Are you heading towards Progress or Perfection?

strive-for-progress-not-perfection-300x300Do you seek progress or perfection in your personal wellness journey and daily life? To most people this is a no brainer. We seek progress. Is this really true? Are we content with making progress or is progress never quite good enough, due to some self or society based measuring stick?

If you had asked me several weeks ago which one I focused on I would have told you progress. Well on a few things maybe I was a perfectionist (such as my search for a healthy cream sauce. ) For the most part though as long as I was making progress I was happy.

A little over a month ago what started as an occasional recipe column for the Rolling Strong newsletter, turned into a project to develop a cookbook geared to cooking in small spaces as well as a blog focused on lessons learned from the road to live a better life.

During the process of figuring out what this meant to me and how it would be done I stumbled on Jillian Michael’s podcast. She is the one who introduced me to the concept of progress versus perfection. Jillian’s theory is that we focus more on perfection rather than on celebrating and focusing on our progress. Using myself as an example, during the past year I have lost over 50 pounds and dropped 3 pants sizes. Overall I am feeling better and have fewer aches and pains. Yet I find myself looking in the mirror from time to time criticizing various parts of my body such as my belly. It seems as if the more weight I loose the more I find wrong with my body. A few years ago I did not care that I looked like a pregnant elephant. Now I find the fact I have a belly and other flaws do in fact bother me on some level. Despite my progress I have days when I feel discouraged as I am not getting the results I want as rapidly as I think I should be. Oh wait there is that word again progress…

After hearing this episode I filed it away mentally thinking it could make for a nice blog post. I have heard it said that life will keep repeating lessons for you until you have learned them. While that may not always be true, in this case it is. Each time I went to I Heart Radio to listen to her podcast this one was repeated for me for close to a month. Whether it was technical difficulties or other reasons I don’t know. Each week I would hear this episode or lesson if you prefer.

Finally in the last week or so it started sinking in. I realized I was doing just the opposite I was seeking perfection, not just in my weight loss, and health journey, but in other areas of my life. An excellent example is my exercise. I know I need to start walking and doing other exercises on a regular basis. I have been making that a goal since January. I seem to achieve 1-2 weeks of consistency then either the weather, work schedule, or some other monkey wrench in life throws my plans off. I get out of the habit and begin to beat myself up over not exercising as I should. I get discouraged and give up for a period of time. Several friends as well as some of my weight loss coaches keep encouraging me to pick up and to start over again. This is sometimes easier than others. This last time I made a commitment to focus on improving both my consistency and intensity of exercise. The difference is I am not worrying about getting a streak or hitting a specific goal. My goal has become to constantly improve on what I am doing. My ultimate goal is 4-5 times a week for exercise using a variety of programs. However I am not stressing about doing it perfectly I am instead focused on making each day or week better than the previous. Whether it be in the number of times, intensity, or challenging myself to a more difficult routine.

slow-progress_thumbSome of you may be wondering why I am blogging about this topic. Especially when I have so many things I can and should be blogging about. Such as how to set up a kitchen on your truck, what tools and appliances are needed, recipes etc.? (Yes those will be starting this week.) The answer is simple, one of the biggest issues I have been dealing with the last month is this project. What started off as a simple recipe column, has morphed into trying to write my own cookbook from scratch, as well as blogging about life on the truck, and advocating for improved health for drivers. I started this blog and set up a goal to have to have it “perfect” by May 1st so I could go back to focusing on recipes and other important issues. Having a full time job as a driver, and adding the all the aspects of this project is like having 2 full time jobs at the least. A few friends are encouraging me to pace myself. I began realize it is not just about pacing oneself, pacing IS important, however what is just as important if not more so is the journey, the progress. After all with out taking the journey, making progress, and yes even having setbacks, Life would be boring and would have little to teach us. For me this has been a tough but important lesson to learn. One I have a feeling I am going to have to revisit frequently. Many feel that perfection is what you should strive for. In reality perfection is unrealistic and more likely to cause you setbacks. The true goal I am learning is progress.  

I can not promise you this blog will always be pretty, or the content updated as often as I would like. I am a full time over the road truck driver and I do this as a labor of love as time allows. It is my promise to you that I will do my best to have at least 1 blog article a week. As well as 1-2 recipes a month. As I learn more about how to blog, operate my Twitter and Facebook accounts, and develop more recipes I hope to see that schedule increase.

I invite you to join me on this journey, and life lessons from the road, cooking in small spaces and most importantly savoring and celebrating YOUR progress towards your goals.

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