Why “Perfection Mindset” Perfect Diet, Perfect workout….Is Killing Your Progress.

Why “Perfection Mindset” Perfect Diet, Perfect workout….Is Killing Your Progress.

The Perfect Job, The Perfect Diet,The Perfect Body

Wouldn’t we all want to be that guy? eating the perfect diet.


With, the perfect body.


Whether it’s buns of steel, washboard stomach, flowing locks, a silver tongue, or toned arms, most of us have some ideal of physical “perfection” that we carry around in our heads.


Implied in that physical “perfection” is also the idea that “this ideal body” works perfectly.


This body has no allergies, No spots or wrinkles. 


All this body’s hair is in the right places, and it’s just enough — no more or less.

If the body is female it might look like the above image.


You might think…


Their body doesn’t gain weight like mine.


Their body is full of energy, all the time.


Their body never trips and falls, never bangs its shins or stubs its toe.


If this body is male, it’s a ninja, race car driver, cowboy, and epic stud. Kinda like this guy.


Their body defies gravity. This body defies time. Life crises, death, and falling down the stairs after stepping on a piece of Lego. 


This body shakes its mighty fist at the universe and laughs Ha ha ha at mortality in a sexy booming voice.


Their body has no moles, warts, or — in fact — distinguishing features.


You can stick anyone’s head on this ideal body and call it an ad campaign, just like H&M did!

Clothing company H&M features computer-generated and “completely virtual” models. 


The bodies are computer-generated, then H&M’s clothes and a model’s head are pasted on. Creeeepy.


Of course, it’s not surprising that your brain can easily come up with the “perfect” body (whatever that looks like to you personally).


Your brain probably also yearns for the “perfect” diet or the “perfect” workout plan… or at least feel like those things must be out there, somewhere.


Thanks to the marketing machine of modern fitness and nutrition industries, “perfection” seems to underlie everything we do.


Google perfect diet and you’ll get 176,000,000 hits. Googling perfect body 106,000,000. (Amusingly, try perfect body on Amazon and you’ll get everything from Women’s Health Perfect Body Diet to a medieval-style garment involving “rubberflex”.)


For a lot of the clients we coach “Perfection” is the enemy of progress, they are high achievers in sport, in business and family life, but the fear of failure is crippling them.


The athlete fears losing and become a “used to be”


The business person fears losing out on the next promotion.


The parent fear the other parents are doing a better job.


Applying these irrational fears to exercise, nutrition and health prevents them from making any progress.



"The Best Option"

They are always looking for the “BEST OPTION”

The best diet, 

The best exercise plan,

The best supplements.

When in reality there is no BEST option that works for everybody in every situation.

There is only what you can do and can’t do.

Dropping the perfectionism mindset allows us to  actually focus on the process and not the outcome.

And the process is what produces the results you are after.

Now that I’ve laid out the problem of a perfection mindset, I want to give you some tools that will help you overcome it.

Tool 1: Improvement beats perfection

Tool 2: Reality Check

Tool 3: Control Switch 

Tool 1: “Improvement” vs. “perfection”

If perfection is the enemy of progress, then improvement is its ally.


There’s a difference between an improved body and a perfected one.


The main one being, that the “perfected” body does not exist. Not even close.


You know that. 


I know that. 


So why do some of us still think, feel, act, as if a “perfected” body were possible?


Bodies come in all shapes, sizes, athletic abilities, Muscle mass, Power, and body fat percentages.


“Perfect” doesn’t exist… It’s just a construct in your mind.


All these body below are perfectly adapted for their respective sport, yet all very different.

Now, this suggestion may make you feel a bit snarky.


What do you mean? I’ve created this idea of “perfection”  in my head and it isn’t real?


Yep… Kinda like the tooth fairy and monsters under the bed.


But let’s get honest: There is a tiny part of our brains that wishes, hopes, and thinks this “perfect” body/diet/workout thing is true.


Maybe it’s just in terms of our own self-image.


Even for trainers we catch ourselves looking in the mirror… just to see how we rank.


Or we compare our lunch with a coworker’s. Or we peek at the treadmill next to ours, and run a tiny bit faster.



You might find yourself silently frustrated and saying…


– If I could just work harder…

– If I could just try more…

– If I would just stick to…

– If I would just eat more/less…


I know I say things like that all the time.


You might have your own idea of physical “perfection”.


I’ve even been handed a magazine and asked… Make me look like that, {True story}

How many times have you found yourself looking for the “perfect” diet (or meal frequency, or combination of foods/nutrients, or…) that will get you lean without feeling hungry.


– Paleo

– Keto

– Low Carb

– Vegan

– Weight Watcher

– Slimming World


Or the “perfect” workout that will turn you into a ninja without actually spending any time working out or breaking a sweat.


– Crossfit

– F45

– Bootcamp


– P90X


The unspoken-yet-unconsciously-assumed ideal of physical “perfection” is a carefully constructed, always fragile, house of cards.


We cling to the dream.


And then, reality hits the house of cards comes down. Thwack. Cards everywhere

Looking for ways to improve your diet, your health, your fitness forces you to think about whats working, whats not working and gives you the ability to choose what to do next.


With a “perfection mindset” you might think…


“I’ve missed Mondays gym session so what’s the point in going Wednesday” 


“I didn’t have a perfect breakfast of overnight oats and green juice so I’ll eat chocolate  and Tayto crisps for lunch”


With a “Improver Mindset” you look for opportunities & you might think and act like this…


“I’ve missed Mondays gym session so I’ll get a short walk at lunchtime or I’ll get a home workout in after dinner ” 


“I didn’t have a perfect breakfast of overnight oats and green juice so I’ll add a green juice to my lunch”


To use this tool ask yourself this simple question: What’s one tiny improvement I can make today for my fitness or nutrition.


  • Take the stairs 
  • drink a glass of water
  • Take a moment to appreciate your family or friends. 

Tool 2: Reality Check

Welcome to the world of “imperfection”. Otherwise known as real life.


Here’s the thing. Given enough time, all of us will be “imperfect” in some way. (Even the seemingly indestructible teenage-boy athlete with the healing powers of Wolverine will eventually sprain an ankle, get the stomach flu, or develop an allergy.)


That’s not bad. It’s simply a fact of existence.


Start with where you are, right now. Not where you think you should be.


Do the best you can with what you have. 


Treat this like a fun challenge.


To use this tool ask yourself this simple question: How can you show the world that you can tackle anything, anyone, any obstacle? (Even if it’s messy and “imperfect”?) 

Tool 3: Control Switch “Perfection” = control 

If you want to get a little metaphysical about it, “perfection” is really about control.


Being “perfect” (so we think) puts us above reproach.


We never have to face shame, letdown, or criticism if we are “perfect”. 


Others will never be disappointed by us. By being “perfect”, we control others’ judgement of us.


Being “perfect” means being able to grab the world by the you-know-what. 


It’s a way to control the outcome of always-uncertain life events.


Looking for “perfect” methods also allows you to relinquish control and responsibility.


A “perfect” diet means that they never have to endure discomfort, or make difficult choices.


A “perfect” workout means that something else (i.e. not you) will magically reshape your body.


Nutrition is not about “perfection”. It’s about “good enough”.


Good nutrition is about process.


The journey.


Wise choices, as often as possible.


Being kind to ourselves.


Chasing health and wellness.


Doing the best we can with what we have.


Living with purpose.


Then getting up and trying to be “good enough” again tomorrow.


To use this tool ask yourself this simple question: What specific action can I take today to make progress?

Putting it into practice

Today, challenge yourself to be the anti-perfection: “Good enough”.


Ask yourself to make a thoughtful decision in a tough situation.


To set realistic expectations.


To just be good enough.


For that moment. 


If you want to look, feel or perform better, in just 3 hours per week, we help people in their 40s reclaim their health, lose weight, and move better, so they can get more living out of life.

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