Progress and health change can be fickle. It can be extremely difficult to stay on track all the time, make the right decisions when out to eat and dedicate to an exercise program. The masses of influencers on social media usually spread the idea that you need to be perfect.
We are now in a generation of heightened scrutiny and opinionated people. Everyone thinks they know what’s best for you.
“Eat more of this, less of that.”
“You can’t have food after 9PM”
“You need to fit into those old jeans”
“You can only drink 2 glasses of wine per week”
What do these all have in common?
These sentiments are all coming from someone else's mouth. Even as I type this today I recognize that us at Forever Fit have given suggestions as to what you “should be doing” when it comes to your health and fitness.
What I want to talk about today is figuring out what is good enough for you. Not something that is perfect for you and not something that falls short of good enough. Figuring out how to identify what actions are “good enough” can lead you to a place of less stress and more success!
The fallacy of perfection
Perfection is what is sold to us through social media. We browse our instagram feed and see men and women who have 6 pack abs, big smiles on their faces and talk positive encouraging words that you can also achieve success like them.
The thought is that if you just work hard enough, are strict enough and dedicate yourself you too can become like those people on Instagram.
However the dark secret here is that those people aren’t even perfect themselves. More often than not they are probably striking a pose that makes it appear that their bodies are flawless and chiseled.
They might also not be perfect in the way that they feel. Maybe they are constantly under pressure to keep this image up... maybe they have developed very poor eating habits and are never satisfied with the progress they have. Maybe they have destroyed relationships in their life because of their necessary dedication day in and day out to their most important thing, their body.
We get sold this idea that this is the ideal body and anything short of that is a failure.
Let me break this down and offer you an alternative way of thinking about this.
We’ve gotten into this idea that there are certain markers that we have to hit, weight that we need to be, and level of leanness we need to show. This constant desire to be part of that exclusive “fit influencer club” can actually be leading you down a path of failure.
For example let’s talk about what it takes to get down to 12% body fat for men, and 18% for women.
For these individuals to get down to, and maintain this body weight they have to do the following on a daily basis with no exceptions!
Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks per week
Limit processed foods to 1-2 treats per week
Exercise 6 days a week
Get 7-8 hours of sleep
Eat between 6-8 servings of vegetables per day
Eat slowly for 90% of your meals
And this only gets more strict as you continue to strive for perfection (bodybuilders who often sit around 6-8% body fat for men, and 12-15% for women).
Now I don’t know about you but life sometimes can’t be that ordered and dedicated everyday when you take into account also being a parent, working 40 hours a week, keeping in touch with friends and family, enjoying time for yourself...the list can go on and on.
Perfection isn’t perfect … it’s an ideal that isn’t realistic and not built for the long term.
Setting realistic goals
I get this question all the time when coaching my clients “What weight/body fat should I be?”
My answer is always the same …”it depends on what you want”.
Most people would like to have an answer to this question...just tell me what I should be!!
I don’t believe there is a lack of forethought when it comes to goal setting but I do believe that most of us feel that others “know best”.
I’m a nutrition and fitness expert so I should have the answer for you, right?
I’m sorry to disappoint but I just don’t have those answers for you, I shouldn’t have to tell you “what weight you should be” (although many doctors will often tell you if you need to lose or gain weight based on averages of people your age!)
These questions will always be answered by you and you alone. The best I can do to help is to give you a plan of attack as well as feedback on how to get to your desired location.
So what do you need to do here?
Setting realistic goals will always be the key to finding success and working towards perfection. Knowing that you will never be perfect is something you need to accept on your journey. As we talked about above, perfection is not a long-term solution and is not something that most people can attain (even though they “look” like they are perfect)
Having a realistic goal will make your jump to change feel much more fluent but also make it feel that it’s owned by you! This is your life, your body and there is no one else who is responsible for how you feel.
So that brings me to the big question...what’s good enough?
The power of “what’s good enough for you”
Before I get further into this, I need to give props to Mike (owner at LIFW) who has drilled this sentiment into my head over the years.
“What’s good enough?”
At the start of Forever Fit Method I ran into the issue of feeling like I needed to be perfect. I wanted our website to be perfect with no errors, I wanted our products to have no flaws, our processes to be perfect and my coaching to be perfect and I wanted this blog to be read and enjoyed by many. This business is very important to me because I feel passionate and driven to help people like yourself find continued, sustained success in their health, fitness, and nutrition.
What this did to me however was overwhelm me. I spent countless hours going over in my head and on paper if our services were everything we needed. I had so much doubt because I had this idea that if we showed one sign of weakness no one would buy into what we were talking about and we would ultimately fail at creating the business we dreamed of.
Thankfully having Brittany as a partner in all of this evened out my craziness of perfection. She was able to redirect my efforts and focus on what is good enough, right now. The answer I found was really simple: To provide well thought out and coherent content on our blog and to communicate effectively with our coaching clients to help them lose weight and make sustainable life change (not become bodybuilders).
Now I’m able to keep my sights and energy on those things that are good enough and not those things that need to be perfect. I feel much more at ease and feel a sense of calm. I can focus more on doing the work on producing programs and learning more about becoming a better business owner without that constant stress of “doing everything right, all the time”.
So enough of my story here - how can this apply to your fitness and nutrition?
Deciding what’s good enough for you
Firstly I want to talk about what it means to value this good enough position and then go into some practical advice on how you can help decide what that looks like.
What is good enough is what will get you results with the least potential for falling off. Truly think about this and ask yourself how it would feel to make one small step towards your big goals of being fit and healthy. What does that one step feel like? Does it feel like something that causes extreme pressure and doubt? If that’s the case maybe this wouldn’t be defined as your good enough.
Being good enough is the acceptance of where you are at. All too often are we criticizing and putting ourselves down for falling off the wagon, giving into a treat here and there or missing a workout.
Acceptance is such a strong quality to have when it comes to your fitness and health goals. If you can’t accept where you are, and what can be better you more than likely will never get started. If you can’t accept yourself for anything less than what those social influencers are looking like - you might be in for a rude awakening when those results don’t come in the first 3 months.
Now I want to be very clear that I’m not saying you should just accept a life where you feel crappy about who you are. This isn’t what I’m trying to say at all.
Rather accept that we all have our unique levels of good enough and that good enough can often be life changing.
A practical guide to learning what’s good enough
To decide what’s good enough I want you to take 10 minutes to really think about and write down on paper what attributes you wish to see change in your life.
Do you want to eat more vegetables?
Do you want to feel more energized?
Do you want to feel confident in those summer shorts?
This helps to frame what your goals and aspirations are. With this information you can then start to develop this path to what’s good enough.
Ask yourself questions like “How many vegetables would be a step in the right direction?”
When and how much energy do I want? Do I want to be able to walk up stairs without feeling out of breath? Do I want to run a marathon? (These might be extremes but important nonetheless to determine)
These answers are unique to you and will start to formulate a range of what’s easiest, moderate, and tough to accomplish.
Take a look over your answers to these questions and ask yourself what you feel you would want to work on day in and day out. I would suggest taking the path of least resistance to start, and then moving onto more difficult tasks and skills as you gain the confidence.
Set your goals with this mindset of good enough and be realistic with the change that is desired.
Lastly, understand that your good enough is always subject to change. As you grow into a better version of yourself your goals and potential progress will grow with you. Instead of working out 2 times a week and feeling good enough, over time you will find that adding 3 or 4 days a week becomes your new normal, and is good enough.
The beauty of taking this stance is it’s flexibility that helps cultivate a growth mindset.
Continue to grow and always remember what is good enough for you.