Many of us wait for the “perfect time” with our health, nutrition, and fitness. But this all-or-nothing thinking—as in, “If I don’t do this perfectly then it’s awful!”—rarely gets us “all.” It usually gets us “nothing.”
Are you waiting for the “perfect time” to start eating better, or exercising, or finally getting the results you want?
Are you putting off that dream trip, or a new project, or that skill you’ve been meaning to learn?
If so, some of these phrases may sound familiar:
When I get a different job.
When things are less busy.
When I find a workout partner.
When I find the right equipment.
When I feel less awkward in the gym.
When I lose 20 lbs.
When I get the right workout routine.
When my fridge is full of the right foods.
Tomorrow. Next week. Never.
Human beings are always “waiting for the perfect time.” But why?
For many, it’s a great distraction and justification. It helps us avoid the real—and risky—work of doing.
For others, perfectionism and avoidance serve as strong armour against potential embarrassment, criticism, and failure.
“I could but ” keeps us safe from pain.
Unfortunately, it’s also what keeps us from growing, thriving, and being who we know we have the potential to be.
That’s why all-or-nothing thinking—If I don’t do this perfectly then it’s worthless—rarely gets us “all.”
It usually gets us “nothing.”
The truth is that there is no perfect time. There never will be.
Nobody is going to give you any moments. You have to take moments.
Hunt them. Chase them. Make them happen.
Scratch and gouge moments out of other times. Chip off tiny flakes of moments from the monolith of your day. Use your teeth if you must—bite off mouthfuls of those moments.
You are holding the chisel and the pickaxe. You are the miner of your moments.
That perfect moment is now.
Here. Today. The living, breathing sliver of time that you have in this precise second. Because that is all you ever have: right now.
Just start. At the beginning.
Here is another secret. You don’t have to actually work to get to the next moment.
All you have to do is start.
And then, moments will keep moving, as moments do.
One moment will stack on top of another and before you know it, you’ll have arrived at your destination….
Walking to the fridge and picking out a shiny fresh apple and eating it.
Or making a shopping list and putting it next to your car keys for tomorrow.
Or reading a menu from the restaurant you’re about to visit, and picking out the salad option in advance.
Starting means initiating action. Starting means committing to a choice of some kind or another. This is how you know it is a true start.
What to do next:
Some tips from us…
If you’re still “waiting for the perfect time”, try these tips to help you stop feeling stuck and start taking action.
1. Revise your expectations.
Recognise that there is no perfect time and there never will be. There is only now.
2. Carve out time, even if it’s imperfect.
Nobody will give that time to you. You’ll need to take it. Give yourself permission to make yourself—and your fitness and health goals—a priority.
Find the time you need in your schedule. Don’t have time for an hour-long workout? No problem. How much time do you have? 20 minutes? 10 minutes? Work with what you’ve got.
Don’t expect things to go perfectly smoothly. Instead, anticipate and strategise. Ask yourself:
What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?
What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?
Instead of waiting for things to ‘slow down,’ start making something happen right now, in the middle of the mess.
3. Just start.
If you feel stuck, just do something. Anything.
Find the smallest possible thing you can do right now, in the next 5 minutes, and do it. Now you’ve started!
Instead of coming up with the biggest, grandest scheme, think about what you could do in just 5 minutes to help move — even just a tiny bit — in the direction of your goals. Then, go do it.
Remember: action is a “vote” in favour of a different, healthier, fitter life. Vote early, vote often.
4. Expect resistance.
It’s normal. Push through it. Resistance doesn’t mean this won’t work. It just means you’ve started.
You only have to get through this moment. This moment of starting will be the hardest. Luckily, it won’t last long.
5. Get support.
Let go of the concept of the lone hero. Instead, start building your support systems.
Whether it’s a friend or family member, workout buddy, or a coach, find someone to fire up your booster rockets until you can fly on your own.