Monday, June 27, 2011

The Perfectionism Trap

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.  ~John Henry Newman

It is important to be focused on your diet and exercise, but striving for perfection sets you up for failure. Perfectionism is a state of mind that assumes anything short of perfection is unacceptable.  Perfectionism is unproductive.

Too often people view health as “all or nothing”.  They classify themselves in distinct categories: on the wagon or off the wagon. The journey to health and wellness is not that black and white rather shades of grey.  To focus on perfection leads to constant irritation, self-depreciating behavior, stress and inability to achieve a balanced relationship with food or yourself.  Your own struggle with self-perfection will ultimately lead to a downward spiral to reality…. Reality is you’re never on or off a wagon yet on a lifelong journey packed with roadblocks, detours, and u turns.   

To fight perfectionism you must first change your thinking. Never use words “good’ or “bad” to describe food, you or your eating behavior.

Use a GPS approach to slip-ups. A GPS will automatically direct you to the next possible U turn to get you back on track if a wrong turn is taken! When you make a poor food choice use the next meal opportunity as a U turn and get right back on track. The longer you wait to make a u turn on the interstate in the right direction the more miles (calories) you will have account for.

Establish a range for daily goals. This allows for more flexibility. Example: Limit soda intake to 1-2 today. Replace 2-3 pantry items with healthier options at each grocery visit.

See and visualize the BIG picture…  Image each day is a basket ball game with positive versus negative choices. If team positive makes ten baskets for every one basket team negative makes who wins the game?  Even if team negative makes a full court three (3) pointer at the buzzer who still wins the game?

Every time you choose the healthier approach you score a point. Don’t under estimate the small one pointer they end up winning you the game in the end. Examples: Make the choice of water vs. sodas, hold the cheese or mayo, opt for half vs. whole entrée portions, and take the stairs more often than not.

Sometimes... when you hold out for everything, you walk away with nothing.  ~From the television show Ally McBeal

Be patient. Nothing causes more frustration than thinking you should be losing or running faster than you are.  Be persistent.  Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.  ~Harriet Braiker. Be realistic. Reality is there will never be the perfect time to get healthy and you will never be perfect at it. No one’s everyday reality is identical therefore; no one’s every day journey will be identical.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm…. Winston Churchill

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