Ah, New Years. It may be silly, idealistic and naïve, but I absolutely love New Years Day. The idea that you get a chance to wipe the slate clean, set some new goals and finally, finally, this will be the year that you stick to them. Until somewhere around January 21st when you’ve been soooooo good (and probably so hungry) that you decide one little bite of [insert favorite crap here] won’t hurt a bit. And you’re right, it doesn’t hurt a bit, so the next day you walk by the candy jar that you’ve so diligently avoided, and have just one piece. Still on track, and feeling like you’ve got this thing licked. Right up until you pull out the jeans that were gliding on last week, and have to perform an act of magic to get them zipped. Now you’ve already “blown it,” so the only thing to do is ride this downward spiral to the bitter end. Hey, there’s always next year… Sound familiar? Sarcasm aside, I really do love the fresh beginning that New Year’s represents. But we’ve got to get real and lose the perfection trap if we want to effect any lasting change. The start of a New Year is a great time to start to carve out a new path for yourself, but if you make it so rigid that it can’t be sustained, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. On New Year’s Day, I like to take a few minutes to jot down some thoughts on what I want the next year to look like. This little project usually starts with self-improvement, but also includes things like vacations and leisure activities. I let my mind wander and have fun with it. Then, I break it down into mini-goals that will ultimately lead to the bigger ones. No human being is infallible; we slip up, backtrack and fall short. It’s really more about what we do after a shortcoming that predicts success or failure. Perfectionism is such a common theme for most of us, but think about this rationally for a moment. You were hitting the gym and eating right, and finally starting to see some results. Then life showed up in one way or another, and you got sidetracked for a time. So rather than keep moving forward, albeit imperfectly, you’d rather do nothing at all but dream of all the things you’ll do next year. It’s crazy! Tomorrow never comes, Ladies. Monday never does, either. Every morning that we open our eyes is a chance to start fresh, to make changes, and to do just a little better than we did the day before. Or maybe just a little worse (because that happens, too!). It doesn’t really matter, as long as we keep moving. If I sleep through my alarm and miss the gym one morning, I could decide that the week is shot and I’ll go back “Monday”. Or I could get creative at home with a body weight workout, go for a walk at lunch, or check out a class that looks interesting after work. If I eat a little too much of something I shouldn’t, I could continue with the junk and start over “tomorrow”, OR I could affirm that one less than perfect choice is not going to derail me, and make my next meal squeaky clean. Life is just a long series of choices that string together to create the reality of our days. There is no such thing as perfection, and while having big goals is a wonderful tool, not allowing for slips is a set up for failure. So keep dreaming big and working hard, but remember at the end of the day, no one’s perfect! Erin stays busy pursuing her own fitness goals, and helping to educate and inspire those she loves to live healthier lives. A hair stylist by trade, she manages a salon, and is chipping away at a degree, ultimately in dietetics and kinesiology. She lives in South Florida with her husband and a “pound puppy” named Pedro.