A single step. An imperfect action. That’s all it takes to begin your journey to best health.
All journeys begin with a single step. And that first step doesn’t need to be perfect.
When it comes to making health improvements, any step, no matter how small… even a sincere effort toward taking a step, will do.
Avoid the perfection trap with imperfect actions.
If you desire to achieve your best possible level of health, you’ll need to take action. But you may never take action at all if you think you can’t do it “perfectly.” Perfection is a trap because the illusion of achieving perfection– and all the stress and pressure that goes with it– can prevent you from doing anything at all to reach your goal.
In today’s world, perfection has become an ideal. The flawless execution of a skill or the winning of a competition sometimes becomes the goal itself. These types of goals may be appropriate for those who have achieved a certain level of mastery. But for those of us who are seeking to take first steps toward improving our health, setting perfection as the goal can be self-defeating.
If your goal is having “perfect health” or improving your health in a perfect way, you may never take any action at all toward improving your health. But if you give yourself permission to take imperfect actions on the way to achieving realistic health goals, you’ll make progress. By taking imperfect actions, your health will improve and you’ll be able to achieve the best level of health that is possible for you.
It’s not easy. Perfectionism is accepted without question and even praised as a desirable trait in our superlative culture. But it’s important to remember that action is what separates wishes and unrealistic expectations from fulfilled desires and unmet goals. We all have to start somewhere. And imperfect actions can get us started.We all have to start somewhere. Imperfect actions can get us started toward meeting our health goals.Click To Tweet
What are imperfect actions?
The concept of “taking imperfect action” is a recurring theme for most coaches or for people who have worked with one. If you’re unfamiliar with the idea, imperfect action means:
- Just do it
- Feel the fear and do it anyway
- Make no excuses
- Learn from your mistakes
- Fail forward
- Dance like no one’s watching
- There is no try, only do
- Be unstoppable
Many of these wise directives have become bumper-sticker clichés. And I believe they’ve earned that label because they are such profoundly important, yet difficult-to-master, life lessons.
In the mastery effort, behaviors that could help us live up to our full potential are constantly discussed, yet they remain out of reach for most of us. It’s easy to talk about taking action, but insanely difficult to actually do it…. and do it consistently enough to see results. Letting go of perfection makes it easier.Letting go of perfection makes it easier to take action.Click To Tweet
Release and Reset
Taking imperfect action requires you to release the illusion of perfection and reset your comfort zone. Ask yourself: What is my health like right now? What is the best level of health I could realistically enjoy? What is one small, easy, thing I could start doing right away –and keep doing consistently– to move one step closer to my ultimate, positive, best?
Now, pick something small and simple that doesn’t take too much effort. This approach ensures that you can’t possibly fail — unless you fail to take action at all, of course. And if your first action step is simple and effortless (who cares if it’s perfect?), you’ll be more likely to keep doing it, make a habit of it, and see results.
One example might be drinking a full glass of plain water each day, first thing on waking. Another might be, having one less cup of coffee with breakfast, or walking a few extra steps before work. You might even decide to go to bed half-an-hour earlier from now on or to listen to relaxing music before turning in instead of watching the news.
If you catch yourself falling into the perfection trap, remember this: Perfection is not realistic because it does not allow room for personal growth and expansion. When you realize this, you can see that idealizing perfection and setting it as the goal is a recipe for frustration, stagnation, and disappointment. When achieving your own personal best becomes your goal, you can reset your comfort zone, and your journey to health can begin.Any journey, including your personal journey to best health, begins with a single step.Click To Tweet
Any journey, including your personal journey to best health, begins with a single step. What long journeys have you been on? Leave your comments below.
To find out more about how a health coach can assist you on your journey to best health, click here.