If there is one thing I have always struggled with, it is the concept of perfection. I am a first born. Perfectionism is in my nature. But if there is one lesson that I’ve tried to learn, it’s that in health and fitness, focusing on perfection will never make you happy – while monitoring your progess will keep you on track toward your goals.
I still remember when I first started working with my trainer, Steven, when I lived in Nashville (2009-ish), and he asked me what my goals are. I looked him straight in the eye, and told him, “I want you to make me perfect.” I don’t remember exactly what his response was, but I’m sure it was something that opened my eyes a little bit more to the reality of the situation.
The fact is, I will never be completely satisfied with my body, my strength, my musculature – but honestly, do we really want to be “perfect”? It makes think of something my mom mentioned my grandmother (who was a very smart woman!) telling her as a child: “If you had everything, then what would you have to wish for?” I think this is kind of how we have to look at our workouts – I know that I’m driven by what I don’t like about myself. That pocket of fat on my hips (especially the right one) that, God help me, I’ve tried everything to get rid of? It makes me run a little faster. The little separation line between my shoulders and my arms? That’s what keeps me lifting on the days that I’d rather skip it. But, like I said, it depends on the day.
Our “flaws” are what make us unique – and they are also what keeps us motivated. If we didn’t have to put in the work to get closer to our “ideal” would we really appreciate how far we’ve come? Is what we see as perfect today what we will see as perfect a year from now? Probably not. Perfect example: I can’t help but laugh when I look at high school pictures and wonder what I was thinking when, at 5’5″ and 120 lbs. at 18 years old, I thought I was fat. Granted, after more than a decade of hard workouts, I’ve put on a lot of muscle (and probably a few of those “age related” lbs. you always read about – at least that’s what I’m claiming) since then … but I’d still love to be that kind of “fat” again!