Progress Over Perfection
Now that I’m into a few weeks of following my early running schedule I wanted to share a little somethin’ somethin’ that has kept me on track. By no means has it been a smooth process. There are times I have overslept and times I’ve gone to bed way too late. There have been times when I didn’t have enough time to run in the morning before catching the train. There have been ups and downs and that’s all ok.
When you’re teaching yourself something new or when you’re getting into a new habit there’s usually a feeling that you need to be perfect. I used to feel the same way all the time and it’s very counterproductive to think like that. This need to be perfect is natural and comes from the observations of those around you who seem to be so much farther along. You see where people are at and how far of a gap there seems to be between where they are and where you want to be and it seems nearly impossible to get there.
Even though this is a very natural feeling to have you need to get it out of your head and don’t ever let it creep back in. It’s only going to cause a sense of frustration and envy and will kill your motivation. Once you set the expectation that you’re not going to get to where you need to be overnight you can then start focusing on what will actually help you get there.
Instead of focusing on perfection what you need to focus on is progression. This means you’re not going to spend your time and energy wondering why you’re not as far along as this guy or that girl. You’re going to shift your thinking into focusing on how you (not anyone else) are doing and how you (yes, only you) are progressing toward your goal. This way you don’t beat yourself up when you don’t follow your plans exactly how you’re supposed to and you focus on the fact that you’re consistently moving in the right direction.
When I got back from my trip to Indiana over the holidays I was way off my game. I skipped runs, I slept in and I was in a major funk. I felt terrible and hopeless but I kept getting better little by little every week and about a month later I’m now back in the habit of the running schedule I want to be on. After the first couple weeks I felt frustrated that I wasn’t following what I had planned. But instead of focusing on my unrealistic expectation of perfection I shifted my thoughts to how I had ran more the second week than the first and that it was only getting easier to wake up earlier.
By only allowing myself to think in terms of progression I now find myself at the end of a week where I’m not only back on my running schedule but I’ve also been able to throw a little Muay Thai in there for good measure. I know I talk a lot about things in terms of working out but these ways of thinking also translate well into other parts of my life. Work, relationships and other things will also benefit from this progression mindset. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.
image credit: KK.org