Human nature innately leads us to strive for perfection. Usually, this is a noble concept and it challenges us to improve. Problems can arise, though, when the fear of failure or imperfection becomes so consuming that we quit or give up on our goals, or worse yet, never begin at all. For example, many of us start a weight loss program every January with the best-laid plans, only to give up two or three months in because we don’t see any progress or we set unreachable goals. The setting of unreachable or unrealistic goals seems to be the biggest hurdle for people who come to see me. Out-of-reach goals keep people from even beginning to make changes. The excuses for them not starting are endless. “I want to lose weight and get in shape, but work is too busy, the kids have too many commitments, I can’t afford personal training, I’ll start next week, I want to wait until I find a partner or motivate my spouse to join me, my doctor hasn’t cleared me to exercise yet, I would rather wait until after the holidays, I’ll do it when I find a program that challenges me …” and so on and so forth until they exhaust themselves with their to-do lists and excuses.
We are always waiting for the perfect time. We often place these lists in front of our goals to protect us from the risk of failure. We somehow feel that we will lose prestige, love or respect if we openly fail at our goals, but this keeps us stuck with the status quo and prohibits us from advancing toward our ultimate goals. We inevitably put off the tasks that will lead to a better and more fulfilled life as we wait for the perfect time or opportunity to start.
To avoid living a life full of regrets and wasted “perfect” moments, start now. There is no time or place like the present time and place. If you are looking to lose weight, don’t wait to start until your fridge is fully stocked with healthy meals, or until you have a full hour to dedicate to the gym, or until your family is fully supportive of your choices. Start right now, start in this moment, in this situation. There is no perfect time, and there never will be.
One of my favorite fitness quotes concerning this topic is from Krista Scott Dixon: “Oh sure, there might be some magic moment in your fitness journey where the universe comes together, and you’re wearing your favorite t-shirt, plus your extra-comfy sneakers, and that song you love comes on your iPod, and your body is full of exuberant, bubbling energy, and your favorite piece of gym equipment is free (in fact the gym is empty today, hooray!) and you bang out a set of 10 reps like the angels are hoisting the barbell for you.” Realistically, none of those moments will ever just happen.
You must fight to create your own moments, to steal them out of the endless list of tasks in your day. You may never find a perfect moment or time to work out, but maybe you have 20 minutes. Use those 20 minutes to do something proactive and to take action toward your goal. This could be a step toward your career goals, family goals, financial goals or anything you would like to accomplish. Create a moment and take action. Make that phone call you’ve been avoiding, have that tough conversation, write someone a thank-you note, go run a mile, or see how many push-ups you can do in five minutes. The list is endless for things you could do; just do something!
The longest journey starts with a single step. Make a commitment to take the first step and then simply build upon that action. Constantly putting your goals off until tomorrow will prevent you from ever arriving at your destination. If you are looking for motivation to get started, contact Wilmington Performance Lab to help you create a plan and follow it. Whatever goal you decide to pursue, pursue it today!
Chris McAbee is the founder and co-owner of Wilmington Performance Lab, a state-of-the-art personal training facility that offers a full range of services including nutritional counseling and corporate wellness. Wilmington Performance Lab was founded on the belief that personal training is not only about making physical improvements, but also building long lasting, quality relationships with partners you can trust. For more information, visithttp://wilmingtonperformancelab.com or call 910-399-5441.
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