Stop trying to be perfect. Be great.

I attended a business mastermind last weekend in LA held by my business coach Jill Coleman and Lewis Howes was there as one of the guest speakers. Among the powerful knowledge bombs he shared, this one hit home for me the most: “Now that you don’t have to be perfect you can actually be great.”

You might recognize this as a twist on the quote from the author John Steinbeck who said: “Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” But I love Lewis’ spin on it because who doesn’t want to be great?? In life, our work, relationships, and even in our health and fitness. I think that at the core, all of us are striving for greatness but we get tripped up along the way.

There have been countless times over the last 15 years that I’ve heard clients or patients (when I worked in clinical nutrition for years) tell me that they felt overwhelmed because they just weren’t good enough. They couldn’t stick to their diet or workout plan so they just gave up.

I don’t know about you but there are lots of imperfections in my life right now: my body, work, home, relationships, fitness, nutrition. My life is far from perfect right now, but when will it ever be for any of us?

Isn’t it crazy how many times we hold ourselves back from taking action simply because we are waiting to be perfect first?

I can say for myself that despite years of working hard to peel away layers of perfectionism I STILL get frozen in my tracks sometimes my the elusive quest to have everything perfect.

Perfection is just an illusion though and pulls away from the real beauty of being fully present in those perfectly imperfect moments.

The quest for perfection specifically in the areas of our nutrition and fitness can ultimately undermine us because:

  • we are more likely to be a victim of the all-or-nothing approach, never getting the results or peace that we crave
  • we’ll probably get burned out and quit due to feeling overwhelmed
  • or we might be left with overuse injuries and issues around food

I’d argue that in the end perfectionism just moves us further away from reaching our goals because we set the stakes too high. Impossible really, and in the end it we end up being inconsistent.

To quote my coach Jill Coleman:

“Being a little less perfect can help us be a little more consistent.”

And consistency is where the magic happens my friends.

Consistency with exercise and nutrition is what keeps us healthy and gives us lasting results. If we can keep showing up, even when the workout or meal isn’t exactly what we think should be perfect (what is perfect exactly anyway??) we learn super important tools that keep us in it for the long haul:

  • We learn to trust ourselves and the process.
  • We learn to do what we can with the time and resources we have available to us. #ELBC
  • We learn to keep coming back rather than letting a minor setback derail us.
  • We learn to be present and grateful for each moment, as perfectly imperfect as it can be.

With hard work and moving through more uncomfortable situations than we’d probably care for, we start to see possibilities and gratitude where there were just frustrations and feelings of overwhelm before.

I know that on my end there have been plenty of imperfect workouts and meals lately. I am choosing (because we always have a choice) to be grateful for what I have been able to squeeze in rather than overwhelmed but what is lacking.

The other day I got to the gym with literally 18 minutes left before the gym childcare center closed but I still hustled and squeezed out a quick and intense 16 minute weight circuit. Here’s what I did:

And today, a super busy day for me, I made a point to walk to/from my son’s school drop off and pick up (60 minutes total of walking) and squeezed in some strength work at the park while he played after school. I did as many reps as I could of assisted pull ups, decline push ups and Bulgarian split squats in between chasing my son. Check out my Instagram feed for a quick video demo of what I did.

The result of both: I felt SO much better afterwards for choosing the imperfect instead of holding off until the moment where I could have done a “perfect” workout. I might still be waiting to do a perfect workout! If I only worked out when the conditions were “perfect” then I would hardly ever work out and without the consistency of my imperfect workouts I would fall off track. Then I would have to work even harder to get results. #nothanks

Starting May 8th I will be leading a 21-day free exercise consistency challenge that is all about perfectly imperfect workouts. I would LOVE to have you join us for the Commit To Fit challenge! The goal is to do at least 5 minutes of exercise every single day for 21 days straight to establish rock solid healthy habits around exercise with the support of women (and some men!) from all other world, plus I will be coaching you every step of the way.

Sign up for the free challenge HERE

I can’t wait!

Your imperfect friend, Carolyn xo

Comments 1

  1. Carolyn,
    So wonderful to spend time with you today at your mom and dad’s. Mom and I have been enjoying your website on the way home. It is very articulate and informative. Your words really hit home to all of us. Hope to see you July 16th! Lots of Love,
    Sherie,Uncle Bill and Aunt Kay…xo

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