I always enjoy reading inspirational messages or pictures that people post on the million varieties of social media. I usually read them, think “oh that’s good, I should remember that,” then proceed to immediately forget it as soon as I get to the next picture of a puppy or other adorable creature.
As much as I would like to fill my life with positive mantras or motivations, I just can’t seem to remember them all. While a lot of the beneficial advice seems to go in one ear and out the other, there are two mantras that have stuck with me for a number of years.
Progress, not perfection
I am a HUGE perfectionist. When taking notes in school, if I miswrote something I would often scrap the entire piece of paper and start again. I was an overachiever. It was exhausting. No one ever told me that perfection is not attainable and I think that even if they had, I wouldn’t have heard them. It wasn’t until I got older that I understood.
I used to be so self conscious about learning something new that I would try and teach myself until I was comfortable doing it in front of someone else. I wanted to be “perfect” at whatever “it” was. Not understanding that it’s about learning and getting a little better each time actually hampered my ability to become better because I wasn’t asking for help and learning from someone who knew what they were doing.
This is one of my mantras because it’s something I continuously struggle with. That’s how I am able to remember it. I have to tell myself over and over again that no amount of miles, push ups, or squats will ever make me perfect. It’s about doing the best I can today and being ok with whatever that best is. It’s understanding that there will be good and bad days and as long as I am doing my best, that’s all that matters.
Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy
This is another mantra that I use in all areas of my life. Comparison is such a detrimental game. I will compare looks, abilities, careers, etc. until I am blue in the face. Where does that get me? Either feeling lesser or better than someone else. Both of those scenarios mean that I am not satisfied with who I am as a person.
There will always be someone who is better than me at pretty much everything I do. I have compared myself to other fitness coaches who have been in this field much longer than I have. I have compared my blog to those of people who have made it their career. I used to never run with anyone else because I was sure that they could run faster than me.
In all of these cases I stop finding joy in the everyday. I stop appreciating myself and my abilities. I stop cutting myself slack for doing the best that I can. In a lot of ways this second mantra is related to my first except that now I am no longer only comparing against myself.
If I want to do my best and be happy, I need to remember these two mantras. I need to experience each moment and be grateful for what I have by allowing myself to not be perfect and to not compare myself to others.
What are some of your mantras?