progress versus perfection

Progress versus Perfection in the New Year & Beyond – a Revolution

January 24, 2018

Do you struggle with making progress because you're always worried about perfection? You're not alone, this is a common struggle!

“I've only lost 40 pounds!”

“Why have I stopped losing weight? It's only been 8 months and I still need to lose more!”

“But my doctor says I'm not at my goal yet!”

Progress versus Perfection in the New Year

Even though the day of New Year's has passed, many of us are looking back at the goals we set last year and those we want to achieve for the new year. Many people call them “resolutions.” These New Year's Resolutions often come in the form of a goal that we set to start on January 1st and go at full force from day one.

After a few days, weeks, or even months later, our resolve starts to fade, or we make a mistake, and we get frustrated. We may not feel that we are getting as far as we wanted, losing weight as fast as we hoped, or going to exercise as often as we hoped. So what do we do? We stop. We give up.

Resolutions are kind of backward to how goals are meant to be achieved. They are focused on getting everything right from the beginning and not allowing for anything to get in the way. But guess what? I don't know about you, but in my world, life happens! Perfection doesn't exist for those of us living in the real world of daily obligations and speed bumps.

Kids get sick, plans get canceled, work meetings come up, etc. We aren't always going to be able to follow our resolutions that we set out at the beginning of the year just like we wanted. Why? Because we start at the goal instead of working toward it.

Let that sink in: resolutions start us at the goal instead of working toward it. They take our focus off the progress we make and put all of the glory on the perfection we are seeking.

Recognizing Progress

Think about it this way: imagine watching a race. Everyone is lined up at the starting line, ready to take off, poised and pumped, focused on the finish line. The starting sound goes off and all of the racers take off!

At the end of the race, there is always a winner, right? But guess what?

Even the winner will often be beating themselves up because they feel they could have done better. Wait, what?!?!

Yes, true. They fail to focus on the progress they made if they ran faster than before. The other racers often are hard on themselves because they didn't meet the goal of winning the race.

They don't recognize the PROGRESS!

How many of us would love to be at the point that we could even participate in that race? Yet those that can are often still unhappy because they still feel that they haven't reached their goal.

My hope for this year is that we all step back and start focusing on our progress versus striving for some perceived perfection that we have in mind so that we don't miss the journey along the way. Start noticing the small victories (the mile markers along the race course, if you will), so we can celebrate throughout the year so we can focus on how far we have come instead of what we feel we have yet to achieve!

Take Note of 3 Ways To Measure Your WLS Success This Year

Here are some ideas of things to notice along the way as you progress along your weight loss journey throughout the next year:


Non-scale victories (NSV): Walking a certain distance without being out of breath, fitting in a restaurant booth, bending down to tie your shoes, etc. - notice things that you can do now that you haven't been able to do before and celebrate! Bring those things to others who understand your journey and let them celebrate with you – we get how important those things are!


Notice how far you HAVE come on your weight loss: Instead of focusing on how much weight you feel that you have left to lose, take a look at how much you have already lost – for example, if you have lost XX amount of weight in YY number of months, think back to how long it would have taken you to lose that many pounds prior to surgery. And thank yourself for doing such a wonderful thing to help you!


Check-in with your health: What changes in your health have happened since surgery? Have you been able to come off of or decrease medications? How do you generally FEEL on MOST days as compared to before surgery? Remember, you have to look at your overall health as compared to before surgery. We all have rough days, but in general, there should be more healthy-feeling days than not now.

Above all else, allow yourself to make mistakes, learn from them, and move forward. I know that just in preparing to write this article, I set goals for when I wanted to have it completed and wasn't able to meet them. Life got in the way. I had to step back, take a look at whether or not I was going to beat myself up for not making my goal, or take a long hard look at what I could learn from it.

And you know, I figured out that I could learn from it. In fact, I think I was supposed to learn from it. If everything had gone exactly as planned for me to get this in at the time I had wanted to, that wouldn't have allowed me to experience exactly what I'm writing about in this article. But since it did, I have had the opportunity to practice progress versus perfection.

I've gotten to celebrate the opportunity to live what I'm writing, learn from the experience and pass that on to you. And I can't imagine a more “in the moment” experience than that.

What are some things that you have accomplished along your journey over the past year (that are milestones toward goals) that we can celebrate with you right now? Comment below!


Amanda Dutton, MS, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Your Bariatric Coach in Georgia who loves helping WLS patients as well as binge eating and compulsive eating disorder clients because of her own experience with WLS 13 years ago. She's written a book "Healthy From the Inside Out" for weight loss surgery patients and admin of the Facebook group "The Emotional Side of Weight Loss Surgery Support Group" which has amassed 1600+ members in 9 months due to no negativity or food policing.