Are you a perfectionist?
Perfectionism is often viewed as a necessary trait for all uber-motivated gym-goers and the super fit. But I’d argue that somewhere along the line we got perfectionism confused with determination. Let me say that last part again – DON’T CONFUSE PERFECTION WITH DETERMINATION!
So what’s the difference? Determination is a goal-focused and steadfast pursuit of your purpose. It is what allows you to learn and bounce back after a set back. Determination makes you pick yourself back up and try again! Perfectionism, on the other hand, doesn’t actually care if you reach your goals, it only cares how you reach your goals – and that’s where it gets tricky! Stay with me here…
When you accomplish the thing you set out to do, perfectionism is the little voice in your head that says “I should’ve pushed harder,” “I wish I would’ve gone faster” and “I could’ve done it better.” It’s not super helpful and quite frankly it’s a major downer. Perfectionism, or the lack of perfection, is the reason so many who set out on a path towards a healthier, more fit life end up discouraged, frustrated and eventually quit. If this sounds a little too familiar and you are ready to make a change and achieve real, sustainable results through balance and determination, contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation now!
Being a perfectionist is not an efficient long-term strategy. It’ll never lead you to where you really want to be. IF it does bring the results you seek, chances are, those results and that feeling of accomplishment will be short lived. But, as I said, I would doubt you ever really end up reaching any of your true goals in the first place, and rather, end up stalling out your progress in the process. Here’s how:
4 Ways Perfectionism Holds You Back
1. You do too much.
Constantly trying to do more and go harder usually leads to insufficient recovery. It may show up as feeling like you need “breaks” from your workouts or like your body is getting weaker and constantly achy. This, my friends, is called burnout. Ultimately, the search for perfection can lead to injury if you push through burnout and fatigue when you know you shouldn’t. Injuries and burnout are the number one killers of progress. You need rest and recovery for any true long term success.
2. You take an all-or-nothing approach. A “go big or go home” mentality can also lead you to skip workouts when you’re feeling time-crunched, tired, a little funky, or you otherwise know you’ll be dragging yourself through the workout. The “all or nothing” approach is a dangerous one, indeed. Fear of turning in a less-than-stellar performance means that half-assing it or easing up is not an option for perfectionists, resulting in frequently missed workouts since no one can be “on” all the time. Inconsistency will most definitely halt your progress in the long term. Again, this is a time when many quit the pursuit of their goals. Missed workout = not perfect = I should quit. Check out our previous post, “STOP TRYING TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE!”, for some help in combatting this common progress killer!
3. You’re your own worst enemy…and your own biggest critic.
There’s an important distinction to be made between self-improvement in areas that are holding you back VS actively searching for things to improve in the hopes of nit-picking yourself closer to some image of perfection. No one stays motivated long-term when they’re constantly made to feel not good enough. This includes you. Stop the negative self-talk and celebrate your progress, however insignificant it may seem.
4. You make yourself pay. It’s not okay to “make up” for something you did or didn’t do by doing something you know is not good for you. A perfect example of this is skipping a meal after missing a workout or overeating. Look, I get that you think this is how to get “back on track,” and your mind is telling you this is the way to do it, but doing damage control by intentionally depriving your body of the things it desperately needs as punishment for anything is just plain silly and counterproductive. Balance is key when it comes to getting sustainable and long lasting results.
Bottom line: If fitness isn’t making you less stressed, more confident, healthier and happier, then you’re doing it wrong. Workouts and proper nutrition should be tools that you use to take care of your body and mind, not to punish them or run them ragged as you journey toward a destination that doesn’t actually exist. You should be working out and pursuing this lifestyle because you love your body, not because you hate it!
Rather than trying to attain some impossible ideal of fitness perfection, seek improvement in all areas of your life. You’ll find that this approach is sustainable and far more likely to lead to log term happiness. Don’t be a perfectionist! Be a determination-ist ß That’s a word, right?! (If you said “No” maybe that is because you are a perfectionist!) Be determined in reaching your goals. Be determined in achieving personal bests. Be determined to do better than you did yesterday, or last week…BUT, if something doesn’t go as planned, or you fall short in your endeavor, don’t punish, or be too hard on, yourself. Learn, grow, recommit, and try again, with the same determination in your heart! You will get there and when you do, it will last longer and mean more!