Sunday, May 6, 2012

Progress not perfection

One of my friends recently shared the expression 'progress not perfection' with me.
I am someone who has her goals set and aims to reach them as soon and best as I can. In some instances that process works great but in many instances it can become demotivating if the goal is not immediately achievable and seems still far. I get frustrated and upset. 
Instead of looking into the progress made, appreciating each step and lesson learnt, I focus on the goal.
 
I will share a very recent example. I signed up for an online course to learn mindful eating on my new favourite blog zenhabits.net . The idea of the course is that you create the habit of mindful eating. You start step by step and try to eat one meal a day mindfully for a week, then move along to eat mindfully and healthier to then get by the end of the month to the point that everything you put in your mouth will be done in a mindful.
After three weeks on the course I just managed to have one meal a day (and not necessarily the entire meal) applying the mindful eating habits. I got upset with myself and looked for all the things I am doing wrong and badly. Which almost got me to give up.

Looking at it from the 'progress not perfection' point of view assisted to actually appreciate my achievement. Mindful eating and mainly eating slowly has not been part of my eating behaviour for almost 33 years of my life. Why do I expect to master it within three weeks? I realised that the progress made was actually quite amazing. I had started to break a habit which for years I had not been able to break. 
I listed all the little successes that come with the mindful eating of one meal a day. This list helped me to see that I am on a good path and that I am doing well.

We tend to be quite hard on ourselves when we don't achieve our goals. Being hard on ourselves does not help and has often a negative effect. I want to encourage you to look out for the progress made during every step of your path. You will be able to analyse your lessons learnt during the process. You can celebrate you courage, your strength towards change. If you only do it in the end, it will not last long. If instead you celebrate each step towards it, you will remember the failures and the successes and it will grow your confidence.

Share your story of progress not of perfection.

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