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Monday, February 22, 2010

From Dr. Pam Peek:

That's where I developed my 80%-20% rule. Progress, not perfection, means that if you pay attention and work hard and keep your focus 80 percent of the time, you're doing superbly well. The other 20 percent of the time, you get to be human. Are you in the midst of a hormonal tsunami and feel drained? No problem. Blow off your workout today and go home, chill out and watch a Law and Order marathon for heaven's sake. Pick it up again tomorrow. Fell off the wagon and binged? Hey, nobody died. Stop beating yourself up. Don't keep crying out "why did I do that?" Instead, see the lesson and make the connection (e.g. your mom visited and laid a heavy trip on you and you bolted for the fridge as soon as she left). That's part of your humanly 20 percent. Regroup as soon as you can and keep pushing forward. And, next time mom shows up, you'll be better prepared mentally to cope with her without self destructing.

Pound perfection out of your life and shoot for progress by practicing these simple exercises:

1. Replace "I aim for perfection," with "I aim for progress". Practice saying that throughout the day. Write it in your journal pages.

2. Instead of saying "I wasn't perfect," proclaim proudly "I did the best I could, given the constraints and restrictions of my life." Your day starts with a 7 AM plane flight, goes straight through with meetings, and ends at 11 PM as you stumble through your hotel room door. Hey, so what if you didn't see the gym or you ended up eating later than planned? It happens. Get over it and move on, regrouping as best you can the next day.

3. Substitute "but" with "and" when you're describing your journey: "Yea, I've removed 20 pounds but I have another 20 pounds to go," versus "Yes, I have indeed removed 20 pounds and I'm getting more fit and I'm just pushing forward to remove the rest of my weight and achieve my goals." Wow, what a difference.

4. Celebrate every ounce of progress you make. Never diminish your smallest achievement. Clap your hands with delight about the fact that you now eat a healthy breakfast every morning instead of skipping it as you've done for years. Don't wait for 50 pound weight drops to give yourself an "Atta girl/boy". Honor every step of this journey.

5. Pound perfection out of your lifestyle habits. Perfectionism creeps into your work and personal life. Have fun with this. Go into your perfectly organized closet and stick a red shirt with your whites just to play with yourself. Don't make up your bed until later in the day. Laugh with yourself about how rigid you can sometimes be. Lighten up and smile as you continue your quest for progress, not perfection.

I can live with this. So many times I sabotage myself with negative self talk. This IS a journey, and a life changing, forever decision. I will continue, and I will be kind to myself. How about you? :-)

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