Written by: Alexa Fan, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
That’s the article. Okay okay, I’m not completely serious. There are a few pieces to the puzzle here I want to help you put together. In this brief article, I am going to share a shocking, and freeing, truth about perfectionism along with a new perspective and approach you can take to alleviate the perfectionism that may be plaguing you at this very moment.
I appreciate you being here already and know that this article is going to bring you clarity, peace, and encouragement as you read. Let’s get started.
As some of you might know, I used to be a perfectionist with certain things. Not schoolwork or the way I looked so much but I was a perfectionist about the goals I set and how I would achieve them.
I’ll give you an example. When I was ready to up and change my entire lifestyle to a healthy, non-binging, non-drinking, no sugar, and excessive workout regimen, I would give myself no room for mistakes. It was ALL or nothing. I was eating brown rice, steamed broccoli, and plain grilled chicken every night, or I was eating mac and cheese with chocolate chip cookies for dessert every night. When I tell you there was no in-between there truly wasn’t.
The perfectionism came in when I would have a “slip up”. The slip-up could look like one missed workout, a more indulgent meal, or an excessive snacking session late at night when no one was around to judge me.
Usually, when I would have a slip up on the ice, it became more of a fall through the ice type of setback. Probably because I hadn’t learned to truly understand the tire analogy yet. Have you heard it before? The analogy says something along the lines of if you had one flat tire, would you go ahead and slash the other three too? No probably not. That’s pretty ridiculous and unnecessary if you ask me, but that was essentially what I was doing each time I wasn’t perfect in my methods to lose weight. I would engage in some sort of ‘tire slashing’ activity all because I veered outside the lines of JUSSSSST a little bit.
Maybe you’ve been there too.
Maybe you have had those conversations with yourself where you say, “Oh well, I already ate one cookie I mine as well eat 5 more.” or “I don’t have to be in a bathing suit anytime soon, I’ll just start again next month.”
Maybe you have aimed for perfectionism in your life only to come up short each time.
Well here’s the good news: You are never going to be perfect.
How dare you tell me that my willpower isn’t strong enough?
How dare you tell me that I am not capable of achieving.
I have achieved many things in life and I won’t stop now.
If this was your reaction, I hear you and I want to ask you a question about perfectionism:
What is the cost?
Not the tangible dollar amount, but what is the cost on your mind, your well-being, and your emotional health, to continue in perfectionist tendencies?
For me it was a level of pressure on myself, failing to meet unrealistic expectations I set, strained social gatherings, obsessive thoughts, an unhealthy relationship with food, a judgemental perception, and excessive critical self-talk just to name a few.
I am not sure what it is exactly for your friend, but may I propose something to you as an alternative?
Maybe the goal in any sort of lifestyle or behavior change isn’t perfection, but persistence.
Think about it this way. Where do you think you would be today if you never gave up even when you “slipped up”? That’s not to shame you or make you feel guilty, not at ALL, it’s to help you see that perfection isn’t sustainable. Perfection isn’t realistic.
In working with clients as a personal trainer, this is usually a barrier we have to break early on so that the client can forgive their past mistakes and methods. I always help them understand that their past failed attempts are not necessarily their fault. It is simply because the approach used wasn’t sustainable or realistic and this time will be different.
Friend, I pose this new perspective to you because it works. I have seen many past clients walk away because they didn’t see results in a short amount of time instead of sticking it out, persisting, and preparing for continual challenges and breakthroughs on their journey.
Perfection is a destination that can never be reached whereas persistence is a journey to be explored & endured.
So if you’re going to give up on anything, give up on your perfectionistic ways. Give up on the unrealistic expectations and the pressures you place on yourself. Just never give up on yourself. You are worthy of way more!
Ready to explore your next steps? Book a connect call with me today & let’s find out what’s been holding you back from reaching your fitness goals and living a life you love.
Alexa Fan, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Alexa Fan, is a leader in fitness, nutrition, and behavior change. After years of unhealthy habits ranging from binge eating to overexercising, Alexa entered college at the pinnacle of her un-health. In studying health and exercise science, Alexa learned the values and principles that lead to a healthy, fit, and nourishing life in mind, body, and spirit. After losing 35 pounds and gaining confidence, knowledge, and freedom from guilt and perfectionism, Alexa now devotes her life to teach others how to do the same. Her clients range from busy moms, to working professionals, business owners, and women living with purpose. She is the owner of Alexa Fan Wellness and Creator of The Fan Method.