What I'm about to say will probably elicit eye-rolling, and I totally get it-- it would cause me to eye-roll, too. But hear me out: I'm a perfectionist and that's definitely not a good thing. I know, I know. It sounds like the answer a job candidate would give when naming his or her "worst" trait. But being a perfectionist has lead me down some really dark roads in the past and is always an obstacle I have to battle when it comes to dealing with my life's habits.
Take my workout habits, for example. You might think that having perfectionist tendencies is an asset when it comes to working out, right? Like, if I'm challenged to do 10 burpees, I'll drop down and give you 10 perfectly executed burpees and a big smile afterwards. (Let's be real-- I'm only smiling if I'm in front of a camera and getting paid, mmmkay?) Instead, however, if I have burpees on tomorrow's workout plan and I wake up feeling like crap and KNOW that I'm not at my absolute best, rather than simply accepting that that day's round of burpees might not be as great as I'd like them to be, I very well may just throw in the towel and not work out at all. Because not being my absolute best (i.e. my version of perfect) is upsetting to me. It doesn't feel good and I don't like not feeling good. (And yes, on the Meyer's Briggs personality test, I am an "F"; I'm big into feeling).
I have battled this negative behavior for years. It has shown up in various aspects of my life-- working out, relationships, careers, cooking, etc. If I can't do my absolute best, I just won't do it at all. What crappy thinking!
Luckily, I've had fantastic mentors in my life who have helped me learn to be gentle with myself; to have a sense of humor, and to not take things so bloody seriously. (Note: that last line is better if you read it in a British accent). Nike really nailed it on the head when they trademarked, Just Do It.
I'm taking it a bit further, and refining Nike's motto to fit my life: Do It Anyways.
Feel tired? Do It Anyways.
Feel scared?Do It Anyways.
Feel angry?Do It Anyways.
Feel hungry? Do It Anyways.
Here is how & why "Do It Anyways" works:
1) Even though I think I am the person that knows me best, I am still not a fortune teller. I cannot completely predict how I will feel once I start working out. I've had some of my best runs when I've felt the crappiest, and vice versa. Changing up your environment, i.e. moving from your desk to the outdoors for a workout has an amazing impact on how you feel. I often times feel instantly energized the second I step foot outside, whereas 10 minutes previous, I felt lethargic and mildly depressed.
2) There are valuable lessons to be learned from doing things when you are not at your best. Such as learning that you don't give yourself enough credit & that you really CAN get through a tough workout or an uncomfortable work conversation despite the fact you only got 4 hours of sleep the night before. This type of extending yourself beyond what you think you're capable of is a great way to build self-confidence.
3) How you feel has little bearing on whether or not the workout (or whatever it is you're trying to accomplish) is impactful on your life. I've completed plenty of workouts that I hated every second of, but I'm grateful I did them because they made me both mentally and physically stronger.
4) Showing up & committing even when you're certain you're not going to be your best is not only good for YOUR psyche, but for that of those around you, too. My mom always used to say, "Nobody really likes perfection," and it's true. We find (perceived) perfection in others really annoying because we know that we ourselves are NOT perfect. By not always being your best, you show your humanism, and that's what people are drawn to.
These are the things I remind myself whenever I want to call it quits. I definitely don't always get it perfect (ha...ha), but I continue to work on it. All of life is a practice, as they say...
Do you struggle with perfectionistic tendencies? How do YOU keep yourself going when your negative voice gets loud? Drop me a note and let me know! :)
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!