Saturday, August 14, 2010

Realistic Goals

Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting on August 10, 2010.

So after this week's meeting you may be asking yourself the following question: What does progress not perfection mean? Here is an awesome quote from Keith Cunningham that helped me to understand the meaning:

“Ordinary things consistently done produce extraordinary results”

That's what "progress not perfection" means to me.

Ordinary little changes if done consistently will get extraordinary results that you are seeking.

Too many times we focus on the end result. Too many times we think we are a failure because we’re not reaching milestones as fast as somebody else. Too many times we stop because we have not achieved our goal in the time we expected we would. Instead, if we focus on progress and perseverance, I think we’d move ahead further.

Am I making progress? Ask yourself this- Am I doing better today than I was a month ago, 3 months ago, 6 months ago? If yes, then you are on a right track! Keep going! If no, is it safe to say you've been missing your meetings? I have 72 miss you cards going out this weekend, vacation may be the reason for a few but could the reason for many be because members sat their exceptions too high and lost focus of the reason they started this journey?

Webster’s notes that perfectionism is “a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable.” Perfect means “being entirely without fault or defect, or flawless like a perfect diamond."

We are all human so enough of this perfection thing. Reject perfection as a way of ever referring to your life journey. Here is something said by Wellness expert Pamela Peeke, MD 'When you look at pictures of people in magazines, don’t ever believe that they are perfect. Don’t use them as a goal to achieve. You’re looking at the results of hours of make-up applications, hair styling, and Adobe photo shopping. Believe me, I know. Being in front of the camera on TV and in photo shoots is an eye opening experience. I usually have to take a pressure hose to my face and hair when I’m done just to wash off the layers of war paint and hairspray. Then I peer into the mirror and see my freckles and the healthy glow on my cheeks once again. My freckles are not a flaw. They’re a piece of what makes me unique, memorable and human."

Webster’s likens progress “to a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal), advance; an expedition, journey; a gradual betterment.” Now we’re talking. This is about moving you forward through your life journey toward your positive goal of living a healthier happier lifestyle.

I really like the 80%-20% rule that Peeke developed and think you all will to so I am sharing it this week: Progress, not perfection, means that if you pay attention and work hard and keep your focus 80 percent of the time, you’re doing superbly well. The other 20 percent of the time, you get to be human. Did you blow off your workout today and go home, chill out. Pick it up again tomorrow. Fell off the wagon and binged? Stop beating yourself up. Learn from the experience and make the connection (e.g. had a bad day at work and you bolted for the fridge as soon as you got home). That’s part of your humanly 20 percent. Regroup as soon as you can and keep pushing forward. And, next time you have a rough day, you’ll be better prepared mentally to cope without self destructing.

Pound perfection out of your life and shoot for progress by practicing these simple exercises shared by Peeke:

1. Replace “I aim for perfection,” with “I aim for progress”. Practice saying that throughout the day. Write it in your journal pages.

2. Instead of saying “I wasn’t perfect,” proclaim proudly “I did the best I could, given the constraints and restrictions of my life. Hey, so what if you didn’t see the gym or you ended up eating later than planned? It happens. Get over it and move on, regrouping as best you can the next day.

3. Substitute “but” with “and” when you’re describing your journey: “Yea, I’ve removed 20 pounds but I have another 20 pounds to go,” versus “Yes, I have indeed removed 20 pounds and I’m getting more fit and I’m just pushing forward to remove the rest of my weight and achieve my goals.” Wow, what a difference.

4. Celebrate every ounce of progress you make. Never diminish your smallest achievement. Clap your hands with delight about the fact that you now eat a healthy breakfast every morning instead of skipping it as you’ve done for years. Don’t wait for 50 pound weight drops to give yourself an “Atta girl/boy”. Honor every step of this journey.

5. Pound perfection out of your lifestyle habits. Perfectionism creeps into your work and personal life. Have fun with this. Go into your perfectly organized closet and stick a red shirt with your whites just to play with yourself. Don’t make up your bed until later in the day. Laugh with yourself about how rigid you can sometimes be. Lighten up and smile as you continue your quest for progress, not perfection.

You can lose focus striving for perfection, or you can reach your goal by making progress. Which will it be?

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