How Embracing Imperfection Can Help You Get in the Best Shape of Your Life

Earlier this week, we shared some practical tips for cultivating a healthy lifestyle, and today I'm thrilled to introduce a friend and PowerSheets user, Robin Long, to each of you!

Robin lives and works in sunny Santa Barbara, CA. She obtained her comprehensive Pilates certification through Body Arts and Science International and her barre certification through Balanced Body. She is passionate about creating programs that empower, strengthen, restore, and rejuvenate her clients from the inside out. As a mom of two little ones, she knows what it’s like to have very little time for yourself. The Balanced Life was created to help women feel healthy, balanced and strong through at-home Pilates workouts, wellness resources, and a supportive community of like-minded women around the world.

I hope you're as encouraged by Robin's words as I am! Be sure to scroll to the bottom for an invitation to join a free 21-day Pilates Challenge!

View More:

Have you ever felt like you needed to go to the gym to work off the big, indulgent dinner you had the night before?

Or, have you ever rewarded yourself with extra sweet treats after a hard workout?

I certainly have. And to be honest, I was trapped in this cycle for a long time. The cycle looked something like this:

  • Over-indulge in a cheeseburger, fries, and beer at a restaurant (eating to the point of being way too full)
  • Feel guilty, over-stuffed, and bad about myself for not having more self-control
  • Exercise as a way to make up for the “damage” I’d done
  • Feel proud, accomplished and exhausted from said workout!
  • Reward myself with a large, sugar-filled latte with extra whipped cream (I earned it!)
  • Feel bad for having such a big treat
  • Exercise to make up for it
  • You can guess what comes next…

Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was trapped in a terrible cycle.

Essentially, exercise had become a form of punishment and indulgent food had become a reward.

I was caught in a cycle that was so mainstream I didn’t even realize it was wrong.

There was a constant battle going on in my head about how I “should” exercise more or I “shouldn’t” have eaten certain foods.

There was no room for mistakes, no room for grace and no room for imperfection.

After years of feeling frustrated and discouraged, I decided enough was enough. Something had to change. I needed to break free. I realized that while there was certainly room for improvement in my diet and exercise routine, it was my MINDSET that needed to change.

My relationship with exercise needed a makeover, and my beliefs about what it meant to be a fit and healthy woman needed an overhaul.

So, I made changes.

And one of the most important things I learned, is the value of embracing imperfection and giving myself grace.

If you can relate to an unhealthy (or simply burdensome) relationship with exercise, I encourage you to explore what it might look like to allow more room for imperfection and grace.

While it might seem counter-intuitive, giving yourself permission to NOT be perfect, to go off-track and to fall behind can (and most likely will) lead to better results.

Because when you embrace imperfection, it’s easier to stay consistent for long periods of time. One bump in the road (skipped workout, extra piece of cake, etc.) will no longer throw you off track. You will look at your progress and see the ways the little by little is adding up instead of the areas where you aren't enough.

This one change has helped me get into the best shape of my life, but more importantly, my healthiest state of mind.

View More:

Here are 4 practical ways to embrace imperfection on your fitness journey:

Choose grace over guilt. This has become our unofficial motto in my online community. When you miss a workout, eat more than you need to, or forget to drink water-choose grace over guilt. Wallowing in guilt leads to shame and a cycle of negative self-talk. Sometimes we think that guilt will motivate us to change and while it might work in the short-term, it will NOT work for the long-term. Ditch the guilt, choose grace, and move forward.

Treat every day as a fresh start. Every morning is a fresh start. Don’t worry about what happened yesterday. Just wake up, drink a big glass of water and start another day with the intention to nourish and care for your body the best you possibly can.

Ditch the “all or nothing” mentality. Have you ever skipped a workout because you didn’t have time to complete the whole thing? Me too. Or perhaps you don’t really exercise because you don’t have time for hour-long classes + a daily commute to the gym? As a mom of 2 toddlers who runs a business from home, I get it. Letting go of the “all or nothing” mentality will help you stay consistent and get moving on a daily basis. My daily mantra? Something is always better than nothing.

Embrace short workouts. Everyone can find 10 minutes per day, right? If you don’t have time to spend hours in the gym or train for marathons, try short daily workouts. I teach women to do 10 minutes of Pilates per day and the results are incredible. Why? Because 10 minutes is realistic. And because it’s realistic you can actually stay consistent. And when you’re consistent, you see results.

View More:

Changing thought patterns and your relationship with exercise can take time. But one of the best things you can do is learn to embrace imperfection on your journey. Remember that fitness is a long-term pursuit that will ebb and flow. There will be ups, downs, trials and errors. Embracing imperfection will help you release guilt, accept grace and live in freedom.

21DaysofPilates_Final-Design_Instagram_02 (1)
Thank you so much for sharing, Robin! Need some workout inspiration? Robin will be hosting a free fitness challenge-21 Days of Pilates! Just 10 minutes per day, no equipment necessary, all levels welcome. The challenge will officially begin on March 6th but registration is now open! Sign up today (I already have!) and get your free Prep Kit!

What is one way you’re going to embrace imperfection when it comes to your fitness routine? Will you be joining Robin's 21-Day Pilate Challenge? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Show Comments (22)

Christine’s PowerSheets – October Progress

Our goal for this community is to create a safe place for PowerSheets users to share their intentional goal-setting journeys. We're honored to have our Blog Contributor, Christine Dore, share about her October PowerSheets progress. Thank you, Christine, for taking the time to share your story with us! If you haven't yet, be sure to read Christine's introduction here. If you haven't purchased your 2017 PowerSheets yet, now is the chance! -Jess

When I chose my word for 2016—“change”—I had no idea just how powerful it would be. December of last year found me struggling. I was struggling at work, I was struggling with planning my wedding, struggling with anxiety, and struggling with who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go. At 27 years old, I joked I was having a quarter-life crisis.

After a little “come to Jesus” talk with my now-husband, I knew something had to change, because I had changed. I wasn’t my happy-go-lucky self anymore. I was turning down social plans, scared to go grocery shopping when I knew the store would be crowded, and becoming, honestly, a bit of a recluse. He was justifiably worried about me. I had allowed wedding planning stressors and a solo long car-ride commute and a not-very-collaborative job with people whose values clashed with mine and self-doubt cause me to draw in and hide.


Image by French Press Mornings.

I prayed more that December than I ever did as a kid wishing for a special treat from Santa (in the way kids’ minds work, small-child Christine thought Santa was Jesus’ cousin or something, and He could put in a good word for me). I prayed for guidance. I prayed for help. I prayed in gratitude that He’d sent me such an astute, patient, loving man to spend my life with.

Then, I found the PowerSheets through Southern Weddings, and decided to give it a shot. That moment of, “alright, I’ll give it a whirl—why not?” was absolutely God speaking right to my heart, even if I was too mired in self-doubt to hear it for what it was. Something just had to change, and I figured it was as good a place as any to start. And so, “change” became my word for this year.

Fast-forward 10 months and my life has radically changed. I’m married and actively planning my dream future with my husband (I still get a thrill calling him that!), I have a new job with a much shorter commute and am learning new skills all the time, I’m writing for fun again, I landed my first creative content client, and I’m taking better care of myself. Out of all of those, that last one is the most important—and enables all the others.


Taking care of yourself means something different for everyone. For me, it occasionally means letting go of guilt to enjoy something delicious and seasonal. Really appreciating the great days I’ve been blessed with helps me push through the hard days.

This last refresh of the year has me looking toward 2017, and thinking about what word I’ll choose when I receive my new set of PowerSheets I ordered on November 1st. Progress? Love? Creativity? I have no doubt in my mind that I will continue to change. Life is about change. But I’m ready for a more positive word. To look ahead with excitement and start digging into the good stuff to make things happen.


Growing up in Florida, I never experienced picking pumpkins right from the vine! I loved putting “pumpkin picking” on my October Tending List and Fall Bucket List. How are you soaking up the end of this year, to fuel you into 2017?

What are you looking forward to for next year? What are you doing to take care of yourself during this busy time of year?

Show Comments (0)

Bailey’s PowerSheets – Summer Recap

Our goal for this community is to create a safe place for PowerSheets users to share their intentional goal-setting journeys. We're excited to share a PowerSheets progress update from our contributor, Bailey Robert. If you haven't yet, be sure to read Bailey's introduction here. Thank you, Bailey! - Jess

One of the things I have looked forward to the most in working through this year’s PowerSheets are the quarterly refresh pages. Setting goals in January is set up for success by the regular reassessing of those goals and refining of them to suit each season’s needs.

However, when the summer set rolled around, I froze.

A season change was approaching and I wasn’t ready.


Grad school came to a close in May, and I moved back in with family for the summer. I had been applying and interviewing for teaching jobs since February, and by the end of June I was weary and honestly losing hope that something would fall into place before the fall. I’m typically a stickler for following the sheets in order, but I skipped over the Summer Refresh Sheets straight into July. I simply couldn’t find the vision to prep for the next season when I wasn’t satisfied with what it was going to look like.

But the PowerSheets are about making progress, not about being perfect.

Since I hadn’t worked through my goals at the end of June for the summer season, I decided to wait until my 25th birthday which would come mid-July, and use them to give vision for the coming year in that way. I love how Lara says there’s nothing magical about January 1st, and my birthday seemed like a great restart date in the middle of the year.

Coincidentally two days after my twenty-fifth birthday, I received the phone call I had been waiting for. I GOT A JOB! I finally found out where I would be moving and that I would be teaching high school theatre this fall. Needless to say life changed in a snap, and that transition is still a bit of a whirlwind.


Back to the PowerSheets. With a new job in mind and a new year of life ahead of me, it was time to refresh those goals. The prep pages for the three-month refresh are full of GREAT questions to get you reflecting on what worked, what didn’t, and what needs to changed. In this waiting and worrying process, particularly about the job, I learned:

Worry gets you nowhere.
Choosing joy is always worth it.
Trust the Lord’s timing.
Fueling your soul is important.

It had been easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of finishing grad school and hunting for a job, taking care of my heart falling to the wayside beneath stress and striving. Boy, did I feel it. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My shoulders were tense, my back in pain. I was short with family and friends, complaining too much. My Bible lay untouched and prayer discarded because I wasn’t getting the answers I expected. This only amplified the struggle of that season.

Taking time to do what fired me up, fueling my soul with creative things, became a simple fix. Days before turning twenty-five, I set my PowerSheets aside and headed off to NYC for a week with a few of my best friends. We saw plays and musicals, shopped some sales, and took masterclasses at a teachers workshop. Being around other creatives (and getting a phone call in Times Square with the job offer!) made me SO excited to come home and dive into those refresh pages.

So when refreshing my goals, I chose very carefully what I would say yes to: intentionality, simplicity, risk, a new community, and more of what fires me up. Being intentional helps me say yes and no to the best things for my season. Simplicity reminds me that I don’t have to do it all or have it all. Risk infuses me with the umph I need to dive into a new city and job with gusto. Making community a priority will surround me with encouragers and family in a foreign place. Doing more of what fires me up will refuel me creatively so I can tackle my responsibilities with a full heart.


From there I chose my word(s) for the next season: JUST GO.

I’m an introvert, y’all. I’m also a theatre girl and I’m going to be a teacher. It’s important to find alone time to recharge, but sometimes I use that as an excuse to stay home. In a new place, it’s important to JUST GO. Just go to the new Bible study, even if I don’t know anyone. Just go to church on Sunday, even if the show went late Saturday night. Just go and introduce yourself to the other teachers, even if they are already friends. Just go for it. I want to walk out confidently in this new season, and having clear goals will certainly help.

Some of the goals I set for my 25th year include:

-Get in the Word daily and intentionally.
-Get physical/active. Make it fun ;)
-Move to my new city!
-Budget & balance.
-Fill with creative fuel.
-Pour into my spheres with joy and Jesus.
-Continue 52 books in 52 weeks.

I also made use of the spectacular deal the Lara Casey Shop was running right in July and picked up a set of six month PowerSheets and a gold foil Make it Happen Binder to set goals specifically for my new job. I’ll share more about those next time.

The important takeaway here is to make the PowerSheets work for you. If you’re not ready for or don’t need a refresh when it falls in the sheets, skip it, adjust it, or come back to it later. Use it on your birthday or when that new job comes. These are to help YOU create YOUR most meaningful life.

Don’t forget to have fun along the way. It’s worth it, trust me.

Show Comments (1)

Mattye’s PowerSheets – June Progress

Our goal for this community is to create a safe place for PowerSheets users to share their intentional goal-setting journeys. We're honored to have our Blog Contributor, Mattye Woodcock, share about her June PowerSheets progress. Thank you, Mattye, for taking the time to share your story with us! If you haven't yet, be sure to read Mattye's introduction here. - Jess

Happy Summer, PowerSheets friends!

June was the fullest month of the year for our family so far. Woody and I had two five-day, out-of-town trips together in addition to some individual travel sprinkled in between. On top of that, we hosted Supper Club, celebrated Father’s Day, and I participated in a Pop Up Shop all while continuing to take care of life in general at work and home.

We couldn’t manage every month being as full as June was, nor would we recommend it, but every once in a while, a collection of important things comes together in one month, and it’s worth accepting the full calendar to make it happen!

What I love about my PowerSheets is they help me make good choices, not just “yes” or “busy” choices.

Even though June was full to the brim, it was full of things that matter to me and to Woody. It was made up of some of the things we have chosen to build our life around.






Travel and adventure.

Our calendar didn’t end up full by accident, rather we made intentional choices to invest in what matters, even if it meant spending a month at a pace a few notches higher than normal.

A couple years ago, I had busy months just like this June, but so often I was chasing my schedule more than I was choosing it.

As you continue to dig into your PowerSheets and stick to the month-to-month process, you will start to see your life take shape into the purposeful, meaningful life you dream of living. The dream of a purposeful life is probably what made you pick up a pack of PowerSheets in the first place, right?

PowerSheets aren’t about making life easy (trust me, June was not easy), they are about making life matter (and my June made a big splash in the pool of what matters most in my heart).

Here are a couple tips to help you as you manage your schedule and use your PowerSheets to spend your days with purpose and joy!

1. Know your limits.

We are equipped, called, and gifted women who are capable of doing so much. But, we have our limits. On a basic level, we need to eat and sleep every day. On a deeper level, we need relationships, spiritual health, and a connection to our purpose. When you are making choices for your day, your week, your month, and your year, remember to consider the limits of what is healthy for you (and this can look different for everyone) so that you can have longevity in living with purpose!


When possible, I love finding an inspiring place to work on my PowerSheets. In the outdoors I find it easier to get perspective and focus my mind.

2. Measure your schedule against your goals/purpose.

When Woody and I had our June calendar meeting, and I saw how full our schedule was getting, I paused and evaluated all of our major commitments for the month. Were we trying to do too much? When I found that most things were special opportunities that don’t come around often and were all in line with our family values and my personal goals, I knew it was worth it. I also knew I would have to limit “extra” things that month because our schedule was already so full with important things that I didn’t want to sacrifice those by carelessly adding too much else into the mix.


I love investing in our local community, and we had a very successful Pop-Up Shop with lots of local creative women in Birmingham!

3. Have grace for what doesn’t get done.

I did not check off three of my monthly goals in June, which is the most I haven’t checked off all year. Initially I was disappointed I didn’t make those final three things happen, but when I thought about all we did accomplish and all the purposeful living I did, I let those items be covered in grace. In order to have a full month of important things, it means some things might not get done, and that’s just part of the process.


So much of my purpose is all about people. In my second Nashville trip in June, I got to see one of my dearest friends who moved there this year. I miss her in Birmingham, but love getting to see her smiling face when I'm in her new city!

4. Remind yourself what matters most!

When life gets full, if you’ve made your choices based on what matters, find energy knowing you are living with purpose! There were moments in June where all the travel and activity felt like too much. In those moments, I reminded myself of what I did in tip 2—I measured my schedule against my purpose/goals and intentionally made the choice to sacrifice a more open calendar for a full one because it was full of things that are important to my heart. Connecting back to your purpose can fuel you and encourage you when you feel overwhelmed.


In June, I got to attend the Nashville baby shower for one of my best friends from college. It was a quick trip, but SO worth getting to see and celebrate with so many people I love!

5. Use wisdom, be accountable, and have self-control.

Once you’ve identified your limits as we talked about in tip 1, it’s important to use wisdom, keep accountability with a spouse, family member, or friend, and have self-control when making choices for your calendar and your life. Purpose cannot happen without fuel and rest. Make sure to choose what matters, while having the wisdom and self-control to leave time to refresh, refuel, and rest. Invite others to be part of the journey to help you when you need it. If you want to live a life of purpose for the long haul, you’ve got to be thoughtful about your path along the way!


Show Comments (3)

Christine’s PowerSheets – June Progress

Our goal for this community is to create a safe place for PowerSheets users to share their intentional goal-setting journeys. We're honored to have our Blog Contributor, Christine Dore, share about her June PowerSheets progress. Thank you, Christine, for taking the time to share your story with us! If you haven't yet, be sure to read Christine's introduction here. - Jess

June was a big month for me. The biggest month I’ve ever had, really. I got married! While our big day was many months of planning in the making—planning for the ceremony and the party but, more importantly, planning for our marriage—I was still absolutely floored by the experience. After talking about it and talking about it and talking about it until I didn’t think there was anything else we could possibly talk about, I thought I was prepared. I thought I knew exactly how I was going to feel that day and afterwards. Boy, was I wrong. It knocked me over in the best way possible. A month into married life and I am still processing how my heart made this monumental shift.  Suddenly, everything was different.

It’s not just about me anymore. It’s not just about what I want and where I want to go and what I want to make happen. There’s an us now. There has been for a while, of course, in the casual “we have plans” or “this matters to us”-type way everyone in a relationship speaks, but standing up before God, our families, and our closest friends and promising to love and honor each other all the days of our lives really adds gravitas to that “us.” There are still the things I want to make happen and places I want to go, but they’re shared now. And I have a new, deeper desire to make all the things the other half of that “us” wants happen, as well. We spent much of our honeymoon in beautiful Aruba talking about all of the things we want to do with our lives. Things we’d talked about before, but they felt so much more tangible now. All of you already-married folks are probably nodding along and chuckling to yourself, remembering this newlywed feeling of awe.


Needless to say, my tending list for July looks a bit different. I’ve found myself wanting to re-center after this life shift. It was a true blessing that this month was also a refresh month for me (I love that you can start your PowerSheets anytime! Living in Boston, though, I use January as a new start—something that feels new and bright and invigorating when the depths of winter can really drag me down is exactly what I need). Spending the time re-focusing on what matters, especially with my new perspective, couldn’t have come at a better time. No matter where you are in your life, dedicating some time every few months to reassess is vitally important to refresh and re-motivate!

I’ll be using the next few months to participate in #FruitfulSummer and refocus on this new me—and this new us. My personal goals for this month are:

  • Dedicate time to building a strong marriage: serious and silly time!
  • Make time to be creative: start, complete, or play with one crafty project each week
  • Get outside!: take a walk (go together and hit 2 goals in one!), find a pick-your-own farm nearby, explore outdoor events downtown, hit the beach—really savor this great weather
  • Discover new stories: add one new genre to your book list each month
  • Share new stories: bring new adventures to Lit Knit Wit
  • Fully participate in #FruitfulSummer!

Goal Collage

I love that the PowerSheets enable me to change course. Yes, I still have all the professional goals I set out with in January (and I’m still working towards them!), but with such a major life change I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to shift gears in my goals when I need to, as well. Here’s to a fruitful summer, indeed!

How about you? How can you use your PowerSheets to customize goals when life changes? How do you feel after the months that you focus on personal goals over professional ones?

Show Comments (0)


Sorry it seems that your password/login is incorrect.
Forgot Password?
Sorry it seems that this email doesn't exist.
An email was sent with your new password, to your associated email address.

Make Your Goals Happen!

no perfection required
  • Connect With Other Goal-Getters
  • Live Goal Coaching Webinars
  • Post Your Goals And Stay Accountable
  • Goal Coaching And Encouragement
  • All Free-Hooray!
Unfortunately this email is allready used by someone.
Please use another email.
You have registered succesfully. Check your email for more details.