Are you hard on yourself when something you do—or something about your body—isn’t 100-percent flawless? As a recovering perfectionist, I can relate. But here’s the thing: When I think about the people I love the most, is it because they’re perfect? Absolutely not. It’s because they’re unique and joyful and living full, healthy lives. Perfection is boring, a dead end. Progress is alive and full of potential. It means we’re always learning, and that’s more rewarding than picture-perfect abs will ever be.
This simple shift in thinking from perfection to progress was ground-breaking for me, and I think it could be ground-breaking for you too. Read on for five of my favorite tips to switch your focus for a happier, healthier body and mind:
Take it one week at a time.
Instead of setting lofty long-term goals (which, let’s face it, are practically impossible to achieve), think no further than the next seven days. This brings us out of the abstract and into the moment, which helps us set attainable goals and stick to them. I’m so attached to the power of one week that it inspired me to launch our new barre3 Online, which gives clients a new streamable workout and simple meal plan at the beginning of each week.
Expand your definition of healthy.
When it comes to whole-body health, exercise is only part of the equation. Along with planning your workouts, also think about how you’ll fuel your body with healthy foods and how you’ll nourish your mind by connecting with loved ones.
Keep a journal.
Each night of the week, jot down some quick notes on what you did that day and how you’re feeling. How did today’s exercise and eating plan work for you? Were you able to connect with people? How might you adjust your plan for next week? Journaling helps us live in the present and gain perspective on our priorities.
Shift your focus inward.
Instead of obsessing over how you want to look in your swimsuit this year, think of how you want your body to feel. Strong? Confident? Energized? These intangibles, not a magazine-cover body, are the things that give us true joy.
Find the joy.
There’s nothing like a rigid goal to take the fun out of exercise. When I told myself I had to work out a certain amount of time every day, it felt like a chore. But when I realized that for me, the joy in exercise comes from connecting with myself and the people around me, suddenly I began to crave it. Try letting go of the numbers and focusing on moving in a way that brings you joy instead.
Do I ever find myself being pulled back to my former perfectionist ways? Sure. But when I do, I take a deep breath and remember to be kind to myself. That’s what real progress is: Cutting yourself a break and having the perspective to know that we’re all flawed in a wonderful way.