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Progress, not success

You’ve probably heard the saying, “it’s the journey, not the destination.”

If we are going to succeed at our new lifestyle, we must get this one big thing into our mind first.  We are not going to succeed overnight. In fact, we may never perfect our new habits  — nobody with normal body weight and a healthy lifestyle succeeds in living perfectly themselves, so why should we expect ourselves to be perfect?

We should not gauge our success by where we are in relation to some cold criteria, but where we are in relation to where we were before.  Instead of judging ourselves based on a checklist of things we should do, we should measure our progress.

We should exercise 20 minutes a day.  But when we are starting out, we are not going to just suddenly be exercising 20 minutes every day. Most of us are not going to go out our first day and exercise for 20 minutes.  Most of us are not going to start out doing it every day of the week.  But, if we go from not exercising at all to walking for 5 minutes (quite a challenge for many of us), then that is progress and progress is success!

This is really important, because our success in our new lifestyle is 90% mental.  If we discourage ourselves by looking at the wrong standards, we will set ourselves up for failure.  Failure is when we stop trying, and repeated discouragement causes us to stop trying.

If we go from walking 5 minutes on some days to walking 5 minutes on most days, that is progress, and progress is success.

If we go from rarely making good food choices to making good choices for many meals, that is progress.

Progress is success.

The success is in the journey, not the destination.  The truth is, we will probably never reach the destination if that destination is a perfect lifestyle.  Nobody lives a perfect lifestyle, so why should we expect ourselves to do it?  Why should we judge our success and failure based on an impossibility?

Every week that we do a little bit better than the week before, we have succeeded in a big way.  Every week that we keep trying, we succeed in a good way.  Let that encourage us to keep trying next week.

In fact, the only time we fail is when we stop trying.  As long as we are trying, we are succeeding.

Don’t let our desire to perfectly meet our standards discourage us.

Don’t let other people’s judgment discourage us.  Other people have no inkling of an idea of what we are up against.  People (including ourselves) love to judge and criticize other people.  We love to hold other people to some arbitrary standard, while giving ourselves a free pass on our own issues.

Don’t stop striving for perfection. But, stop looking at perfection as the measure of success.  We will never get there.  Instead, just keep trying, and in doing so we will succeed inch by inch, step by step, minute by minute — even during those times when things seem to be going backwards.

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