On today’s show, we chat about how the pursuit of perfection can actually negatively manifest in different areas of your life. We then cover 5 steps for becoming more progress-driven!


We’re back with our 85th episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

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Episode 85 Links

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Episode 85 Transcription

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Cassy Joy: Welcome back to the Fed and Fit podcast! I hope this finds you well, and in the middle of a wonderful easy, breezy, holiday season. Today, I’m excited to talk about; this is a topic that has been swirling around. It’s really been this center point of a lot of my work. A lot of my work here on the podcast, within my Fed and Fit Project, which is my online food and fitness program. It’s a center theme of my book; the Fed and Fit book; and if you follow me on social media, you’ll probably see that this has kind of been a central theme across all of my social media platforms, and the thoughts and ideas that I share there.

So we’re finally drilling down; I never claimed to be a quick learner, but I feel like we finally nailed what this topic is, and we’re going to succinctly put it today, and I’m going to take a stab at describing how it might apply in your life in various ways, and then also how to make some great positive changes, or strides, I should say.

So today, the theme is we’re going to talk about progress versus perfection. Now I bring this up as somebody who has struggled with this concept in the past. And it’s one of those things that I constantly am aware of because I don’t ever want to let go of this progress mindset. Because I really found a tremendous amount of freedom in my life, in my relationships, in my health, in my work, in all of the things that I do because I came more progress minded instead of perfection minded. So if this is something that you think you might maybe struggle with a little bit, I hope that you enjoy today’s episode, and I hope that you get some really great little nuggets out of it.

So how I’m going to break up today’s show is we’re going to talk about the different ways in which progress versus perfection may manifest in your life; so if you’re sitting there thinking, “I don’t know if this applies to me or not,” maybe we’ll just go ahead and brainstorm some ideas and you can see if anything resonates. And then to close out the show, we’re going to talk about how you could possibly make the switch from being perfection driven to progress driven. It’s a very distinct difference, and I’ve broken it up into 5 steps; 5 distinct steps. And of course, things are never really that simple. But you know what; we’re progress minded, we’re not perfection minded. And that is the theme of this show. It’s the only reason I’m able to do what I do; because I just focus on forward motion. I just focus on progress, and I do not worry about perfection.

Of course, those thoughts will come up in my mind; oh my gosh, I want to bring you guys the perfect podcast, and I want to write you the perfect recipe, and I want to have the perfect schedule, and I want to be the perfect wife, and I want to be the perfect daughter and friend and all of these things. But that is not reality! Reality is, there’s no such thing as perfect. And we all know that; right? We’re all sitting here, nodding our heads. Right? There’s no such thing as perfect. There’s no such thing as the perfect parent. There’s no such thing as that person who’s perfect with their nutrition plan. There’s no such thing as the perfect workout regimen. We’re all just out there doing our best.

However; for some reason, there’s this little shoulder angel that tends to hang out with so many of us that tells us; well, if you can’t do it right don’t do it at all. Why are you doing it at all? It’s going to be; who knows if you’re feeling… you feel like you might be embarrassed if you don’t put out the perfect, whatever it is. The perfect work product, or have the perfect home, the perfect cleanliness; whatever it is, there’s that little person that hangs out on our shoulder that tells us that if it’s not perfect, then it’s not worthy of being considered good. And really what I want ultimately the shift is I want us to take a deep breath, and I want us to know you’re doing great! Whatever it is you’re doing, there’s nothing wrong with it, you’re doing great, and if you find yourself lost in that swirl of wanting perfection, and clinging so desperately to this arbitrary idea you have in your head of what it takes to be the perfect XYZ, then I hope today gives you some freedom, and helps you relax a little bit around those specific topics.

Ok, so let’s talk about how perfection can manifest in different parts of our lives. So I’ve got a little list here, and a lot of these are no-brainers, but some of them may not have come to mind when we first started talking about this today. So the first one is probably the most obvious one, considering I’m a nutrition consultant and I help walk people through healthy lifestyle design. So, the first part of our life that I want to touch on is nutrition. How does perfection manifest in nutrition, and how does perfection keep us from actually making good, healthy, positive changes. I think that when we become obsessed with perfection, when it comes to our dietary needs, whether we’re doing it because we want to drop 10 dress sizes, or we’re doing it because we just really want to get ready for that 10-year reunion with our college or our high school; whatever it is; or we’re getting ready for our daughter’s wedding. We set these huge expectations over ourselves, and then all of a sudden we look to the plate, and we think; ok this plate has to be perfect. Because I can control what winds up on this plate, and therefore I can control my future and being perfect in this pursuit.

So that is a trap. It’s a big ol’ trap, you guys, and I’m not shy about it. I’m not a fan of doing nutrition programs very, very restrictive ones, over, and over, and over again. Because what is that a symptom of? Doing these really restrictive programs constantly is a symptom that you are using that program to achieve some sort of short-term perfection, instead of using that program for long-term positive gains. So that was kind of a burr in my saddle for a very long time in this industry. I am a nutrition consultant; and I have helped people lose a bunch of weight. But they’ve kept it off. A lot of them; most of them have kept it off. I’ve kept it off; if you want to consider me, my first nutrition; I was my first client, so to speak, and it’s been now 8 years. And my weight hasn’t fluctuated more than about 5 pounds, and when this whole thing started; I did, I was a size 12-14, now I’m about a size 2-4. I had no idea that that was the natural size of my body, but I helped find it, and I don’t feel like I restrict myself. I’ve got maple syrup and heavy cream in my coffee right here next to me, and I definitely enjoy red wine; you guys have heard me talk about it a lot, but I enjoy wine with my family, and I enjoy making yummy, healthy, tasty treats, especially during these holiday seasons. So I’m definitely not perfect, by any means, when it comes to the foods that are on my plate. So that’s definitely an area where it can manifest.

And if you find yourself thinking; because we tend to, the reason why the pursuit of perfection is so dangerous is two-fold. And this again, of course, this concept will come up with regard to the other areas of our lives that I can talk about in a second. But, it’s really, really dangerous for two reasons. The first reason is probably the least significant when compared to the other one; but the first reason is if we’re perfection driven, we tend to give up entirely when things don’t go our way. Right? If we are pursuing, let’s say, a grain-free, paleo type lifestyle and then we go out with our girlfriends or our family; we feel like we’re having a weak moment. And you know what? “I’m just going to order the pizza. I’m going to have the pizza!” And your girlfriends and your friends are sitting there next to you, and they’re like; “Yeah, you get that pizza! Forget this diet thing, you look great!” You order the pizza, and you eat the pizza, and you’re feeling really big about it and you’re so excited.

And the next morning when you wake up, and you’re going to make your sautéed lemony kale next to maybe your eggs and you’re going to have some berries, and maybe a little half of a sweet potato, you feel a little less motivated to make that healthy breakfast. Because you kind of feel like you already messed up. You’re off the bandwagon; you’ve officially broken perfection. So why try? And that’s so dangerous, because one little meal off is not going to derail your progress as much as we think; by no means will it! If anything, it could be an incredible learning opportunity.

Think about it; let’s say you have that pizza, and you have that super fun night with your girlfriends. Oh my gosh, that’s so great! I want you to have those nights. And then the next day, use it as a learning opportunity. This is something that we talk about in the Fed and Fit Project a lot; but use it as a learning opportunity. The next day, wake up and journal how you’re feeling about that pizza. How’s your body responding? And use it as a data point to determine, down the line, what is your perfect plan going to look like? Is your perfect plan going to include the occasional slice of pizza? Do you tolerate it well? Well then write that down! Or, if it makes you feel really, really crummy, you have a terrible day, for whatever reason if you’re really tired, or maybe you feel really bloated. Take note of that. And don’t feel guilty for your symptoms; just use them as fuel to make decisions down the lines!

I’m not saying you’re never going to eat that pizza again because it made you feel crummy; but at least you’ll be more empowered to know what to expect afterwards. Because when we don’t feel like … we’re just victims of these arbitrary decisions that we’re making that are either on or off the bandwagon, when we feel like we’re tied, emotionally bound to those decisions and to the outcomes, it tends to become; we tend to take it more seriously than we really need to. So, write down some lessons learned, and move on. Keep that forward motion, keep that progress. Enjoy that yummy, delicious breakfast you’ve got planned the next d ay, and carry on.

Ok, so what’s another area where progress versus perfection can manifest in our lives? The next obvious topic is going to be fitness; right? This is a big one. And I don’t want to belittle these two because they are so obvious; they’re very significant. I’ve dedicated a significant part of my career to talking about these two topics. Ok so if we’re perfection driven when it comes to fitness, what does that look like? It means that come January; let’s say January, New Year’s resolution. In 2017, I’m going to sign up for barre classes, and I’m going to go to barre four times a week, and I’m going to show up, and I’m just going to crush it! I’m going to give it my all. Now that’s great; that’s a great plan. But if you’re perfection driven instead of progress driven, if you skip a workout or maybe you aren’t the best one in the class that day, or you really feel like you maybe slacked off. Your motivation will waver if you are perfection driven. Because just like the other, perfection is either on or off. You’re either in it or you’re not. And if you’re motivated by perfection, then you’ll officially fall out of that category into; “Well, I’m definitely less motivated now.”

Whereas if you’re progress driven, that workout becomes; let’s say you had to have a day off. Or let’s say you’re just tired; and you can’t go in and crush it the way you have been. That’s fine. That’s no problem. That doesn’t mean that your plans are derailed. It just means that real life happens, and some weeks we’re not going to show up four times a week. Maybe it will only be twice this week. Maybe we’ll go for a walk instead. If you’re progress driven; just because you didn’t make it to your barre class or your Crossfit class, or you didn’t do that super cool workout from the Fed and Fit book, that home workout; it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something active that day, right? And that is a decision that a progress driven person would make. That person would say; “Oh, well, I really do want to stay active today. I didn’t make it to my class, so you know what; I’m going to pop in a podcast, and I’m going to go for a walk!” You know, that’s great. And that’s the way to maintain forward motion.

Ok, another area. I’m going to quickly go through these next ones. Sleep is an area where we can be more progress minded instead of perfection minded. Just because we’re not getting 7, 8, 8.5, whatever your daily sleep number is as you decided through the Fed and Fit book or the Fed and Fit Project. Whatever that number is; just because you don’t hit it every night does not mean that you’re failing. Right? You are still probably sleeping more. You’re still probably getting better quality sleep if you’re following some of those tips; those best practice tips. And thing are great, so keep doing that.

Child rearing. I’m not a parent, yet; maybe one day if I’m lucky enough. But I’m friends with a lot of parents, and I sit down and I listen to a lot of these conversations where; my friends, at least, seem to have a lot of guilt surrounding raising their children. And at the end of the conversation, these really wonderful conversations with my friends, the conversations always end with all the parents, and everybody there, telling each other they’re doing a great job. You’re doing your best, and that is good! That is good work. Right? So that’s progress minded. Do your best every day, and don’t beat yourself up if it’s not perfect. Because your kids are going to be great; you’re doing your best.

Another area where progress versus perfection can manifest is in our faith, which is a very personal category and I’m not going to go too far into it. But if you have goals when it comes to things you want to abide by; whether it’s morally, whether it’s by some sort of guideline you’re following or; oh gosh, I’m trying to be as general as possible {laughs} because I think there are so many beautiful faiths in the world. But whatever it is; and this is probably an easier one for us to wrap our minds around, is that we don’t have to be perfect in the pursuit of good faith. Right? And trust. And whatever it is that we believe. We just have to kind of remind ourselves of it occasionally. And we may slip a little bit because we’re human, but just stay progress minded and make good efforts. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater is the entire concept {laughs} of this progress versus perfection, which is an analogy I use probably a little too often. But the idea is; just because you slip up in any of these categories doesn’t mean that you’ve lost it all.

Another category could be in our relationships; whether that is a relationship with our spouse, with our mother-in-law, with our friends, with our sisters, our sister-in-law, our nieces, our nephew, with our boss; with our puppy dogs {laughs} with our children. Whatever those relationships are, stay progress minded. Progress mindfulness in relationships puts you in a very hopeful disposition. Right? Because you know that this conversation, or this visit, or this phone call, or this dinner party does not define your relationship. It’s just another opportunity to make great things happen. And if great things maybe don’t happen right now, you know that’s not it. You know we’re on a journey of progress. We’re going to keep getting better and better.

I had one of my favorite mentor’s in college; his name is Dr. Joe Townsend. And I went to Texas A&M University, if anybody is brand new here, and is just now meeting me. And Dr. Joe was an incredible leader for so many wonderful reasons, and I had the distinct honor of working for him. I think I worked for him for maybe a year and a half; almost two years. It’s a little bit of a blur now, it’s been a while. But Dr. Joe; I remember folks asking him, “How are you doing, Dr. Joe?” He was this jolly wonderful man. Incredibly intelligent, incredibly motivating, he was always 5 minutes early to every single meeting. It didn’t matter if he was meeting with two students; and he had a big job on campus. But he was always 5 minutes early. I just loved him for so many reasons.

But when someone would pull him aside and say, “Hey Joe, how are things going?” He would always say, “Better and better.” “How’s your day today Dr. Joe?” “Oh, it’s better and better.” You know; how cool is that? What a cool perspective? Not, “Oh, well, you know, I just woke up with a crick in my neck and I didn’t get as much sleep last night as I should have; well, I had a week moment and I drove through Shipley’s and I got a donut and I’m on my fourth cup of coffee and I know I really shouldn’t be. I really need to be drinking more water.” Whatever it is. Whatever the complaints, they never came out of his mouth. He always said; “I’m getting better and better.” And it does not mean that Dr. Joe was perfect; by any means. But it means that he was focused on progress. And what we would consider a slip up, or a cheat with regard to our agenda of perfection; he’d just consider it a part of life. And by golly, he’s just going to keep getting better and better.

And I can’t lie that that perspective deeply shaped my outlook on life and business, because that then becomes the cornerstone of my Fed and Fit Project. Is, what is the idea of this? It’s not that you win or lose 28 days, or 3 months depending on which path you choose. It’s that you get better and better. And maybe you’ve done plan B, or path B, and you finish your 3 months, and you’re now working in the material of perfecting the perfect you plan; right? And that’s kind of a misnomer. I use the word very intentionally, but it’s so that you can keep staying mindful of getting better and better.

Ok, moving on. Another area where perfection can manifest and keep us from achieving happiness and balance and true forward motion is in our work. If you’re constantly afraid; there are so many people here, and you guys, if you’ve listened to some of those reverse interviews that I’ve done, it’s a concept that comes up a lot. I do a lot of coaching, of course it doesn’t wind up on the podcast, the grand majority doesn’t wind up here. But pretty much everybody I talk to is struggling with; let’s say it’s a business coaching call, they’re just so afraid they don’t have the perfect name, or the perfect website, or they don’t have the perfect vision, or they don’t know how to take really good perfect food photos, or they don’t know how to write a perfect blog post or do perfect social media. You just have to go. You have to stay progress minded. Go ugly early! Just go for it. Throw it all in. get out there, learn the big mistakes in front of people, and I promise it’s not as scary as you think. If I were worried about perfection in my business, I would never post. Because nothing I do is perfect. Nothing! I look back on my stuff, because I’m human, and I think, “Eww!” {laughs} I would to change that, I’d like to change that, and that, that, that, that.

I was chatting with Diane Sanfilippo the other day about this, and I was just kind of telling her that; this is what I mean. I do struggle with this concept. I don’t want you to think that I’m coming from this holier than thou perspective, that ‘I’ve got this mastered. This is a work in progress. I’m getting better and better at it. And I was telling her with regard to my project online, that I keep reminding myself that in order to get to the final draft; if there is such a thing, I don’t know that there is. But in order to get to the final draft, I have to remind myself that there’s going to be draft 1, draft 2, draft 3, draft 4, 5, 6, 7. And in order to get to draft 7, I have to draft 1, and I have to do draft 2 and 3. I have to make those mistakes. I have to be willing to edit, and I have to be willing to keep working on it; not let my pride get in the way of making things better and better. So just keep that in mind with your work. Just go for it, and know that there’s always an opportunity to edit.

Ok, and another area where progress versus perfection could come up is in your beauty routine; right? This has been a recent topic that I love to sink my teeth into. But safer beauty is really important to me. But you know, I didn’t always care. Because there was a time where I knew very little about the importance of safer beauty. The importance of reducing my toxic load. In a nutshell, you guys, we live in a very toxic world. And I don’t mean that to sound very hopeless. I mean there are opportunities and there are ways that we can reduce our toxic load. Part of that is through what we put on our plate, part of that is through what we put on our skin, and part of that is through other environmental factors, like the things we have in our home. And that’s a really cool opportunity to help reduce your toxic load. To help live healthier and happier life.

And so, when it came to beauty, there was a time in my life where I really thought; nope. No way. I don’t know a single thing about it, so I’m not even going to try. I’m not even going to try to clean up my products. I’m going to keep using these brands from HEB, {laughs} which is a local grocery store, and I’m not even going to worry about it. I’m going to buy the brands that I see on commercials because I don’t know the first thing, and I don’t know how to do it perfectly. And then, of course, time goes on and I have a more realistic conversation with myself about it. That there’s no such thing as perfect, so I’m going to go ahead and start doing some research, and I did, and years have gone by, and I have ping-ponged back and forth. I’ve gotten better and better; I’ve edited my routine as time goes on, and I’ve finally wound up with a list of products that I love that work so well for my skin. And I only got here because I was staying progress minded; I was staying progress driven, not perfection driven. So there is a way.

The last two that I’m going to briefly touch on the areas of our lives would be with our home. This is something that rings very true for me. My home is never perfectly clean. Never; oh my gosh. I’ve got a 103-pound Great Pyrenees who lives in our house {laughs} so he brings in his own lovely collection of decorations. And then there’s just me and my husband outside of that, but it’s never perfect. We do the same thing that you do; when we have guests coming over, we run around like chickens with our head cut off, and we try to push in chairs and sweep up the noticeable things and fluff the pillows {laughing}. We run our finger across the countertop and look to see if there’s any dust; and if there’s noticeable dust, oh gosh, gotta rub that off real quick. So my home is never perfect. But every day; and this is a tip that my mother taught me. It’s never going to be perfect, but I can be progress minded.

When I wake up, I’m going to make my bed. It’s a little bitty thing I can do early in the morning, and then it’s done. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t absolutely have to be made for me to have a good day; but it’s something I can chip off. I can chip away at. Or putting a load of laundry in, maybe one load a day. It doesn’t mean that I have to have a huge laundry day to get everything put away and have all the laundry baskets empty; it means I’m chipping away at it a little at a time. Or after I make Chinese food; like this week I made Mongolian beef, paleo Mongolian beef. You can find the recipe on my blog. My kitchen was a mess because I was making Chinese food; that’s just what happens. So I gave my kitchen a nice, deep clean. And I don’t have folks coming over until; gosh, it was going to be 7 days later, but I kind of got that crossed off. So you can stay progress minded there.

And then the last one I want to talk about is philanthropy. Now this is something that I think we can all; we’re all aware of, it’s important to give back, right? It’s important to donate. It’s important to give our time and our resources and our energy and our love to the philanthropic; oh goodness, principles, groups, ideas, and missions that mean the most to us. We all have something in our heart that means a lot that we want to give back to. And it can be really easy to get caught up in a swirl of guilt of you’re not doing it every day; or if it’s not on your mind, right? And I just want to remind you that it’s ok to be progress driven when it comes to philanthropy. Right? Do a little at a time, reach out, maybe put it on your calendar for next month so you know you’ve got it scheduled or whatever it is. But being philanthropic does not have to be an all in or all out kind of pursuit. You can do a little at a time, and have a lot of fulfillment.

Ok; now to round out today’s episode, I’m going to talk about the 5 easy ways {laughs} I feel like a Buzz feed article, but I love breaking things up into simple little lists. Five easy ways that you can make a switch from perfection driven to progress driven. Let’s do it, right? Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Ok, number one. This is really, really, really important. Start setting a long-term goal. Now what do I mean by that? Well, looking back at the different parts of our lives; what’s my long-term goal for my home? Let’s start with an easy, light topic, right? For my home. I want my home to be cozy, warm, I want it to feel safe, and I want it to be comfortable. Now, what does that mean? What does comfortable mean to me and Austin? To us, that means relatively clean. It doesn’t have to be swept every single day. I know some people have kiddos and they tell me that they vacuum three, four times a day. We don’t have to do that yet, but we want it to be comfortable and comfortable means relatively clean for us. So that’s a long term goal; is comfort. That doesn’t necessarily get my little engine running on worry about; oh gosh, I’m a bad home person because I haven’t; I don’t know, gosh vacuumed this week, or whatever it is. You’re not worried about it.

Another area where we can set a long term goal is in; let me find a good one. Let’s say in our nutrition. Let’s just go for it. We’re just going to take a bite out of this one. Ah! No pun intended. Or pun intended; I’m going to claim it. Ok, so how to set a long term goal with our nutrition. Well, I’ll just speak from personal experience. But my long-term goal, the reason why I eat mostly healthy, is because I want as much time on earth as possible. Of course, I’m not in control, but I can control the food that winds up on my plate. I want as much time on earth to do good work, to meet great people; and again if we’re lucky enough to have a family, to be there for my family! And I want to be able-bodied. Right? I want to be active; I want to be mentally agile. So that’s my long-term goal.

Now just because I want to be here for the long term doesn’t mean that I beat myself up because I had a bowl of gluten free pasta last night. Or heck, regular pasta; whatever. Because that doesn’t really matter, because when we’re thinking 50-60 years down the road we know; you know that that bowl of pasta doesn’t have a huge implication on your 60-year plan. It has a huge implication on your 30-day diet, because you’re thinking you’re going to be perfect there. But if we erase that perfection and we’re thinking long-term, we can forgive ourselves for the goal, and we can get back to eating really good things. It doesn’t hold us back. So set really long-term goals.

Another long-term goal we can set is with relationships. I want a healthy, happy, fun, relationship with my husband. I want fun! That doesn’t mean that we don’t sometimes get into arguments, it doesn’t mean that we don’t sometimes drop the ball. But because my goal is long-term happiness and fun, and for us to continue to grow and push each other, it makes it easier for me then to apologize. And it makes it so easy for us to move on, because I don’t feel as if any missteps are detrimental, because we’re not. Because we’re progress. We’re getting better and better.

Ok, step two. After setting a long-term goal, we’re going to, number two; brainstorm the reality of achieving that long-term goal. And I kind of already touched on this, but the reality of it is, just because you get into an argument with maybe your significant other doesn’t mean that you’ve ruined the relationship. Just because maybe you and your mom get into some sort of a tiff, or a disagreement, does not mean that your long-term goal is thwarted. You can always apologize; you can always move on, you can always learn from it. Right? So brainstorm the reality. And when we brainstorm; like, my house is going to be dirty at some points in time, and I am going to have nights where I don’t sleep enough, and I am going to have days where I skip my workout, or I don’t do very well in my workout. And there are going to be months where I miss giving. I forget, or I lose track of time, and I don’t reach out to those groups that are so important for me to stay philanthropic with. Right? That’s reality.

If we can brainstorm that, and before it happens tell ourselves that that is ok, it is going to happen, and it doesn’t mean that we can’t stay forward minded the majority of the time, it really helps shed the guilt so we can just get down to work in getting better and better.

Step three; make small positive easy plans for today and tomorrow. This is crucial; easy plans are so crucial for progress driven work. I want this to be simple. If you’re starting a business, then go register your domain. That’s something you can wrap your mind around, right? That’s an easy step right now. If you are wanting to have a better relationship; call your honey and tell her or him that you booked a date night. That’s an easy think you can do today.

The idea; the daunting idea of resurrecting a relationship or launching a business that’s going to then be able to help you quit your day job, or raising the perfect child; those types of things are too daunting. Even though you may be progress driven in those plans, they’re too much to handle right now. So set easy steps. An easy step for the kiddos is; I don’t know, having a game night instead of something else. Whatever; you know your kiddos best, but set something very, very easy that you can do today and tomorrow.

And then step 4; worry about next weeks’ plans when next week gets here. Easy then will look different than easy now. Right? That’s the idea of progress. We get better and better. We keep climbing that mountain. We’re doing easy steps now; and what’s easy today may be something that becomes second nature tomorrow. It doesn’t even feel like a step; you’re just doing it. Right? So if it’s nutrition, an easy today feels like, “You know what? I can stop using artificial sweeteners in my coffee. That’s easy; I can do that. I can start putting maple syrup in there,” or whatever it is that you’re drawn to. “I can stop using some of those colored packets.” That’s easy. And then next week, make another easy plan. Maybe you feel like you’ve got the artificial sweeteners under your belt and you’re ready to do something else. Maybe next week, swap your morning toast for a gluten-free toast. That feels easy. Just keep doing easy things and then that is how you stay progress driven.

And then lastly, number 5. This is very important; as I want you to remember, this is not necessarily an actionable step, but something I want you to stay mindful of. Remember that your progress will look different from someone else’s progress. And this, you guys, is the beauty of our being an individual. It really is cool! Think of it as a badge of unique honor that yours looks different from other people. Not as a way to see how you measure up to them. Ok? I think a lot of this pressure and this stress that we feel; which I feel, too, you guys; like I said a couple of times now; you’re not alone in this. I definitely feel this way, and I’ve worked with so many people who do, as well. But the stress we feel to stay perfect and to measure up to what other people are doing; whether it’s with their nutrition, maybe it’s their post baby bodies, or maybe it’s with how they’re raising their kiddos, or maybe it’s with how beautiful and perfect their home always looks or how they’re always on time to things, and you’re like; gosh dang it, I wish I could do that, maybe I’m just not good enough!

If we stop thinking about that, and we start remembering that we have our own unique, wonderful, beautiful, awesome, positive qualities, then we can shed this guilt of comparison and this feeling of not being good enough, and you can just get back to being a better, and better you. And it doesn’t mean that you have to then measure yourself against yourself; it doesn’t mean that we have to then; it’s not that I look at my business and I say; ok, good job Cass. You’re doing it because it’s better than it was a year ago or that it was 6 years ago. I don’t actually grade myself like that. It’s more of an emotional fulfillment that I feel like I’m just fine tuning and working on drafts. I’m constantly editing, I try as hard as I can to keep my pride out of it so that I can keep editing, and I can keep working on me so I can keep putting my best foot forward for you, in the hopes that it’s inspiring and a positive experience for more. Right? That’s the whole purpose of my business!

And if I spent too much of my time worrying about how my business measured up to other businesses, or how my body measures up to other bodies, or how my philanthropic work measures up to others, or how my faith measures up to others; I could go on and on and on and on, you know then I might lose a little hope, and I might lose a little pizzazz. So focus on yourself, pat yourself on the back, you’re doing an incredible job. You’ve so got this! And do not turn being progress-driven versus perfection-driven another way to try to be perfect. Right? {laughs} This is real, and I feel like this is something that if you really are sinking your teeth into this, I don’t want you to slip into the trying to be perfect about this, now thing.

Stay progress-driven as much as possible. Set a long-term goal, brainstorm the reality of achieving that long-term goal; and I mean, the reality being the nonperfect things that are going to happen. Number three; make small, positive, easy plans for today and tomorrow, number four worry about next weeks’ plans when next week gets here. Easy then will look different than easy now. And number 5; remember that your progress will look different from others, and that is the unique beauty of being an individual. Think of it as a badge of honor; not as a way to see how you measure up to others. So that’s all I’ve got for you guys today.

I hope you found today’s episode helpful, and if you would like to dive into more of this conversation, maybe get into a little more of an interactive format where folks are kind of help leading you down a path, whether it’s for food, nutrition, or just overall mindset; sleep, hydration, whatever it is, we would love to have you. We are reopening up the Fed and Fit Project for all; it’s a very exciting time; the Project online, and we will launch a pretty big January group where you can choose if you want to pursue path A, which is kind of the rip the Band-Aid off approach; 28 days and then into the perfect you plan material, so that’s a really exciting one. Again, know thyself, whichever is best for you. And then path B, the alternative, is a 3-month more gradual plan; like I said, know thyself. But overall, the whole point of this entire conversation with the Fed and Fit Project is to stay progress-minded. That is the context on every single page and it’s woven into every single thing that we do there. It’s an important part of the community and a lot of the daily conversation. So keep that in mind, if you’re interested you can sign up or put your name on the waitlist at www.FedandFitProject.com, go ahead and plug your email address there and you’ll get emailed when the memberships are open.

Thank you guys so much for joining me on today’s show. As always, you will be able to find the show notes with a complete transcript of today’s show in written format at https://fedandfit.com. That is my main blog. Thanks again for listening; and I do have a quick request. If you enjoy this show, it would mean the world to me if you would head to iTunes and leave a review. It would mean a lot of you could go ahead and do that. That really helps this show wind up in the hands of others who may be able to benefit from it. Thank you so much again for joining me; we’ll be back again next week.

About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.

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  1. Hi Cassy! I am so inspired by you. Really. I am always checking your blog and social media to see what you’re up to! I’m so grateful to have found you when I did, because (I think) like you, I have a million ideas floating around in my head all day, everyday! I was wondering if you’d be able to explain your background in nutrition (what training you have, certificates, etc) because I’m so interested in doing what you do. I’d love to be someone in corporate wellness as well as being a nutrition consultant. Any help would be SO appreciated!!



  2. Hi Cassy!

    Will the cost be for the different pathways for the Fed & Fit project? Any other information about the different pathways?

    1. No cost difference at all! We’ll have some information available very soon about the different paths. 🙂

  3. I came across your blog because of your work with Juli from PaleOMG and so glad I did! This podcast topic came at the perfect time for me. There were so many great takeaways that can be applied to both work and life and as a new leader for my team, something I would like to project on to them. I think for many it is so easy to get stuck in the need for perfection that you lose sight of the why. Great podcast and can’t wait to hear more from you! Also, I put your cookbook on my christmas wish list! Hope to get it and try out some recipes. Thanks for your work and I love your philosophy!