Motivation Articles

5 Things You Can Learn from Your Mistakes

Find Life Lessons When You're Less Than Perfect


While my story and what I learned is very personal and poignant for me, its lessons universal. Here are five takeaways from my experience that may also apply to you.

Take Time Off
All work and no play doesn't just make Jack a dull boy; it also makes us sad, unhappy and less productive individuals. In order for you to reach any goal, you need to take time to recharge those batteries and relax. That's why employers offer vacation days to their workers! Whether it's a night off from the gym to go see a movie with a friend, or a long, hot bath and the end of an even longer day, be sure to take at least 15 minutes each day to do something just for you. If you're the primary caregiver in your house, this may seem impossible, but it's true that you can't take care of anyone unless you take care of yourself, so block off some me time and have some fun! Also remember that even the most dedicated exercisers and athletes need to rest and recover, so build downtime into your workout plans if you hope to take your fitness to the next level.

Don't Force It
You can't force things to happen. No matter how much you want something or how hard you work to make it happen, sometimes you just have to wait it out. Whether it's your perfect job or those last 10 pounds, life is a process. Instead, try to trust that you're on the right path, and keep at it. Slowly but surely, you'll eventually get there. Don't work harder, work smarter—and figure out how you can get to your goal without risking your sanity or well-being. You know what's not productive? Burnout.

Respect Your Limits
I learned this lesson hard during and after my marathon training. Despite a nagging hip ache, I kept running and stuck to my training schedule. Then, for the entire marathon, I didn't just endure 26.2 miles, but 26.2 miles of pain that sidelined me for weeks after the race was over. I learned the hard way that listening to your body is so important. If you're really fatigued, take a day off. If you're sick and have no energy, rest. Pushing through physical pain, emotional pain, and fatigue is never a good idea. Listen closely to what your body is telling you, and treat it like you would your best friend. Be loving, kind and respectful.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • I liked this article, especially where you mention about knowing your limits and respecting your body! That's a biggie for me. Thank you for helping me remember that its OK to rest and give myself a break from time to time! - 7/13/2015 11:37:38 PM
  • Good article. I told all my children that there is nothing wrong with being perfect. What's important is how you define perfect; i.e., every hair in place, or every hair is present. 8-) - 7/12/2015 8:27:36 PM
  • EWAGNEV493
    Jennifer- I loved, loved, loved your article, especially the point you made at the end to NOT wait until you reach your weight goal before you basically think you can enjoy life. Thank you for reminding me of this enlightening fact! - 7/12/2015 4:03:16 PM
  • Thank you for bringing this to the forefront for me to find on my start page today - just what I needed - am adding to my favourites ;) - 7/12/2015 12:39:05 PM
  • In respect to fitness/health/we
    ight loss, I know the whole "positivity/me first/be nice to yourself" stuff works for some people, but not for me.
    No one else is going to make me stay on track, no one else is going to be honest about how things really are. And in the end, no one but me is really accountable for my actions/inactions
    I've lost weight and gotten fit and then backslid too many times to allow myself too much grace, because while it takes me a year to lose twenty pounds, I can gain it back in a few months.
    I'm no longer willing to take that risk. - 6/10/2015 10:09:56 AM
  • --ALYSSA--
    I absolutely LOVE this article, and I really needed to hear this message today! Thank you for sharing this! - 6/10/2015 9:03:38 AM
  • CHERYLJ613
    Thank you is both so small and so large for the info provided. I am not a "Type-A" person but more a "mediocre let it ride" person. BUT, the last 2 sentences of Enjoy Now hit me squarely where I live. There is a hurtle of being perfect I am working very hard to over come and I appreciate your down to earth encouragement of "where I am" and "who I am". - 2/23/2015 10:43:02 AM
  • Thanks a lot for this great article, I bumped into it quite by chance and it resulted to be just what I needed to read. I tend to push myself taking extra duties and trying to do 'everything' by myself, and I often end up exhausted when it's week-end time. It's difficult for me to allow myself some 'me-time', I feel like I'm wasting my time rather than investing it on myself... Have to work on this maybe! - 12/6/2014 12:53:27 PM
  • Great artical - 11/15/2014 3:01:24 PM
  • Thank you. For writing this article and in a very personal way...just thank you. - 8/4/2014 4:28:00 PM
  • What a great article! So very well written! Nothing new in it really, but a lot that I needed to remind myself of! Thank you for sharing from your own journey and the lessons learned along the way! - 8/4/2014 9:44:26 AM
  • I have the opposite problem. I start to get sedentary and feel not motivated. But this article is still good to read. I have always beat myself up for not being perfect. I just need to set reasonable goals and be content what I have. :) - 5/28/2014 2:31:55 PM
  • WOW - I really needed to read this today.

    Great, great article.

    This is just one reason why I love Sparkpeople.

    Thank you so much!!! - 11/19/2013 11:04:51 AM
  • Great article! Thanks for sharing. - 11/15/2013 11:02:26 AM
  • I teach a self-esteem group at my job and I think this article is really generalizable to all aspects of human behavior. I am sharing it in group today :) - 10/8/2013 11:22:24 AM

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