Friday, July 18, 2008

6 Pack Quest Secret: Progress, Not Perfection

When undertaking anything as hard as your 6 pack quest, progress, not perfection, must be your goal.

How often has this happened to you: You start a new fitness program with high hopes & lots of enthusiasm. You do everything perfectly at first. Then one day you miss a workout, or gorge on your favorite junk food. Then you give up because you're not perfect anymore.

It's a natural response that many of us have. And giving in to it guarantees that you'll never get anywhere. Most workout guides are full of tables and schedules and plans for what exercises you will do, how much cardio, what you'll eat. Some go further to touch on topics like how much you sleep and how much stress you have in your life. All of this is important. Paying attention to all of it is crucial if you're going to build your muscle and cut your body fat enough to succeed in your quest for 6 pack abs.

But none of the advice in these guides is set in stone. They aren't books of laws that are enforced by the police. They're not commandments from on high that must be obeyed or else. They're workout guides. That's all. Missing a workout or not getting enough sleep one night isn't a sin or a crime. It's the way things work in the real world.

Although we've never met, I know a lot about you. You have responsibilities. You have stress in your life. You get sick. You hurt yourself. Sometimes you even forget things. You're a fallible human being living in a complicated and messy world.

Of course you would get better, faster results in your 6 pack quest if you followed the advice in a good workout guide perfectly. But its not going to happen. Even the top professional fitness models and body builders occasionally mess up. They miss workouts and eat junk food sometimes too. They don't get enough sleep or get stressed by a family crisis. Perfection and people don't go together. In the real world, you can't be perfect at anything hard for long.

Striving for perfection is great. Demanding perfection of yourself is unreasonable. The real secret to success in building a six pack (or anything else worth doing) is accepting that perfection is impossible and not giving up when you mess up.

So if perfection is impossible, what should you strive for? I say progress. While you can't follow the guidelines of any workout program perfectly, you can always strive to make progress toward your goal. You can always aim to be better at making your workouts than before. You can always aim to eat better than before. You can always focus on making progress toward your 6 pack, rather than focusing on 100% compliance with your fitness guide.

Some of the more practical experts even incorporate this idea into their programs. Instead of demanding that you follow their advice exactly, they design their plans assuming that you will sometimes go off plan. With a plan like this, you can still succeed even if you aren't perfect.

Finding and following a plan that will work in the real world, instead of demanding perfection, is a real secret to success in Your 6 Pack Quest.

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