Consistency Over Perfection

Consistency not perfection - photo by Maridav

We all know that “day one” feeling—the motivation and energy we have the day after swearing off the fast food and signing up for our new gym membership. We crush all of our goals and go to bed making projections about how we’re going to look and feel after 100 days like this and then 200 days like this. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve pulled up a calendar to see how much progress I was going to be making 6 months or a year into the future. But by the end of day 4 or 5, that initial surge inevitably wears off. I may skip a workout or swing by a drive-through for dinner. Doubt will start to creep in—that devious saboteur who lives deep in the scarred recesses of my mind. I’ll begin to question how long I’ll really be able to keep this up. Feeling scared and weak and guilty for the drive-through slip, I’ll decide that I’ve failed today. And when I wake up the next morning, I’ll decide I might as well eat that leftover birthday cake for breakfast because that’s what a failure does.

Even though I’ve lived this experience a million times, I’m wise enough now to know that demanding perfection from myself ends up killing me and my goals.

The path to healthy living is laid with the bricks of consistency

But it’s not about being perfect; it’s about making better choices when we can and being able to recover when we don’t meet our goals. If you go out and drink a little too much and order from that one weird pizza shop that’s open until 4am, it doesn’t make a you a failure incapable of living a healthy life. It makes you human. But the next day doesn’t have to be wasted. Get back on track and make sure that the aggregate of your choices is in line with your goals. Doing the right thing 80% of the time is consistent enough to make real, sustainable changes. And once you get enough positive momentum going in the direction of your goals, you’ll find that you don’t need day-one motivation to succeed, because you will have developed something even better: the discipline to pick yourself back up every time you fall down.

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10 thoughts on “Consistency Over Perfection

  1. Kelly P

    This is great advice! On Monday I had a really bad eating day. Like, lost my mind and literally ate everything I could get my hands on. It was the first time in a while I’d done that and it was emotional eating pure and simple. I was disappointed in myself, but Tuesday I got right back to my better eating habits and I let Monday go. It’s not easy to do, but time has shown me that every time I do that as long as I bounce back quickly I’ll be okay and it doesn’t undermine my goals too much. Next up: trying to preemptively work through my feelings before eating all the ice cream! Baby steps!!!

    Thanks for your blog and your thoughtful words :-)

    Reply
  2. Kate

    This post is so timely for me. Yesterday started out as one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. I felt emotional and my diet reflected those deeply ingrained habits of coping with food. But having grace with yourself is sometimes about letting yourself slip, forgiving, and moving on and back to “better” habits. I know not slipping at all would be the ideal, but as you said, everyone is human. The important thing is that even though they were poor choices yesterday, I still tracked them. And i’m tracking my healthier choices today too. Gotta shake it off.

    Reply
  3. Tracy

    This is right on target with something I was telling a friend the other day. We always say the first, second, third or 400 billionth time is the “the charm”. But in reality, we are “the” charm. We’re the ones that are showing up for each and every one of those times. We’re the ones being persistent, pulling ourselves up off the ground, dusting off the crumbs and chasing after that wagon…again. We don’t need to necessarily be back on the wagon, we just need to keep getting up and chasing it because eventually, that wagon is going to have to stop. When it does stop we’ll be ready after all that running to catch it.

    Reply
  4. Cristina Francisco

    May I voice the “timely post” and “right on target” sentiments from earlier comments. I’m also struggling with not turning to food as my comfort during difficult, stressful, exhausting days. And no matter how many times I think this time will be different, it’s still a struggle. That little voice in my head who tells me I’ve blown it and might as well eat everything in sight. My “go-to” is your inspirational book and blogs. You know what the struggle is like and sum it up for those of us who are still struggling. Thank you Andie – you are a special young woman who’s become an inspiration for me.

    Reply
  5. Morgan Cardamone

    I’m convinced these post are personally for me! Every time I get one in my email, it seems to be either exactly what I’m going through or the boost that I need to help me keep going. I LOVE how real Andie keeps it! Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Danielle Panettiere

    Great Post! I am new to your blog. Pretty sure I’ll be checking in now several times a week :) I have been on a weight-loss journey for 2 years. I’m still learning new things. Getting a handle on nutrition this year has been a big goal. I met with a nutrition coach and set up a 12 week plan. I have to admit I was feeling pretty down when I realized I was only down 12 pounds.n I really thought I would be closer to 20-30 loss. It’s hard to remember to celebrate the small wins because they matter too. The NSV’s are my favorite though. Fitting into a pair of smaller jeans makes it all worth it. I’m still trying to find Balance when I decide to have a “Treat Meal,” to not feel guilty the next day and also to make myself get right back on track.. I’m really excited to read more of your posts! I definitely think I have found a new spot for inspiration.

    Reply

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