Progress Over Perfection

joyful living living well progress seek joy thankful thursday Mar 18, 2022
Accept your happiness and joy isn't diminished by making mistakes.

We're pretty excited about today's topic because it's seeking progress over perfection. It's a journey right!  And it’s a really rather fabulous feeling to let go of perfection you know!

Sometimes we’re overwhelmed with the effort of perfectionism. Organising your life to be perfect can be one way of attempting to get validation, love and approval.  Sometimes it’s a way to try to have a semblance of control in your life. You say to yourself if I never make a mistake then nothing can go wrong. Right? No, wrong!

Other times you completely dismiss perfection. Rejecting perfection because you believe you wouldn't get there anyway and so you might as well do half hearted job! You know that’s a fear of failure!

So we’re not saying don’t have high standards. There's a difference between having high standards and being a perfectionist. So you learn along the way a perfectionist will only ever see what's not right. What a waste of effort and energy.

That's where noticing and celebrating progress is really important. Take the present moment and notice how you are working towards a goal. So you might not be there yet, but you will have made steps towards it. Along the way you will have ticked off things. And once you hit your goal, you go “Oh nice, now I’m going to get a new goal!”.  Yippee!

It's that, “How do you eat an elephant?” story. The truth this is illustrating is to eat it, one bite at a time.  So let's just take the next step towards your goal. If you just pull back and match your tasks to what you can achieve today, you will have success. Truely, the key is just start!

So our Yoga to Transform sleep course prompts you to reconnect with the biological systems of our body.  Sleep is a requirement for your body to function. We live busy full lives. We get a lot of external pressure to do other stuff, staying up late with bright lights, connecting with others on  social media and so on.

One of the key things for sleeping well is a routine and to just start it! If you are really dedicated to changing how you sleep, just start.  Go for it! Set a timer for nine o'clock and turn off your phone, or your laptop, the tv or whatever. Be in bed within the hour. Start your routine. Make progress. Forget perfectionism.

You just have to keep going and that can mean keep starting again and again. I’ve forgotten how many times, when I've been moving towards the goal, that I’ve got stuck or simply stopped. The key is, if you fall down seven times just make sure you stand up eight! Just keep going. Just start and then restart and restart. It doesn't matter because you’re looking at your progress. I’m sure we have all set a plan to do something like walk everyday. I know I might have started seven times and I’m still not going for that walk in the afternoon like I promised. Hey but I did do it on Sunday. Progress over perfection. I did it on Sunday, woohoo! Celebrate!

Just making a decision or setting a goal is what you have to do to progress. That's changing quite a lot of your thinking and your psyche already.

If you're going to start a walking practice the first thing you should do is put your shoes by the door and put your clothes out. Even if that's the only thing you do that day you've made progress. Maybe the next day you put those clothes on and your shoes on and you go to your front door. We're not talking about doing a marathon or even going around the block to start with we're just talking about taking those first steps. A kiwI a marathon runner decided that she wanted to do a marathon. She started with the shoes on and walk to the gate on the first day.

Move from a fixed mindset into the growth mindset. The first thing you need to do is just break through that that fixed mindset barrier. You are not your past and you haven’t had your future. Be aware of the moment just now and work on that situation. Make progress where it's not even about the destination but the minute steps you take towards your goal. Reading this blog to the end is a great start.

You know all sorts of people can inspire us to make progress. One of my first yoga teachers used to say a little bit the right way. I use that myself in my life often! It’s easy to be daunted by a yoga pose! You might not be able to do a forward fold but you can stand up a little bit the right way. Start the right way, take a breath standing up and work towards the floor a little at a time. Take micro steps, that’s progress.

We recommend in our Yoga to Transform Back Pain course a hamstring stretch lying on the floor. Some people have said, “I can't lie on the floor because then I'd never get up.” So here's the modification, you can lie on your bed and get off your bed! Making progress! Twice a day, do the the hamstring stretch and then see what happens. That’s progress over perfection. So often we  get caught up in the barriers and not even starting. But take the first step right! And that’s it! That’s the journey of a thousand miles, it begins with a single step.

I had this moment when I first started teaching yoga I thought I had to be perfect. I thought I couldn't make any mistakes, saying the wrong side and the wrong instruction. Then I joined an online yoga studio with some of my favourite teachers who are yoga celebrities.  And you know what???  They were making mistakes! Oh it was a breakthrough moment! Wow It gave me the permission to not be perfect. Because guess what? She missed a repeat or whatever and she's famous and I travel the world to go to her classes. Thank you! So that means it's okay, it gave me permission to not be perfect.

Get really focussed and notice the progress that you're making on a daily basis.

Accept your happiness and joy isn't diminished by making mistakes.

In a yoga practice it seems you do a lot of work. And at first you won't even notice that anything has shifted and then one day you'll wake up and you'll you'll be like oh goodness  that was super easy or I could really flow through that move. So that's probably why yoga has been really helping cure that tendency to be perfect. Yoga helps you  learn how to embrace making mistakes and just settle in for the progress.

Sometimes you make progress in a physical way. Being comfortable in downward facing dog or even child's pose. A dedicated practice of turning up daily to do it over and over again. Turning up  for yourself every time I am progressing in the direction of my dreams. God wants you to have a great time and seek joy exactly as you are right now. 

Take a look at our book discussion - Michael A. Singer “The Untethered Soul”, watch that Thankful Thursday. He says the sun shines on you regardless.  That ray of sunlight is just the same as every other ray of sunlight and just as powerful for you. You might be walking around thinking I'm not perfect and I'm not good enough and guess what? The sun's going to shine on you.  There's no withholding; you feel that bright warm sunlight. Make progress leave perfection behind.

Just start, make some progress and whatever you do: celebrate! Celebrate that you did something. You made some progress so celebrate!

Share a time where you have made some progress in your life, or where your your need for perfection has held you back from even taking the first step. Leave a comment or send an email [email protected]

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