Consistency, not perfection (aka: mastering the art of showing up)
As many of you know, I moved this week. Not very far – just to a different unit in the same building – but nevertheless it was a bit of a process, and it definitely disrupted my normal routine. As someone who thrives on routine and structure, this kind of upheaval can really throw me for a loop.
In one of my coaching certification courses I remember learning that the things I tend to talk to my clients about the most are also likely the things I need to hear, and this week that proved to be quite true! In conversations with clients, I often circle back to the idea of consistency vs. perfection, “good enough is good enough,” always something vs. all-or-nothing etc., and I had to remind myself of these things again and again this week.
If I couldn’t get out for a walk, well, then unpacking boxes and cleaning would be my movement for the day! If I missed my usual yoga class then I could do a few minutes of stretching before getting into bed. When most of my kitchen stuff was still in boxes and I couldn’t really do any food prep, meals were whatever was easy and accessible (aka smoothies and takeout).
One analogy I really like is to think of the different aspects of your life as burners on a stove; you can’t have all of them going full blast all the time or something is going to go up in flames. If you turn one burner up, another one goes down. In my life this week I turned up one burner to get the move completed and all the other burners (exercise/nutrition, social life, work) got turned down to compensate.
I tried to keep in mind that this is a temporary situation, that I will get settled into my new place, find my new normal, and get back to my usual routines. By letting good enough be good enough and moving on, I’m much more likely to get right back on track than if I beat myself up or let myself think I was ‘failing’ because I couldn’t do all the things all the time.
I recently revisited a podcast interview with my favorite Precision Nutrition coach Krista Scott Dixon where she was asked to finish the sentence: “It all comes down to...” and her answer was something like “your willingness to show up.” In the long run, it’s much less important to focus on what you are doing on that one day (or one week or month) and much more important to focus on mastering the art of showing up.
If you do 3 workouts a week for 52 weeks of the year, even if many of those workouts are not your best effort or not what you had planned, it’s significantly more impactful than doing 1 or 2 workouts here and there that are your max effort. If you eat one vegetable at most meals, you’re better off than if you ate a whole bunch of vegetables at just a few meals a week. Being consistent means creating habits, and habits allow you to keep the thread going no matter what life throws at you.
There are always going to be things that get in the way of workouts or being able to eat well or getting enough social time or rest or whatever else is important in your life – work will get crazy, you’ll travel, or move, or there will be a pandemic, you'll get a flat tire, or you’ll simply need a break. And if you can just keep showing up in some capacity throughout it all, even the tiniest way, you’ll get back to where you want to be every time. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
How do you 'show up' when life gets crazy? What's the tiny thing that keeps you on track? Leave a comment and let me know!
And if you're looking for guidance to create more consistency in your self-care habits, set up your free consultation here.