Getting fit and healthy doesn't always come easy and can at times be a struggle. If it did come easy everyone would be walking around in perfect shape.
I've worked in fitness for a long time and I get that there are many times you don't feel like exercising and eating perfectly. I get the same way, too. I'm sure even LeBron James isn't always dying to get out on the court. The main thing is just showing up and you're 90 per cent of the way there.
The key to getting on the right path with your health and wellness goals is to focus on progress and NOT perfection.
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The danger of focusing on perfection
When it comes to health and fitness, perfection is simply unattainable. Trying so will only leave you feeling frustrated, unmotivated and mad at yourself. When you focus on progress you allow yourself to acknowledge that your diet, your fitness and your overall health pursuits might not always go perfectly. You now give yourself some breathing room and can allow real wellness to take hold.
If your day is spent overly stressed that you didn't drink enough water, that you only got three servings of greens and you only did 20 minutes of cardio, I'm afraid that's not true wellness. You've now added more stress into your life, into something that's supposed to make you feel good, and that's the wrong direction to head in.
The important thing is that you focus on the fact that you did get to the gym, that you drank water and not a soft drink and you consumed vegetables. All these things are what add up over the course of months and years. Progress isn't perfect, but it makes sure you're heading in the right direction.
The main thing is you were still active.
What's the best way to make some progress each and every day? Here are three ways:
1. Have a plan each day
You don't need to count every calorie but having a plan for what you're going to eat each day will help keep you on track and make you less likely to go for junk. That tends to be the issue when you're scrambling for meals. Taking a day to do a big meal prep for the week can make it really easy to stay focused and disciplined.
When you workout or are in the gym you don't need to have every move you make pre-determined, but you shouldn't walk around aimlessly, either. You should have a general idea of what you're going to do when you exercise or hit the gym and follow through on that as best you can. You may have to cut a workout short, go for a shorter run or join a class late but the main thing is you were still active.
If you don't have a plan you're not going to know how to reach the end goal you've set for yourself. And speaking of which...
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2. Write down your goals where you constantly see them
When you see your goals written down in black and white it does something that makes them appear more achievable. You want to set realistic expectations, and each day when you see your desires written down, it's that great reminder to keep you on track to get you where you want to be.
Those who write down their goals accomplish significantly more than those who don't.
3. Find an accountability partner
This might be the most critical and easiest way to stay on the right course for your health. Nothing keeps you as focused and accountable as having to check in with someone with how you're progressing.
This doesn't have to be some intense Lieutenant Dan/Forrest Gump-type relationship, but just knowing that you have to report back how you've been doing to someone makes you much more likely to make great health progress. When you're left to your own devices without any accountability, you become less responsible for your own actions. The best thing is to find a close friend or colleague who is on the same journey as you so you can be accountable to each other.
Don't forget to give yourself some breathing room. You deserve it.
In this day and age, it doesn't even necessarily have to be someone you know. There are so many great online health and fitness communities where you can check in with each other and provide support. Emails, texts and even Facebook groups can all help you create that great community, keep you motivated and have that accountability.
Staying focused on progress and not perfection
Don't forget to give yourself some breathing room. You deserve it. Don't allow yourself to become frustrated because you were hesitant to go workout or that your dinner wasn't perfect nutritionally. Focus on the fact you still had been active and overall you made healthy nutrition choices. This is what keeps you moving forward.
Stop thinking every move and decision you make has to be perfect. Instead, focus on progressing slowly but surely. Health doesn't happen overnight -- it's is a long-term pursuit. Think of your health journey like a staircase, taking one step at a time. It might not feel like you're moving along very fast, but after awhile you'll notice that you've been progressing upwards the whole time.
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“You don't have to convert your festive dishes to bland ‘diet versions’ to make your meal significantly healthier,” Fear said. “If you want real butter and whole milk in your mashed potatoes, use them! Just taste them as you go, adding a little at a time, and stop once it tastes good. You might add a lot more calories and fat if you just drop a whole stick of butter in at the start.” Photo Credit: Shutterstock
“Enter a turkey trot in your town to see if you can beat your old PR in the 5K or 10K,” Fear said. “If you're not a runner but your spouse is, consider walking or volunteering. After a race, I always make a point to help out by picking up some of the ubiquitous paper cups that are often littering the ground. Besides lightening the cleanup task for the volunteers, it reminds me to stretch out my hamstrings and walk around a bit, before plopping into my car seat.” Photo Credit: Shutterstock Click Here to See Healthy Hacks to Help Keep Your Fitness Goals on Track this Thanksgiving
“Challenge yourself to try for an increase in your weights lifted at the gym, or see if you can increase the volume of your strength training routine by adding additional sets or reps with the weight you normally use,” Fear suggested. “Thanksgiving break can be a perfect time to challenge yourself athletically, when you have more time than usual to sleep and stretch, and you know you'll have abundant lean protein and carbohydrates around for recovery. Remember that even if you're in a calorie excess, you can be building muscle if you're lifting heavy.” Photo Credit: Shutterstock
“Slow down while you're eating,” Fear explained. “You'll enjoy your food more, take in more of the experience and be able to practice more gratitude if you aren't racing to get seconds before everyone else. You'll also end up being more mindful, and stop eating when you want to, as opposed to five minutes after you wanted to and having a bellyache.” Click Here to See Healthy Hacks to Help Keep Your Fitness Goals on Track this Thanksgiving Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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