Anne Lamott is famous for saying, “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend.”
Well, Anne Lamott is famous for saying many things, but that’s a good one that applies to just about everything, including fitness.
Think back to when you started, or if you haven’t started when you will. Perfect is off the table. For sure in the beginning, and honestly, forever. Those who say otherwise often never get started, hiding behind some false shield of “perfect” that’s more like code for “too scared to try.”
That leaves optimal as every athlete’s goal, whether at the dinner table or gym. Optimal today, tomorrow, and the day after. A constantly moving target that never stops changing.
But optimal isn’t easy. It takes practice, consistency, and commitment. Most of all, it takes the strength to struggle before you succeed. The willingness to look stupid before you look stunning.
That’s probably the hardest lesson to learn regarding health. But it doesn’t mean we throw all caution to the wind. It means while struggling with new and essential behaviors, we never allow anything short of acceptable.
Acceptable does not hurry.
Acceptable tries new things.
Acceptable is safe.
Acceptable is never satisfied.
It’s then, and only then, that acceptable transforms into optimal, and we start over. Because fitness doesn’t end and healthy isn’t for part-timers.
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.” — Anne Lamott