How to avoid the perfectionism trap

by Belinda on September 18, 2010

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Today I’d like to have a little chat with you about perfectionism. This is a topic that comes up almost every day as I interact with my clients. And I have to confess that it’s something I struggle with as well.

First of all, the desire to master something is a healthy thing in and of itself. It’s when you get preoccupied with being perfect every step of the way that it becomes a problem. The most humbling lessons in perfectionism for me came when I first learned to surf. I fell off the board hundreds of times before catching a wave when first starting out.

After my first couple of years of surfing a woman in my surfing club encouraged me to enter the Australian Nationals competition.  This ended up being a near death experience! I had to be rescued by a jet ski and almost ended up smashed on the rocks. Talk about humbling.

After my rescue, a teammate encouraged me to get back on my board and ride a wave or two so I could score some points and get to the next round. I did that and all the teams from around Australia cheered wildly for me, even though my performance that day was so very far from perfect.

Yet as I looked back on that day I saw how I did make improvement, because I developed more courage as a result of that experience. So instead of thinking about perfectionism, focus on the evolution of your journey, the day to day progress.

If your goal is to become lean and more fit, don’t lose sight of how awesome it feels to eat well and be more fit. That’s far more important than a perfect body. Whatever  your goal is, you might change course several times before you finally get there, and might have a dramatic wipeout or two.

The Japanese have a word for this called “kaizen,” which means continuous improvement. I wish you much kaizen as you continue to move forward on your journey.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie September 19, 2010 at 2:01 am

That is so true Belinda! I struggle with my perfectionist side daily. But the one thing I have learnt along the way is to love your body as it is NOW and it will respond to that love and become what you desire it to be.
And it really is a journey… savoring each clean meal as you eat it, knowing you are feeding it clean fuel to run on; giving it your all every time you exercise, knowing that your body will grow in response…
Most of all enjoying each moment that we have in our wonderful, physical apparatus…

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admin September 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Hello Marie – lovely to hear from you! There is a lot of wisdom in your words……

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