My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

“Strive for progress, not perfection”

on August 18, 2012

It’s something I’ve read over and over again. It seems simple enough, but is it? What is progress? And how is it measured? Is progress the same for everyone? Or do we each need to have our own definition of it?

Part of me thinks that I’m not making progress if I’m not getting better at something. If I do something on a regular basis, I should get better at it over time. That’s progress. But what if I don’t? I feel like I’m at a stand-still, or worse, going backward. If I’ve done something before, and did it fairly well, but then suddenly I’m struggling with it, I don’t think I’m making progress. And then the negative voices flare up in my head and I struggle more. It’s a vicious cycle.

So how do I break out of it?
How do I keep myself from struggling when that happens?
How do I convince myself that I am making progress, even if it doesn’t feel like it?

Good questions.

And I think the answers might be:

1) I need to remind myself that this is not an easy journey that I’m on. There will be ups and downs. Everyone struggles, it’s not just me.
2) I shouldn’t expect to be perfect. No one is.
3) don’t be so hard on myself.
4) talk about it. If I’m struggling, let someone know, let them try to help. There is nothing wrong with asking for or accepting help.
5) and probably most important, I need to rethink how I define progress.

Seems simple enough. But not necessarily that easy.

The first is probably the easiest. I know what I’m doing isn’t easy. I know it will take time. And if I have a bad day, it’s not the end of the world, I just need to remember that tomorrow is a new day.

The second and third go hand-in-hand. I always want to do my best. What’s the point of doing something if I’m not going to give it all I have? But that doesn’t mean I have to be perfect. I’m my own worst critic. I’m harder on myself than anyone else could be. So I have to learn to lighten up, give myself a break. I’m not perfect and that’s perfectly okay.

The next one is hard. The problem with talking about it is there aren’t many people who can understand where I’m coming from or that can understand my struggles. Unless they are or have been on a similar journey, can they really help? I’ve tried to talk to friends and loved ones before, but they just don’t seem to get it. And sometimes I think they are just tired to hearing me talk about it. There are a couple people, though, that I can talk to, that do know what I’m going through or that can help, but why should I continually burden them with my troubles? I’m afraid that at some point they will just get tired of me. And sometimes when I’m struggling, I don’t really know why. It’s hard to talk about what’s bothering me if I don’t really know myself.

The last is the hardest. Redefining progress. If you’ve always thought of progress in a certain way, how do you make yourself think of it differently? And how should it be thought of? I’m not sure I have an answer for that one yet.

Maybe I need to set more goals. As long as I’m working towards those goals, I’m making progress … right?

I made a commitment to go to the gym 5 days a week, and I get up each day and go, is that considered progress?

As I continue with my training sessions with Tyler, is that considered progress?

As I continue to eat healthy and stay away from junk food, is that considered progress?

The answer to these questions is I don’t know. I don’t know how to redefine progress. It’s something I need to seriously work on. And maybe that’s progress in itself. Maybe changing how I look at things and questioning the way I think is a form of progress.

As I continue on my journey to a healthier me, I will continue to strive for progress, even as I’m learning to redefine it. Progress doesn’t have to mean great strides; it can mean baby steps too. I will do the best job I can each day. And if I have a bad day, that’s okay. It happens. I just have to remember that tomorrow is a new day. I won’t give up.

So tell me, how do you define progress?

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