The drive to be perfect often flows over into exercise and diet. We are bombarded by the media telling us how we should look, what we should eat, what new exercise will give us the perfect backside, what new diet will melt the fat away, you get the picture! Not to mention your Facebook friend that has 5 kids, just ran a marathon, is getting her PhD in astrophysics and just won 10 grand on her fabulous vacation in Vegas. Darn her!
Looking at these images, negative self-talk rears it’s ugly head and guilt sets in. “I was so bad today”, “I ate like a pig, I am going to have to eat celery sticks for the next week”, “I shouldn’t have ate so much ice cream, I am going to have to work out for 2 hours tonight!”. Sound familiar? In the endless pursuit of the magic diet and exercise program we often find ourselves swinging from one extreme to another, back and forth, back and forth. Self-compassion goes out the window and the more we try the worse we feel.
There is nothing wrong with striving to be your best but not at the expense of your self-worth. It is easy to get trapped in the notion that we have be the “ideal” only to be disappointed when we don’t achieve the unrealistic goals we set for ourselves. Repeat this vicious cycle again and again and it erodes our self-confidence.
Rather than trying to be perfect all the time, strive to do your best in each moment. Your best one day might be squeezing in a 15 minute walk in-between meetings and your best on another may be going to the gym for 45 minutes. And if you are unable to meet your exercise goals one day accept that wellness is not all or nothing and pick up where you left off. Tomorrow is a new day. When you get rid of the drive for perfectionism, you can move to a place where challenges are now opportunities for growth. Focus on progress rather than perfection and ditch the all or nothing mentality.
Learn to do things that work for you rather than what the so called “experts” say. Become the expert on you. After all who knows you better?
- Why Being Perfect Leads to an Imperfect Life. (elephantjournal.com)
- Send Perfectionism Packing! (peacefulandorganized.wordpress.com)
- Perfection? No way! (sheilasnyderblog.com)