5 Easy Steps to Perfection

By , SparkPeople Blogger

Five easy steps to perfection. if I could really do that and teach you how to do that, then we would live in a perfect world wouldn’t we?  If perfection is rarely if ever attainable, why do we berate ourselves so much when we make a “mistake” in our healthy lifestyle journey?
As we rush toward the end of the year and start thinking about our goals for 2012, I’d like to talk to you about reframing your expectations so that you are liberated to make it the best year ever.  Let’s consider some of the world’s top athletes for a moment, and how they think in order to be successful.

I read and interesting article in preparation for this blog.  The author talked about winning tennis players and their mental attitude to focus on striving for success or avoiding failure.  The players who retrain their brain to focus on success are in the end more successful than the players who focus on avoiding failure. They aren’t thinking about the point they just lost, but focus on the play that they are in at the moment and how they can win that one. Their focus is on executing the steps for the one point they are involved with.

I had the good fortune of attending one of the Texas Rangers winning games that helped qualify them for the World Series this year.  One of the star players in the series playoffs for the Rangers was their catcher, Mike Napoli.  If you check his batting average you’ll see that it is .328.  What that means is for every 10 times he goes to bat he is going to be out at least six of them. If you consider getting on base success, then he is going to fail over half of the time.  Now if we were equating that to how we think about our eating, would we give up after we struck out at one meal, or missed one workout?  Do you think that he would be a great player if he stopped playing in any game where he struck out?  His attitude is obviously to get back in there and try, try again.  He has to focus on that one pitch that is barreling at him at over 90 mph.  In that moment, he can’t think about that earlier out, or anything else.  His complete and total focus has to be on executing this one swing.

My point in all of this is that we too have to quit trying to avoid.  Quit focusing on the failures.  Quit dragging the weight of past failures into our day.  One of the things that continues to help me maintain my weight loss is to realize that there will be no year going forward where I can be perfect every day, every meal, every workout, every everything.  Making mistakes happens.  It is how I deal with them that will impact my success in my journey.  I need to learn from them, grow from them, and move on from them.  Criticizing myself, focusing on the failure, or listening to others criticize me won’t help anything. 

Remember – a goal without a plan is just a wish.  Set your goal, work your plan, and celebrate each success along the way.  It makes the journey so much more fun.

So do you focus on not failing, or on being successful?  Are you setting up SMART goals for 2012 and allowing yourself space to learn, grow, and move on from mistakes?  Can you share one of your big goals for 2012?  Will you work on retraining your thoughts to focus on the next success?

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Great great blog!! Look at you, using Mike NA-PO-LI in your blog!! You rock it!!! Thanks for the inspiration. :)) Report
A perspective I really needed to view. Thank you! Report
I appreciate this reminder that I am always having thoughts and that I can (sometimes, if I can summon the attention) choose to pick thoughts that work for good. Timing is great ~ I'm going out for a training run now and I will imagine sprinting across the finish line of a half marathon! Report
This has really made me think of what is happening now. It seems I always think about yesterday and about tomorrow, but never right now. Note to self - "what can I do right now to make myself healthier." Report
Thanks for this blog. I think that, for me, instead of focusing on a larger end goal (like winning the world series of weight loss), I may need to set smaller, short-term goals in the coming year (like winning the upcoming game). Report
Exactly. Motivation for life. Does one go "toward" what is desired or "away" from what is not? This applies to everything, especially a relationship in God. The United States with the help of some religions (Catholic, Baptist, Mormon, etc.) has become a nation encouraging avoidance of external punishment to be "good" with the things to avoid being spanking, prison, fines, hell fire etc. The internal motivation could be that being "good" (letting God's spirit flow) makes life better for all and empowers one's own life. Report
Thanks for the much needed reminded. I saw this quote in a book on piano performance: "Perfection is for the gods, and they will punish you if you attain it." I'm human, and I will make mistakes. That's a lot less important than what I do from there. Report
A very necessary reminder for me - and I think I might be getting better at this!
Have a successful year everybody! Report
After a hard week I come up for air and find this gem of an article.
I need to think about me more than once in a while.... making it a habit so I can do better for the others I help. Diet, exercise, water are all not only good but necessary for my own well being and need to be a daily habit. My goal for 2012: Balance: self care for, with and even sometimes in spite of the other competing demands so that I can continue to thrive and help others do so too. Report
REDBIRDFLY, that is wonderful you quit smoking this year and quit drinking alcohol. That is something I never started doing, so never had to quit. My mother smoked and I hated it so much when I was a child that I told myself that I'd never start. None of my five grown children smoke, and I'm glad of that. Report
I guess I'm one of the lucky ones in that I don't have a hang up about "perfection" in my food choices. I don't worry about mistakes. Yes, there are some food choices I regret, and some days when it's tough not to eat stuff I know is beyond my needs. But I don't think about good foods and bad foods or screwing up. I think about food that represents the best possible choice for my needs and go from there. My work requires "perfection". I don't need to impose that on my food choices :) Report
Well this year was a success even though I gain 40 lbs!! How you ask? I quit smoking after 40 years, I quit drinking alcohol except for a occasional glass of wine, I got back on spark people, I'm working out, tracking every morsel that goes in my mouth. My goal for 2012 is to first run a 5K in competition (havn't run since I was 16...55 now). And to complete a 10k or longer by the end of the year...Oh ya, one more thing...lose 3o more lbs!! Oh Happy Day.... Report
Excatly what I neexed to hear on what has been a rough week for me. If I focus on the negarive I will just end up making things worse and binging. Onward I go! Report
This is something that I have to remind myself of all the time because there is no such thing as "perfect". We all fail once in a while. Great blog!

I am still planning out 2012. Sometimes I find it better to just take it month by month. It makes it a little easier to manage. Report
Loved this! Great reminders to "fall seven times, get up eight". Report
The title disturbed me, so I read the blog. Nice title work!

Perfection. Is that the point where I quit berating myself and relax? Well, then let's all be at perfection now! :-) Report
I do not care about the first one because in order for you to lose the weight and do exercise you have to eat healthy. So the last two are my priorities. Report
I really needed to hear this today...I have been so awful...gained all my weight back again...but my success is that I lost it in the 1st place...I am NOT where I started in the past...and I am SMARTER than I was before...I can get right back at it!! Report
My goals for 2012 are to:walk/run as many 5 KMs as are available in my area;continue on my eating/excercise plan as much as possible. sign in every day through February; walk at least 1 10 KM this year. I hope these goals lead to loosing sufficient weight to start running without killing my knees. Report
One of my big goals this and next year is not make my success dependent on the numbers on my scale but value all the new things I learn along the way. Report
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