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Don’t Let the Best Be the Enemy of the Good

Jan 18, 2021

This post is by Danielle Smith.

For a lot of us, each New Year brings new fitness goals. A month-long spree of potluck gatherings and cookie bakes is followed by January vows to tone up, trim down, and “Eat Clean Bro.” 

2021 certainly presents a new year unlike any I can remember, just like our holiday get-togethers a few weeks ago looked very different from years past. The guest lists were smaller and the venues closer to home; quite literally closer to home, as in very much inside the same homes we’ve sparingly left since March. 

So where our vows would normally be accompanied by specially discounted gym memberships or gifted class packages at the Pilates studio, they’re now forced to come to fruition without the motivational aids we’d call on during regular times. This new year will bring perhaps the least new we’ve ever seen, as we await the return of normalcy through our faith in God, and pioneering medical advancements that seemed impossible just months ago.

Something new that hasn’t been lacking at all this past year is lessons, and a particularly important one that I learned can be applied to our movement mindset going forward. 

Last year, I signed myself on to do some community organizing ahead of the November elections. As our group fought for protections for working families across Pennsylvania, a frequently repeated slogan heard among our ranks was “don’t let the best be the enemy of the good.” 

We always felt the requests we made were reasonable, especially in the middle of a pandemic. So when those requests were met with rejection, it was frustrating to say the least. The rejection was so demotivating for some people it made them want to give up the fight. Their feeling was that after all of the blood, sweat and tears poured into this mission, if our ultimate aims couldn’t be achieved, the mission didn’t succeed. And that’s the exact feeling the devil wants us to experience. The one where we throw up our hands and question the point in even trying. 

But scripture says otherwise. Philippians 3:13-14 finds Paul leaving the past in the past where it belongs, and relying on forward momentum, “...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” 

Like Paul, the only direction we can move is forward, and nothing is going to change that. Even when we’ve lost a few tools, we can continue building with what we’ve got left. We haven’t seen ideal circumstances in a long time, and have grown accustomed to moving on in ways we’d never imagined. 

2021’s movement plans will be no different. The gym is still a non-optimal facility in a pandemic. The strength in numbers that power us through group classes is still unavailable in a pandemic. We’re looking at another long stretch of home workouts, neighborhood walks and YouTube videos, before we upgrade to anything drastically different. 

And that’s okay. There may be no “best” effort infused with the familiar newness Januaries provide, but we can still apply fresh passion to the good effort available to us right now. Using Paul’s example, faith and optimism help us focus on what lies ahead, and keep us from pitting the best against the good.


Danielle Smith is a freelance writer and stay at home mom living outside Philadelphia. She enjoys contributing to the Hello Mornings family and being encouraged by its incredible community of women.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


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