How to choose progress over perfection (and maybe escape from a bear)

You’re about to learn two amazing things:

1) How to not get eaten by a bear on a group hike and;

2) What on earth that has to do with eating better, getting leaner, being amazing at push-ups…or whatever it is you want to do when it comes to health and fitness.

Pretty cool, right?

I think it’s pretty cool.

Picture this scenario:

You’re hiking through the woods with a few mates. You’re enjoying the sounds of nature, the gentle tickle of the sun’s rays as they playfully dance through the trees, and you’re all having a good laugh at the guy who bought £1500 worth of walking gear and a super fancy camera for what is basically a 6 hour stroll.

Then, you hear rustling nearby.

It’s a bear! (Yep, you’re somewhere with bears.)

A huge, great, hungry looking bear.

Obviously, unless you’re some sort of bear-wrestling superhero, you’re going to run. Fast. Well, as fast as you can.

And guess what? Your odds of survival are pretty high.

Because you don’t have to be the fastest person in the group to escape from the clutches of the crazy hangry bear.

You just need to be a little bit faster than the slowest person.

(And yes, we all hope the slowest person is the guy who has been showing you all the functions of his super fancy camera for the last two hours.)

Cool story. But what does that have to do with wanting abs for days?

Well, when you’re working on any element of your health and fitness, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be perfect. Ever.

You just need to be a little better, consistently.

Here are two ways you can start:

  1. Take 5-10 minutes and list ALL the ways you’re already winning at health and fitness – or just life in general.

Take a moment and imagine what absolute rock bottom looks like for your health and/or fitness. Seriously, think worst-case scenarios here.

How much better are you than whatever that scenario is?

I mean, if rock bottom for you is sitting in the exact same position on your sofa 24/7 watching The Office on repeat while being fed pizza and drinking lager through a straw, how much better are you doing than that?

I mean, even if it’s only 6 days out of 7…things could be worse.

Give yourself a little credit for whatever you’re doing – no matter how small you think it is – that lifts you above your version of rock bottom.

See, it’s not so bad!

  1. Now, take another 5-10 minutes and brainstorm as many activities as you can think of that could make you just a little better.

Write down everything that comes into your head – whether it’s an extra 10 minutes of walking every day, a glass of water with each meal or signing up to your gym’s next live online workout class.

Pick one. Whichever sounds easiest, or calls to you the most. Bonus points if it’s something you can do immediately.

Then? Make sure you do it.

After you’ve finished, give yourself an epic high-five and pick something else – OR keep doing more of the thing you’ve just done.

Over time, you’ll have added some pretty useful behaviors to your life.

Maybe enough to beat your mates in a race from a bear.


Dorian Bass-White is a fitness instructor at The Sangha House in Taunton.  Come and try out his kettle bells session every Tuesday at 5.30pm and his exercise session every Wednesday at 11am.