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How to Get Results Without Being Perfect

By Dr. Molly Casey

Consistency Counts

Health is a journey, not a destination. It doesn’t matter what area you are talking about: nervous system health, weight reduction or maintenance, cardiovascular health, mental health, exercise, food plans, or dental health. There is no one place to get to, and even if you did get there, what happens then? There will always be somewhere else to go or another goal to achieve. It never ends, or rather, it ends only when the body ends. So, in regard to health and wellness, we need to stop looking at “it” as something to get or have; rather, think of it as a process or journey to walk and embrace.

Consistency in this approach is far more important than perfection. This idea is at the foundation of successfully making it through the holiday season without totally jumping off your health train ride. Consistency, not perfection, is the key thing here. Use these tips below to help you help yourself on your journey.

What Matters to You

Consistency over perfection. Think of one thing you will be applying this to in the next few months. Is it your exercise routine during the winter months? Your food plan during holiday parties? Is it your meditation practice as time for yourself seems to be non-existent? What is the one area right now you could greatly benefit from by providing consistency over the pursuit of perfection?

Clarity and Commitment

Get clear on what the ideal version of this practice or routine is. Is it one hour at the gym six days a week with three days apiece for weights and cardio? Is it that you do intermittent fasting for 20 hours a day and eat paleo during the four hours a day that you do eat? Get clear on what the best version of your plan is.

Then get very clear on what a middle road version of that plan is. Maybe it is 16 hours of fasting and eight hours of eating, or workout out at the gym five days instead of six. Outline what a clear “not great but not basic plan” looks like. You’ll still have gains here but they may just take longer.

Lastly, define what constitutes the minimal road or plan. This is the plan in which you’re simply maintaining. You’re not going backward but you aren’t going forward. You’re still engaging.

Why would I tell you to define minimal, better and best plans? Doesn’t that sound like a plan for failure? No. This is based on truth. The truth is that life is rarely ever ideal; you don’t live in a best-case scenario vacuum. This idea of “ideal” being applied all throughout your life, no matter what is occurring, isn’t realistic for most. This feeds that idea of perfection. But we’re looking to create consistency, so call it like it is. Sometimes things get nuts and the middle road (or plan) is the best option. Other times, the minimal plan is all that can be squeezed out, but that’s OK because it’s all you reasonably do at the time. Too often, if the best can’t be done, people toss in the towel and no progress is maintained or gained because their idea of perfection couldn’t be fulfilled.

Commit to get clear on the plans and commit. Where is your intention? Don’t go for the middle or minimal when you know best is available. What you choose is based on your own level of commitment. Only you can drive that for yourself.

Accountability and Follow-Through

Know how you best hold yourself accountable and follow through. Some function best in the morning and with a buddy. Others need to ride solo, or occasionally check in with a group or personal trainer or professional coach or buddy. Still others find tracking stats and progression is the most effective. Know what holds and keeps you accountable, then engage with those practices and people. The more clarity you have In your roads, your goals, and your accountability process, the easier it will be to follow through because you’ll be able to easily assess whether you’ve done so or not. There is no wishy-washy maybe yes, maybe no.

As you head into this winter holiday season -- and even into the new year -- with whatever goals or practices you may have, know that perfection is the enemy of progress. Remember, some is always better than none. With consistency comes results.

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