Aim For Progress, Not Perfection! Start Your Journey Today!

Does someone or something constantly seem to get in the way of your personal goals because you are waiting for the right time? How often have you said to yourself, “I don’t have time,” or “I will get to it when things calm down?” Do you push off personal to-do lists to the next day, which turns into the following week or month? You are not alone!


We have all been there. Many of us look for the “perfect” time to begin the work of achieving our goals, but I have news for you: there is no such thing! There will never be a “right” time because life happens. There will always be disruptions. For example, people will ask you to do something for them just when you planned to do your grocery shopping; you will receive phone calls when you intend to go for a bike ride; or you stay up too late to watch another episode of your favorite show, and then you can’t wake up early for your yoga session.


You will always be pulled in different directions, and there will always be others to blame. Since you can’t control the external factors, you have to take charge and decide to be the boss of your own life. You have to make yourself a priority—no matter what—and create the time for yourself.


I have been helping my Mom with her short-term goals: health, second career, and hobbies. It has taken her a while to understand that she was the only person getting in the way of achieving her goals. She continued to use “lack of time” as an excuse. My Mom was eager and had good intentions to gradually incorporate new habits into her daily routine.  But she continued to say, “Tal, there are just too many other things going on at this time, and I have to wait until life settles down.”


During a recent phone conversation she blamed lack of time again, and I said, “Mom, will there ever be a good time?” She paused and finally had her “aha” moment. My Mom realized she was the only person getting in her way. She now understands there will never be the “perfect” time and knows she doesn’t have to be “perfect” at achieving her goals.


The key for my Mom and for all of you who want to make a health and wellness transformation is a commitment to make small incremental changes. Be kind to yourself along the journey, and know that you aren’t going from 0-100 overnight. Yes, there will be days that may not go exactly as planned, but as long as you try, you are one step ahead!


Below are some tips to help avoid the excuses, release the perfectionist mindset, and finally take that first step towards achieving your goals!


Love yourself as you are – First and foremost, acknowledge all of your positive attributes. Be grateful for the beautiful person that you are and appreciate the wonderful things in your life. Then ask yourself, how do I want to nourish my life and my body even more? What are my goals that I’ve been holding back on because I was waiting for the “right” moment? Give yourself the gift of taking that first step towards creating a life that you love!  


Prioritize - Many of us have several areas of our lives we’d like to tackle to improve our emotional and physical health. This can be a daunting task. The key is to narrow the list and prioritize. Choose what you’d like to work on first. For example, maybe it is most important for you to eat healthier, or you may want to reduce your stress. List your priorities and talk to someone—perhaps a coach—who can help you to focus on what is most important for you. I’m always here to help you!


Set small, realistic goals - Once you narrow the list to the top 1-2 items you’d like to focus on first, you can create achievable goals aimed at improving those aspects of your life. When you set smaller, achievable goals, you will be more motivated to move forward. For example, if physical fitness is your priority, choose to exercise two days a week for 20 minutes per day rather than every day for an hour per day.


Analyze your schedule and be specific - Select a day that is best for you to begin working on your goals, and schedule a time that is most convenient for you. Use your calendar to decide on the day and time that you will complete your goal.


Create a plan of action - List the steps necessary to achieve this goal. For example, if you are prepping your lunch for the next day, make sure you have the proper ingredients and Tupperware. If you are going to the gym, pack your bag the night before. Set an alarm that reminds you “this is my time now.


Hold yourself accountable - Tell someone—such as a family member, a friend, or a coach—about the goal you’ve set. Create a support system to cheer you on along your journey.


Be okay with saying no - I know it is easier said than done, but when you say no to someone else, you are saying yes to you. When you take care of yourself first, you will be better equipped to help others.


Be positive - Start each morning with a positive mindset, and set an intention to do your own personal best.


Stop judging yourself - Be kind to yourself and release the inner critic. Your goal isn’t perfection. Focus on the small, positive changes you make each day.


Lastly, acknowledge all of your successes! No accomplishment is too small. The creation of new habits takes time, and the path isn’t linear. The goal is progress, not perfection!

Talya Kosstrin