know the secret to losing weight? It’s not about eating “paleo” or “high carb” or “low fat” or not eating fruit or anything else like that. It’s actually this funny thing that most people don’t have a lot of.
It’s having patience.
You see, losing weight and keeping it off for life means changing your behaviour. If you’ve ever tried to quit smoking, or start running, or start making more time for your loved ones, you know how hard it can be to change your behaviour. It takes time and it never happens all at once.
In 99% of behaviour change situations, things go something like this: You’re slowly fighting an uphill battle, you have some victories, some setbacks, you notice little changes one-by-one here and there and, eventually, if you stick to your guns, you get there.
If you’re focused on being perfect, you’ll beat yourself up at every setback and sabotage your efforts. It’s a bit of a paradox that trying to be perfect will literally keep you from getting as close as you actually can to being perfect.
That’s why you gotta change your mindset…
2. What you do today matters more than your end goal
Remember when I told you to forget about your goals? Hopefully you don’t think I’m completely crazy and kept reading till now. 🙂
Setting clear goals is a great way to start changing your behaviour. But when you’re in the thick of it, they can cloud your judgement.
You see, if all you think about is the end goal, it’s easy to get stuck thinking “It’s so far away. I’ll never get there. It’s impossible. I might as well give up.”
And I don’t blame you! I catch myself thinking that all the time. But with a subtle change in the way you think, you can conquer that negative mindset.
Stop thinking about outcomes, think about behaviours instead.
Our good friends over at Precision Nutrition do an awesome job of helping people distinguish between outcome goals and behaviour goals.
An outcome goal is your end product. For example: “I want to lose 30lbs by the end of the year.”
The only problem with an outcome goal is we can’t always control them the way we’d like. Let me explain…
I want to plan a picnic on the beach for next week. I think Sunday’s a good day for it. I’ll invite all my friends (hey, you can come too!) pick up all the food and rent a barbecue. I can do everything right.
But come Sunday, it might be raining cats and dogs.
Plan ruined. Because of something beyond my control.
That’s why I prefer “behaviour goals.”
With behaviour goals, we take a look at that outcome goal and break it down a bit. We think “What does a person who reaches that goal do every day?”
For weight loss, it might look something like this:
– Eating slowly and mindfully, stopping when you’re 80% full
– Eating lean proteins, smart carbohydrates, and healthy fats at every meal
– Getting daily activity
These are things you can control and you can do today! This way, you can have a measurable behaviour and an actionable plan that you can control and win with. (And hey, the fact that you can act on this stuff today might satisfy that impatience we talked about in point one)
Finally, there’s one more thing that sucks about being “perfect…”
3. You don’t care about what you’re doing well?
A perfectionist usually sucks at seeing the things they do well.
When everything is measured in terms of your ideal, then nothing is good enough.
“Sure, I lost 2lbs this month but my best friend lost 7 and my goal is still 50lbs away! I’ll never get there!”
Perfectionism stops us from acknowledging the things we’re doing right (like those daily behaviour goals) and keeps us from celebrating the small daily wins that can actually keep us motivated when times get tough.
The next time you get down about how far you are away from your goal, start counting up the things you’re doing well. You might surprise yourself!
Losing weight isn’t easy and we’re all impatient but trying to be “perfect” is a surefire way to make sure you’re never satisfied and never reach your goals. If you can develop some patience, focus on behaviour goals instead of outcome goals, and track the things you’re doing well instead of your shortcomings, you might be amazed at how quickly progress comes.