Voltaire is said to have told us: “The best is the enemy of the good.” while Confucius was credited with: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” Not one to be overshadowed, Shakespeare gave us: “Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.”
Different takes on the same concept: perfect is the enemy of good. Whether it’s a quest to have a month of perfect workouts or to follow our new-fangled diet to the letter, many of us give up before the finish line because we’ve failed to be “perfect” in our pursuit.
“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success, they give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown,” said H. Ross Perot, a concept that’s frequently echoed by personal trainers lamenting that their clients were on the verge of seeing great results, but gave up just before they’d have begun reaping the benefits of their new workout program or diet.
For many people who achieve success when it comes to fitness or nutrition, success comes from persevering, not from perfection. Five good workouts are FAR more effective when it comes to making changes to your body than one perfect workout would be. And there’s an unspoken problem with perfect: nobody is, and nobody can sustain perfection for the length of time that it takes to see results.
Elevate Fitness Certified Spinning Instructor and Marketing Director, Jason, tells us that he recently lost 22.5 pounds over a 52-day period by being consistent and accepting the fact that not every day would be perfect,
There were days when my workouts were amazing and I’d cheat and have some gluten in my dinner. Or days where I ate following my program so strictly only to have lackluster workouts where I failed to meet my burn goal or to run the miles I was aiming for. But by accepting the fact that perfection is an impossible goal, I wasn’t discouraged by a bad workout or a cheat meal, and it allowed me to keep going – and in the end, it was the consistency over 52 days that created the result on the scale. Not the perfect or the imperfect workouts or the good foods or the bad foods – it was the consistency.
And fitness professionals agree. Certified Personal Trainer Michael Meola adds, “I’d rather a client had good days and bad days but stuck with a program than tried too hard to be perfect all the time, finally quitting because their goal was an impossible one.”
So what’s the take-away?
“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength but by perseverance.” – H. Jackson Brown
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