When it comes to exercise, are you focused only on results? Do you beat yourself up if you come up short of your lofty goals? Do you get impatient waiting to see results from your nutrition and exercise regimen?
If you answered yes to these questions, it’s more than likely you have some perfectionist tendencies—at least when it comes to your personal fitness and nutrition regimen.
Let good be good enough
I first heard this quote from my mom, but Voltaire is credited for his thoughtful principle “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” It’s okay to let good be good enough. For me, I saw relevance of this quote in several situations: working out and eating healthy, not being overly critical when it comes to school work, being satisfied with landing an internship before a job, being satisfied with tackling just a portion of your housework, and the list goes on.
Yet, I see its relevance most with regard to working out and eating healthy. Perfectionism has some serious negative effects including elevated stress levels and low self-esteem, and it leaves you never feeling satisfied with yourself and your efforts.
A much healthier perspective is focusing on the positives that you accomplish that contribute to your healthy lifestyle. Rather than feeling like you blew your whole day because you gave into that warm baked chocolate chip cookie, or feeling frustrated because you only made it to the gym three days that week, focus on the good things you did achieve.
The reality is, with a perfectionist “all or nothing” perspective, you’re more likely to make unhealthy choices.
Instead of getting down on yourself for not working out 5 days a week or enjoying dessert after dinner, focus on the good things you’ve done each day to contribute to a healthier you. Set small goals for the next day—like drink water instead of soda, eat breakfast, or get in a quick walk during your lunch break.
Healthy = happy
It’s important to appreciate the efforts you make toward your goals, or you’ll never feel satisfied. I often find that I feel healthiest when I’m happiest. Focus your efforts on doing the things that are most satisfying to you and contribute to your happiness. For some, it means hitting the gym or going rollerblading; others it may be preparing a healthy meal or going for an early morning walk.
I’d like to know your personal perspectives on living a healthy lifestyle. What are some of the things you do to feel satisfied and happy with who you are?