“The perfect is the enemy of the good”

17 04 2012

taken from JD Roth, of getrichslowly.org, but I’m sure it’s been said before.

On my past blog post about the one bowl of vegetables diet, my friend asked if it matters if it’s fresh vegetables or frozen.  Long story short, it doesn’t matter.  Eat whatever you can get your hands on.  If that doesn’t work after a month, tweak it.  This goes back to the 80/20 rule.  A few things (20% of effort) leads to most of the results (80% of rewards).  It’s much more important to start eating a bowl of vegetables a day than to decide if you should go for frozen or fresh vegetables.

Here is a simple three step method for doing something well (good), but not perfect.  For simplicity let’s stick to the idea of a diet, but this could apply equally as well to working out, learning something, or a million other things.

First, you need a plan.  As the quote suggests, this plan does not need to be perfect, only good enough.  In terms of diet a good place to start would be the Paleo Solution, Primal Blueprint, Four Hour Body, or Atkins Revolution.

Second, you need to get started.  In the case of the diet you could just pick one at random, read the diet (a small part of each book), and get started.  Or, you could ask SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR VENTURE for advice.  In the case of the diet you need to find someone that was fat or got fat and then lost the weight.  It is not helpful to ask for help from people who are still overweight or from people who are naturally skinny.  I used to be naturally skinny, but started to get a spare tire and made adjustments accordingly, so I believe I am a decent source to ask.

Third, you need to follow through.  Execute your plan as best you can, sticking to it for as long as possible.  If you trip up, forget about it and keep going.  It is common to miss a workout once in a while, what’s important is that you keep going and don’t use that as an excuse to stop.

These three basic steps will lead to pretty good results for most things you want to try.  I will post about a slightly more sophisticated system that I call “the process of awesome” in a future post, but really, to do most things, these three steps are good enough.

Compare this simple “good enough” three step approach with an attempt to be perfect.  If you were trying to do something perfectly, you’d get stuck in step one, researching a plan.  Especially when it comes to dieting, there are so many opinions, plans, research papers, etc, that you’d never stop reading and get started.


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