I am a self proclaimed Type B person and I’m darn proud of it.
Sure – I got straight As in college – went back to school for my MBA (where I didn’t get straight As), and I run an online business. But a perfectionist? Not me. HELL NO.
And – I firmly believe that the reason why I have been able to achieve so many of the goals I have in life has a lot to do with my ability to fail – and ultimately to recover. I’ve had many failures in my personal and professional life – but they ALWAYS – ALWAYS made me stronger so long as I committed to getting right back up after I had been knocked down.
When I worked in the tech industry – we had a saying “Fail hard and fail fast” because the truth is, building a tech product requires mistakes because it’s how you make the product BETTER. And the sooner you can figure out what DOESN’T work – the sooner you can figure out what does.
In fact – in the tech world we also often said that perfection is the killer of a great product. In my MBA program (which is highly regarded entrepreneurship) we also had a saying that perfection is the killer of entrepreneurship.
Think about it- if you wait until your product is “perfect” to get to market – you’re going to be too late. Plus – chasing perfection can be a total waste of time – you will always find something new to tweak or change – and thus you get caught in the cycle of perfection rather than forward progression based on internal and external feedback.
So it really comes as no surprise to me that chasing perfection sets a LOT of people up for lackluster results when it comes to their fitness/weight loss goals.
How many times have you said to yourself “Ok, starting Monday it’s going to be CLEAN eating all week long, and no more than 1500 calories” yet Friday comes and your friends are going for wine and pizza – you tell yourself you will just have one glass – but one glass turns into 3 and then you think “to hell with it” and have 3 slices of pizza to go with it. Since you already blew it – you decide to just keep indulging all weekend resolving to start fresh on Monday again.
From a calorie perspective – if you are eating 1500 calories Monday – Thursday but 3,000+ Friday – Sunday this will no doubt keep you from losing fat – in fact it could even cause you to GAIN unwanted weight which can be SO frustrating when you feel like you are doing “so good” 4/7 days of the week!
Additionally – this cycle not only keeps you from making progress – but it also keeps you from FEELING your very best because you are under eating and restricting during the week and overeating on the weekends.
This scenario is incredibly common – in fact I see it ALL THE TIME. And the truth is it’s not good for our results OR our health. Do you really want to keep restricting and then overeating only to beat yourself up mentally every week? That is no way to live! And more importantly – you do not deserve that.
I want you to know something – no matter how long you have been stuck in the all/nothing or “perfectionist” mentality – you can break free. I’ve seen people who have spent 30+ years yo-yo dieting that have been able to reclaim their health, life and their GOALS – simply by being able to embrace “failure”. Let me explain..
First of all – I want to point something out: Failure is not really a thing. When I use the term failure it’s really just to get your mind to connect to your perception of failure.
You see – in my opinion failure doesn’t exist – simply because we can ALWAYS get back on the horse – and often time what we perceive as failure is really just the universe re-directing our path to something better – or a lesson that we need to learn.
That being said – here are the steps to ending the all/nothing cycle that is keeping you STUCK from reaching your goals – I’ve written it to speak to those with fat loss goals but it can really be applied to ANY life goal that you have!
The very first step in overcoming the perfectionist mentality is to quite literally expect that the journey to reach your goals is going to have “failures” or slip ups. The road will not be perfect – you may have some extra cookies one day – or skip your workout another day, you may need to travel to a place where it will be more challenging to adhere to your plan and the list goes on. That is life.
Letting these situations stop you or using them as an excuse to derail your progress because you can’t follow your plan to a T will ensure that you never reach your goal.
Mantras or affirmations are powerful statements that you can say to yourself. Words are energy and are incredibly powerful – they have the ability to truly change your entire WORLD. By using daily mantras – your subconscious mind will start to BELIEVE that what you are saying is true – and thus you will begin to be more accepting of the (imperfect) journey to reach your goals. Here are some of my favorite mantras:
Now that you have accepted there will be slip ups on your journey – and that you have been working on training your subconscious mind to be accepting of this – it’s time to put it into play. When you do slip up – whether it be eating an extra cookie, or skipping a workout – make a PLAN to get back on track RIGHT THEN AND THERE. This can mean putting away the cookies so you aren’t tempted to say “screw it and eat another”, or it can mean going for a walk if you can’t make it to the gym.
Don’t wait until tomorrow to get back on track – don’t try to “compensate” with extra workouts later in the week- and DO NOT use one extra cookie as an excuse to eat the entire bag.
Taking this one small action – by immediately getting back on track – even just one time – will help get you in the habit of committing to the lifestyle of doing what it takes to reach your goals.
It can be hard for a self proclaimed perfectionist to be OK with “failure” – am I right?
Through your journey you will start to realize that GOOD ENOUGH can be GREAT.
Look – the truth is when it comes to your weight loss goals – what you do 90% of the time in more important than what you do 10% of the time. Will 3 days of falling off track out of 90 days make a big difference in your results? Not really. But will 36 (3 weekend days x 12 weeks) out of 90 days? YEP.
Accepting that good enough is good enough sometimes – will not only help ensure you REACH your goals – but also that you maintain them for LIFE.