I’m quite nerdy deep down. I’ve always had the mindset of wanting to be ‘perfect’ at everything. As a result, I end up procrastinating and not doing shit! I’ve definitely changed my mindset in this regard, and it’s a much better way to live. Perfectionism is almost always a ‘cop-out’ of doing something difficult. It leads to paralysis by analysis.
This applies for everything, all the way from personal development to fitness.
Let’s take a classic example people battle with all the time.
Let’s say you work 9-6pm. You have family stuff to do after work and you know that getting to the gym will be difficult today. The easy option is to write off training altogether. What’s the point? If you don’t have one whole hour for the gym, you might as well do nothing.. right? Well, no.
Here’s the deal – you don’t have to do 60 minute sessions to get results. Nor is there any rule stopping you from splitting your workout into smaller parts throughout the day. The whole ‘I don’t have time’ excuse can no longer be a valid one.
This is a common way of thinking among perfectionists. By choosing this ‘all or nothing’ approach, you end up doing nothing if the conditions aren’t ‘exactly right’.
Instead of not training altogether, do what you can, when you can. Progress, not perfection.
For the above example, you could bang out a 10 minute circuit of kettlebell swings, press-ups, planks, and squats before leaving for work. 10 minutes!
Most people spend at least 10 minutes watching Snapchat videos while taking a dump in the morning 😳 – why not use the time more productively? (Not to mention, exercise is one of those keystone habits that has been proven to spill over into other areas of life in a positive way – and in my opinion, doing it in the morning is a great way to start your day. Read the books Switch and The Power Of Habit if you want to know more).
Once you get home from work, you can bang out another 10 or 15 minutes. Over the course of the day, that’s 20-25 minutes. Believe it or not, that can be very effective for burning fat and maintaining muscle mass.
I’ve been doing the same for stretching. My flexibility has long been something I’ve avoided taking seriously because I never wanted to sit there for an hour stretching. Now I just break it up into small 10 minute chunks. Maybe an hour is better, but 10 minutes once or twice a day is better than nothing at all.
By breaking up your workout into small chunks, you not only make it more feasible to actually do, but you start to relish small victories and progress over ‘perfection’ (i.e. a 60 minute workout).
The same can be applied to any area of fitness. Most people’s idea of a perfect diet is eating 100% clean, every single day apart from one cheat meal per week. How about just eating healthily every day but allowing yourself a few chocolate bars over the course of the week? You will still make progress, without the inevitable rebellion that comes after a ‘perfect’ super-strict diet.
Small actions done consistently are the key to long term results.
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