How Mantras Work For Me

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.

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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.

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What are some of your mantras?

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About Erin Bahadur

Erin is the founder of the blog Erin’s Inside Job and she uses it as a way of sharing her story and helping others learn about health, fitness, overcoming obstacles and having a powerful voice in the community. A recovering addict, Erin is also an accomplished athlete, has run multiple races and ran her first half marathon in September. From recipes to workouts, reviews and tips for healthy living, readers find inspiration and interesting stories every week. She recently moved to Chicago in November and is currently pursuing her personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and interning to coach at a local studio. She is enjoying the short time that she has been in the city and hopes to create long lasting connections with the great members of the health and fitness community in Chicago!