Choose Progress Over Perfection in Fitness

When it comes to fitness you don’t have to be perfect to make progress toward your goals. I have clients who tell me often that when they mess up a little they get frustrated and just decide to blow it completely. Why not, right? If you mess up a little you might as well make it worth it, right? Wrong! Common sense tells us this is wrong, but we use this tempting compromise as an excuse and tell ourselves we will start tomorrow.

Think about it…it you mess up and eat 1 cookie, which is worse, 1 cookie or 6? Common sense tells us 6 is much worse, but this little voice inside convinces us that since we have messed up already, we might as well enjoy more cookies and plan to get back on track tomorrow. Mathematically this doesn’t add up. If the 1 extra cookie has 100 calories, then that 1 cookie is a whole lot better than 600 extra calories. Look at your fitbit and tell me that isn’t true. You can burn off 100 calories a whole lot easier than 600. Why do we believe the lie in our head that we might as well blow it big time if we mess up a little bit?

When our clients at TwinFtiness follow the plans we give them even 85% they see results (yes even just at 85%)! I think so many times we, as humans, tend to think 100% or nothing. We tend to believe that everything has to be perfect. This is a lie as big as the one telling you that you might as well eat the 6 cookies. Kristie Trasey-Winter, co-owner of TwinFitness and IFBB Pro, often says that the idea of perfection in fitness is a lie itself. What is perfection anyway she often asks? There is always going to be something you could have done to make something better. There is always going to be someone who can do it better. Striving for perfection will disappoint every time. Instead, strive for progress.

The goal of progress will get you to your fitness goals quicker than the goal of perfection. How do you make progress a goal? You set goals to beat yourself everyday. If you ate on plan until dinner time yesterday, make a goal to do better tomorrow by not snacking after dinner that next day. When you reach that goal, make a new goal to keep the portions you eat at dinner correct the next day and continue not to snack after dinner. You can always improve; work on improving 1 thing about your fitness regimen daily and progress will come!

Of course, we all have setbacks; we all make mistakes. When this happens, forgive yourself and go on. Make a new goal and beat yourself tomorrow. If you slept in and missed your workout today, forgive yourself, go on, and make the goal to get up on time tomorrow.

Some people get stuck on the forgive yourself part. They beat themselves up for the next week, sometimes go into a slump, and then push starting over back from the next day to the next week, or the next month. You have to forgive yourself right away and start over. It is NOT the end of the world if you are not perfect. Every time you make a good decision you move forward. A bad decision moves you backward. Forgiving yourself is a step forward and a lot better than getting stuck. When you are stuck it actually means you move backward more – because you either get better or worse – you never stay the same.  

It’s a whole lot easier to get ahead moving forward from 1 step back then from 5 or 6 steps back. Try to envision this the next time you want to blow it big time after 1 mistake.  Even if you make several mistakes – envision yourself moving forward, or backward, from your fitness goal. When you stop in the middle of making a series of wrong mistakes you keep yourself from moving back, further and further away from your goal.

Start thinking, and believing this: “I’m going to do a little better each day”. This needs to be your goal over having a goal to stay on plan 100%  Remember, being perfect is impossible, so give it up today and learn to go forward, instead of back, each new day. When you do slip up and go back, forgive yourself, and envision how hard each step in the wrong direction is going to make it for you to get closer and closer to your goal. You can do it! We are here to encourage you and help you stay on track. Email us at to find out more about our individually made fitness plans, and how we can help you live more successfully!

By: Tanya Burk

Krista Abraham