Changing Your Mindset; Progress Not Perfection


We all know that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is easier said than done. We have to set time aside, drive to the gym, sweat, hurt, and repeat. Not to mention making sure the grunting meatheads don’t see our constant eye-rolling and head shaking as we make our way through the crowded gym to the one machine that we know how to use. It’s a headache. A necessary evil. But it doesn’t have to be.

In this Wellness series we will pick the brain of Techartista’s very own fitness expert Robbie Garrison to find out what it takes to achieve wellness without all the hassle.

Robbie believes that the first change should be your mindset. Health-conscious choices are not a punishment or a necessary evil but a valuable type of therapy. It isn’t just about getting stronger or looking good but about feeling good. “If you shift your mindset and look at it as a net positive then it becomes a little bit easier to incorporate these things into your life.”


One of the most important themes within Robbie’s mindset philosophy is “progress, not perfection.” He explains with an analogy: Imagine you are hiking in the woods with friends and suddenly a bear starts chasing you. In order to escape you don’t have to be the fastest, you just have to be faster than the slowest person.” The analogy is meant to show that being perfect, or the best, should not be the goal. Just be better than what you were yesterday. This is a shift in perspective that not only puts less pressure on you but also sets you up for success. Robbie has told clients, “Stop trying to be perfect and be good enough.” It’s this fear of failure that often gets in our way. We imagine all the ways that we are inadequate, all the things that stand between us and perfection and we let it hold us back. Another way to think of it is on a scale from 0-100%. When measuring success people tend to make 100% their starting point (they start at 100 and subtract), a perspective that forces us to see our progress, or commitment, or efforts, as less than what they should be. Instead we should start at 0%. Think about what 0% would be- 0 progress, 0 commitment, 0 effort-  and then add your accomplishments. This simple shift changes how we perceive ourselves. So acknowledge every success, even the small ones, and see them as genuine progress. Another similar approach is Dweck’s growth and fixed mindset.


Robbie also suggests setting behavior goals instead of outcome goals. Basically this means don’t plan to be a certain weight by the time your beach vacation rolls around, but instead decide to include a lean source of protein in every meal. Not only does this approach give you a goal that is more attainable, it also helps to establish habits that will lead to the outcome goal that you had in mind all along, ie lookin’ good for your vaca. These behavior goals are also known as habits. And because any lifestyle change is a matter of breaking habits and making habits, it’s important to have an idea of how to do just that. Robbie suggests to start by implementing one habit- that’s right, only one- for two weeks. Then add another thing for the next two weeks, and so on and so forth. There is a lot of science and personal experience that backs this method up. It is important not to change too much at once; even if you think you can handle it, it will not likely be something you can sustain. Robbie explains, “people tend to do sprints- four weeks of hard workouts followed by two months of nothing. But consistency is the key.” And of course the thing about habits is that they tend to be consistent.

Robbie wants to change the way people see health and fitness, so if you want to learn more about his approach you can email him, message him on slack, or visit The Movement Project’s website. Next week in Part Two of our Wellness series, Robbie will explain the basics of nutrition.


About Robbie

Certified personal trainer, Robbie Garrison is a man on a mission. Being a personal trainer was just supposed get him through business school at Washu but he fell in love with it in the process, and now years later, here we are. Although he claims he was not athletic when he was younger, Robbie is a guy who isn’t lacking in physical training; he spent four years in the navy, has been training for seven years at a number of different types of gyms, and has been running his own gym at Techartista, The Movement Project, for over two years. He is certified in Functional Movement Screening and Precision Nutrition and describes his training style as “holistic functional training.” Robbie usually works with groups of five or less for a semi-private, supportive, group environment that still offers the major benefits of one-on-one training.