Perfection is the Enemy of Progress

perfection quote

“I should be perfect.”  If we were playing Family Feud at Hilton Head Health, this would be the #1 answer on the board for “thoughts that interfere with your healthy eating and exercise.”  Although you, like many people, know that perfection is impossible, you may continue to strive for it.  You may wear yourself out, physically and mentally, trying to be perfect.  When you don’t meet your unrealistic expectations for your eating and physical activity, you may be very disappointed, feel like a failure, and wind up giving up. 

To challenge your perfectionism …

Give yourself permission to make mistakes.  Mistakes are a sign that you are human.  In most situations, making a mistake is not the end of the world. 

Ask yourself “what’s the worst thing that could happen if I weren’t perfect in this situation?”  Then ask “How terrible would that really be?” 

Aim for excellence, not perfection.  Performing tasks well is important.  In some cases, a task may only need to be done “well enough.”  I used to re-load the dishwasher because I could fit more dishes in than my room mate.  I wasted hours on a task that didn’t require anything near perfection.  To make time for your healthy eating and physical activity, something has to give. 

If you strove for excellence instead of perfection, and if you accepted that sometimes “good enough” really IS good enough, how would your life be better?

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