Progress, not perfection

Can you believe it’s nearly October? I was looking back over this month and realized the phrase that has become a theme in my life the last few weeks is “progress, not perfection.”

This has been true in so many areas.

Running– I missed a few workouts and cut back my miles more than my “plan” called for a few times, but I’m not sweating it.  Progress… not perfection.

Healthy living– I had some emotional eating weeks as we processed sad news and adjusted to our new house.  In the past, I would have been beating myself up for losing control.  But you know what? It’s just not helpful.  I can keep going forward, choosing not to dwell on poor choices and know that it really shouldn’t have power to bring down my mood, so I’m not letting it. A healthy living journey has room for off days (or weeks). Progress… not perfection.

Career- I’ve linked up with a local yoga studio, local running store and chiropractor which I’m really excited about. I added a combined running/health coaching program.  I also have about ten other things I wish I could accomplish (start an e-book, offer group health coaching, read a bazillion more books) but I’m choosing to be okay with the progress I’ve made.  I have a whole lifetime to check off my career “to do” list. Progress… not perfection.

Family- We found a preschool we love and are balancing some days with two parents at home trying to work.  Even though my hours are very part time, there are many days when I wish I had gotten more done, or had time to comment on more blogs, or could have had an extra hour or two to myself… but I’ve been realizing this is the only time my daughter will be 3.  I need to soak it up! So I’ve stopped the multi-tasking with my phone or checking emails in between moments of play.  Progress… not perfection.

Quiet time/meditation/prayer– I’ve had great intentions of holding myself to more quiet time in the mornings or evenings to slow down and breathe, but it wasn’t happening.  Finally, I gave myself permission to take just 5 minutes (rather than the 30 or whatever I thought was “ideal”) and I started actually following through and doing it.  Progress… not perfection.

I’ve learned that I have perfectionist tendencies but I am choosing to be content with where I am and what (good or not-so-good) choices I’ve made that day, week, month.

Naming the progress and good things in each day shifts my whole perspective to one of gratitude, contentment and joy.

(Also, thank you to Lindsay and Kierston for your posts on slowing down this month!) I’m also linking up with Katie today for Marvelous in my Monday.

Do you struggle with negative thoughts if you don’t meet your own expectations for yourself?

What is one way this month you’ve seen progress, not perfection?

59 thoughts on “Progress, not perfection

  1. I’m often my own worst critic! When things aren’t perfect it tears me up…this is a great post! I need to remember that progress is just what I need right now and I’m going to miss out on the blessings in front of me if I don’t stop to look!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

  2. Love this Laura! It speaks to me in so many ways. I’m a self-proclaimed perfectionist, but the older I become, the more I realize it’s not about perfection. It’s about finding the perfection in the journey, even when it’s not what we expected!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Sneak Peek: My BookMy Profile

  3. great reminder! i’ve been struggling with post-baby weight loss. it’s just not coming off as easily as i’d want (i guess, really what i want is for it to have all come off by the time i left the hospital!)
    i’m trying to remember that the important thing is to eat well, exercise, and focus on being healthy.
    Amanda K. recently posted..Just wait until your father gets home…My Profile

  4. I struggle with perfection. I want to do things “right” all the time and I am disappointed in myself if I can’t get something done or I can’t get it done exactly the way I wanted. Your post was perfectly timed, I needed to hear this.
    Joni recently posted..Rest Days, Yoga & IntrospectionMy Profile

  5. Sometimes I just have to consider anytime I get outside and run an accomplishment, rather than worrying about hitting my pace and mileage goals. I have had to adjust a lot lately due to low iron levels and I took a break right when I should have been peaking for my training. Now I think just finishing the marathon and not worrying about a time goal will be an accomplishment enough.
    Amy recently posted..Health & Fitness Business Trade Show, part IIMy Profile

  6. I love it Laura – I think I am going to make “Progress, not Perfection” my new mantra (at least for the next few months). Recently, I was taking a women’s career development course, and one of the modules is on gender differences in how men and women attribute Success and Failure. Very thought provoking. Research shows, Women then to attribute success outward (to others) and attribute failure inward (to themselves). Something to think about!

  7. Fab work 🙂

    I have spent the last week feeling unwell! Rather than succumb, I just changed my training from running and high intensity workouts to 25 minute classes on the power plate which were manageable…with a lot of sleep, good food and taking care of myself I am on the road to recovery…and have still made great progress with all my goals in September!

    My post with September updates is published tomorrow 🙂 x
    Elle recently posted..Year of the 10km: Whole Foods Women’s Only RunMy Profile

  8. This really holds true for me too. I have be trying to really focus in on developing my website. I beat myself up if I feel that I don’t post enough or not being satisfied with the way it looks, or so on. That is not the only area in my life that is progress not perfection but it’s one that I seemed to be obsessed by.
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted..A Good Run…My Profile

  9. I’m so glad you are enjoying your time with the little one and not being so hard on yourself! I think this marathon is going to be incredibly special for you for this reason and so many more (including how well you will do)! Keep up the progress, friend!
    Kelly recently posted..The Pain in my AssMy Profile

  10. I love this post. We all need to take this page for ourselves. It’s hard, especially when you’re juggling multiple balls, not to mention dealing with emotional baggage. But you’re doing an impressive job and your progress will pay you back in spades.
    misszippy recently posted..Utah makes the gradeMy Profile

  11. This post was the exact thing I needed to read this morning! I spent the weekend beating myself up because I didn’t get to spend any time with my boys because of all the work I had to do. Now I think I will look back and see how much I accomplished over the weekend and be happy that the boys spent some great time with each other.
    Thank you for these words – I think I need to stamp them across my face (or maybe my phone so I will see it many times!!).
    Kim recently posted..Monday Morning MusingsMy Profile

  12. Aww, I love this post! I definitely am a perfectionist, but I realize that I am just working toward a bigger goal: to make myself the best that I can be. I know that I won’t cross off every workout, eat the healthiest all the time, etc. and that’s alright!

    I’m glad you are realizing that progress is the most important thing!
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman recently posted..My Life Through InstagramMy Profile

  13. Progress always…not perfection. I give everything I do my very best. I’m progressing to bring out the very best in me…not a perfected version of me. Who’s to say what is perfect?

    Often times, my progress is slow. But you know what? I’m learning to appreciate and savour the slowness of it all. By progressing too quickly, I feel as though that perhaps I would have missed out on the most important lessons of all in my journey through life.

    Great post xo
    Kierston @candyfit recently posted..For The Love Of….My Profile

  14. I love this because of the goals you mention, especially trying to find meditative time and appreciate your daughter being three. I struggle with the same thing…trying to balance personal and career goals with the patience to sit and remember that these are amazing years for our kids that will be gone too quickly.

  15. Progress not Perfection…. it is the theme and mantra of my online Weight Watchers group of friends. We keep telling each other that, because it moves us forward but reminds us to be patient!

  16. I definitely love the concept of progress not perfection. I have to remind myself of it a lot- I do struggle with emotions after not meeting expectations I set for myself but it is something that I am actively working on.

    I think the biggest area for me with this is definitely running- especially when training for a goal race. I have tried to work on staying more positive and encouraging to myself when things don’t go the way I envisioned them
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..Wineglass Week 10:Taper Week 1My Profile

  17. Progress NOT perfection! Words to live by. As a major perfectionist this isn’t always the easiest for me but In the last year (and especially last few months) I feel like this lesson is becoming so much clearer to me. Instead of focusing on what I am not I am focusing on what I can be and that doesn’t have to mean perfect!
    Davida @ The Healthy Maven recently posted..{MIMM} Weekend Recap 09/27-09/29My Profile

  18. Laura, I love love love this. I feel sooo many of these things and I struggle too. I love this mantra though, I am going to keep it in my back pocket. What a great one!!! You are doing amazing. I know this is not easy. i am sending you a virtual hug and can’t wait to make it a real one. be home columbus day!
    Stephanie recently posted..Eighteen Miles is No Joke!My Profile

  19. I totally do this! Lately it’s been focused on my running.

    For instance, I beat up on myself for being slower than I’d like. But I forget that this is me training for my first marathon … and even if it was slow … I still ran 22 freaking miles Saturday!

    I always want to do more, more, more. But I try to make myself realize that I don’t HAVE to be superwomen. I just need to slow down a bit, and think about what I have accomplished.
    Alex @ Alex Tries it Out recently posted..Trying Something New: Crossfit + a weekly marathon check-inMy Profile

  20. I love this post. It is such a great reminder of not worrying about accomplishing everything all at once. I love “progress not perfection,” and learning to be okay with that. I struggle with that all the time, beating myself up if I don’t get everything done on my to-do list or missing a workout. I’ve been trying to let things go more, enjoy life and truly live in the moment and cherish my time with Keenan. He is only little once, and work can always wait!
    Melissa @ Fit ‘n’ Well Mommy recently posted..Baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar DoughnutsMy Profile

  21. it’s a theme in my life as well, we are always telling our clients that it’s “progress, not perfection.” Enjoy the journey and not to stress too much.
    and we try to give ourselves a few minutes at night too, at first we never did it because we thought we never had time. but then we just said take 3-5 minutes and just relax. and now we do our best to do it nightly, now it does not always happen. but we try 🙂 it’s progress!!
    purelytwins recently posted..Butt blaster workout #purelyfitlife #30My Profile

  22. Such a great post, Laura. I try very hard to remember this, but it’s really easy to get caught up in trying to do EVERYTHING – but it’s also rarely possible to get it all done the way you want – and something is always better than nothing. Thanks for the reminder.
    Michelle recently posted..Moving On After Another Unsuccessful 5KMy Profile

  23. Great post Laura! This going to be one of my new mantras-“Progress not perfection”. Love it.

  24. I love this post! I have very high expectations for myself, and it is easy to get frustrated when things don’t go the way I’ve planned. “Progress not perfection” really puts things in perspective. (Now that I think about it, it’s pretty darn appropriate for most of my parenting challenges these days, too.)
    Sarah recently posted..What I’m Into, September 2013My Profile

  25. I love this post Laura. It’s such a healthy perspective and also one that I’m trying really really hard to work on. There’s no way that I can accomplish everything that I want to do right now but it’s focusing on what I can do, and trying to do those thing well, is what I can set my sights on.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Things that I AcceptMy Profile

  26. I have been working on taking the negative self talk out of my day. It is not helpful and will not get you anywhere. I am working on the balance of it all, mommy, blogger, working out, online clients, 1:1 clients, and cooking and cleaning, and I know that I do my best every day. The most important role for me is mommy, because as you said they are only this age for so long. I want to look back and know I gave her my best.
    I’m like you and try to be a perfectionist, and I have been working on letting that go and doing the best I can with where I am. I am giving myself room to relax and skip a workout or have a glass if wine. It’s about the balance and about progress and not perfection like you said. I wrote about that last week and it is a great feeling when you realize it.
    One way I have had progress over perfection is with my measurements and losing inches even though my weight is the same. I have also stopped weighing myself daily and now do it weekly only.
    Angelena Riggs recently posted..Progress Not Perfection + Week 7 In ReviewMy Profile

  27. The ‘progress not perfection’ mantra is a really helpful one for me right now, thanks! As far as not checking email/doing tasks on the phone while with your 3 y.o., I think that must be very challenging. There were no cell phones when my children were preschoolers, my biggest distraction challenges were books/newspaper and later the computer, and that was hard enough for me to not get too sucked into those. None of it is helpful when the kids need focused attention.
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..My first lutz in competitionMy Profile

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