As a Type A, competitive, driven person, the phrase that has become a theme in my life the last few years is “progress, not perfection.”
Is anyone else a recovering perfectionist?
It’s so easy to set a high bar for myself and then become discouraged or frustrated when those goals are not met, without recognizing and celebrating the progress along the way.
The negativity is dangerous.Our minds soak up those critical messages as truth- they don’t know the difference between I feel like a failure and I am a failure.
If it’s not something we would say to a friend, we shouldn’t say it to ourselves, either.
These are a few of the areas that I’m working to accept progress over perfection:
- Fitness– I used to stress over a missed workout or wonder how to fit everything in when I’m traveling but I’ve learned to do my best and enjoy the extra rest days. Progress… not perfection.
- Healthy living– I still occasionally have an emotional eating day or week when I’m down. In the past, I would have been beating myself up for losing control.
Instead, I’ve learned to keep going forward, choosing not to dwell on poor choices.
It shouldn’t have the power to bring down my mood, so why let it? Why give it that power?
A healthy living journey has room for off days (or weeks).
Progress… not perfection.
Career- I’m always dreaming up new things I want to do with my work and all that I want to accomplish (start an e-book, offer group health coaching, read a bazillion more books) rather than focusing on the balanced wahm- sahm balance I’ve created and love. I’m choosing to be content where I am with the progress I’ve made. I have a whole lifetime to check off my career “to do” list. Progress… not perfection.
Family Balance- My work hours are very part time, and there are many days when I wish I had gotten more done, or had time to comment on more blogs, or could have had an extra hour or two to myself… but this is the only time my daughter will be little. I need to soak it up! So I’ve stopped the multi-tasking with my phone or checking emails in between moments of play. Progress… not perfection.
Quiet time/meditation/prayer– I’ve had great intentions of holding myself to more quiet time in the mornings or evenings to slow down and breathe, but it wasn’t happening. Finally, I gave myself permission to take just 5 minutes (rather than the 30 or whatever I thought was “ideal”) and I started actually following through and doing it. Progress… not perfection.
Naming the progress and good things in each day shifts my whole perspective to one of gratitude, contentment and joy.
- Do you struggle with negative thoughts if you don’t meet your own expectations for yourself?
- What is one way this month you’ve seen progress, not perfection?
Laura is a Holistic Health Coach who helps women navigate controversial nutrition info and determine what works best for their body to reach goals, without dieting. She is a mom of one and one on the way, a running coach and spin instructor. She blogs about health and running.