Day 3 already – I hope you’re feeling on top of your game!
You might have noticed my emails this year are a little less “what are macros” and a little more “getting your head in the game”.
As Keto has gained popularity over the years, there is SO much information out there on the fundamentals of Keto.
It’s best left to the experts – the nutritionists and doctors – to explain these mechanics.
And, if it was as easy as learning about macros or counting carbs, then we would all have nailed it by now.
But it’s not that easy, is it?
How many of us have started Keto successfully more than once, only to slip or fall or crash land off the wagon?
That’s why I’m focusing on the mental side in these initial emails.
So today I want to talk about perfectionism and how it derails our best efforts.
Because did you know…
CHASING IMPERFECTION IS INSECURITY IN DISGUISE
YEP. Perfection is not an achievable goal. It doesn’t even mean anything.
If you are trying to be perfect, 9 times out of 10, it’s actually insecurities pushing you.
Chasing perfection might look like;
– following a meal plan to the letter
– looking ‘perfect’ or having the perfect body
– home cooking every single meal
– only eating ‘perfect’ ingredients
– being the perfect wife, mother, daughter, sister, workmate, human
The biggest one when it comes to a healthy lifestyle:
When we think we have not been perfect, we throw in the towel and make it worse. We eat the whole packet of Tim Tams because we had one.
We had a bad Saturday so we make it a bad weekend (or week.. or month)..
And the insecurity part? That’s when we beat ourselves up for NOT meeting these impossible goals.
Because they are impossible. Even if you achieve what you consider to be ‘perfect’, it’s rarely sustainable.
And often we’ve measured ourselves as successful against these unachievable goals.
We think we will be happy once we FINALLY weigh 60kgs again like we did when we were 23.
We think we will achieve this ridiculous state of Nirvana, if only we exercise every single day for the rest of our lives.
Or we will finally get acknowledged and get a promotion if we do every task at work perfectly.
So what do we do about perfectionism?
Here’s a great article from Harvard Business Review for those that want to dig into it, but here’s some key takeaways that apply in this context;
1. See the big picture
Are you using your time effectively? Does making some thing “perfect” actually make it any better than “very good”?
In my day job in healthcare software, we talk a lot about the “Minimum Viable Product” – ie. what is the most basic and quickest thing that actually achieves the objective?
2. Adjust your standards
Get some outside feedback on your ‘not good enough’ and you’ll quickly see it’s probably plenty good enough. Instead of going into a shame spiral that you ate bad food yesterday or that your parenting isn’t up to scratch, chat with a trusted friend and I guarantee it will give some perspective and put your standards in line. We are SO much harder on ourselves than we need to be.
3. Break the cycle of rumination
Those thoughts going round and round your head are not helpful, especially if it’s about a past action you deemed ‘not good enough’.
Learn a lesson from them, journal about them or talk with a friend about it and then MOVE ON.
Put them in the past and say farewell to them, they don’t deserve brain space anymore.
4. Celebrate progress
Progress not perfection – that is the goal. Find little steps of progress, and remember you’ll take backward steps but the general direction is forward. A journey of finding a healthy lifestyle is up and down and unpredictable.
There is no perfect way to do it, because life is not perfect. It throws us curve balls and we have to be ready to catch them, add them to our juggling and keep going.
Enjoy the wonkiness, the craziness of life and relax if things don’t go to plan.
Having a plan is good, but having balance in your life is better.