The other day my husband Chris came home after a workout and said, “Man, I can tell I’m really fit right now.”
I thought to myself, “Who says that?”
Seriously. I hear “I need to lose weight” or “I need to get in better shape” all. the. time.
But “I’m really fit” is just not something you hear everyday (or ever).
Of course, I had to give him a hard time about it… “Well hey there, Mr. Arrogant. Nice to see you too.”
But he wasn’t bragging. He was just stating a fact — his abilities have noticeably improved from this time last year.
I should note that Chris is training for his second Iron Man. (I should also note that I have zero desire to ever train for something like an Iron Man. I’ve written about the differences in our exercise personalities before.)
It’s great that Chris is “really fit” right now. (Congratulations, Chris.) But that’s not the point of this post…
The point I really want to make is the next thing he said.
He said this, which I think reveals a big part of his success:
“My training program has helped a lot, even though there are a lot of workouts I haven’t been able to do.”
Secret to Success
I admire Chris’s ability to stick with something, even when conditions aren’t ideal and compromises are necessary.
When “life happens,” he doesn’t let this derail him. He might spend a little time off-track, but there’s no question that he will jump right back on.
He embraces imperfection as part of the journey. He simply does what he can, when he can. And over time his consistent, imperfect actions add up.
“Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.” -Harry S. Truman
Where Many of Us Go Wrong
Many of us are plagued by perfectionist tendencies. I certainly am. In fact, I would say this is the single biggest thing that’s held me back in my own health journey.
We have high hopes and big dreams. And we expect the journey to look like the idealistic vision in our head — flawless.
When the first blemish occurs, we view it as a failure. We’re ready to give up. Perhaps we’ll try again “on Monday.”
But continually starting over keeps us stuck at the starting line.
Transformations don’t happen at the starting line. Transformations happen as we venture away from the starting line, and continue down the path.
It’s important to be realistic about what the path to success really looks like, and to be prepared for it.
The path to success is a MESSY one.
It’s not smooth, straight, and sunny. It gets bumpy. It has a lot of twists and turns. It gets rainy and muddy. It gets boring. It gets frustrating. It’s full of flaws and imperfections.
It’s also common to stumble off of the path at times.
But stumbling off the path isn’t a reason to quit and go back to the starting line. In fact, that’s the worst thing we can do. Because it takes us further from the transformation we desire.
When we get off-track (for whatever reason), it’s so important that we stand up, pull ourselves together, and jump right back on that messy, flawed path. No do-overs. Everything counts. (To see my own flawed path, you can check out this post about my strength-training journey.)
Starting over won’t make it smoother. Subsequent attempts won’t be flawless. Imperfect, messy action is the name of the game.
Sticking With It
When we stick with the path, we not only gain tolerance for the imperfections, we start to appreciate its messy beauty. We learn from it, and we grow. We eventually find ourselves transformed.
One day, we might even find ourselves saying, “Man, I can tell I’m really fit right now.” :)
How about you?
What is your experience with hanging on to the messy path? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.
This post was originally published on July 25, 2019.