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Trapped in the Perfectionist Paradox??


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I have a story for you that I think is important for you to hear, so listen up...

I was on a coaching call with a client this past week, who was struggling with the nutrition part of her program.

She was having  a hard time with knowing what to eat, how much to eat, and with figuring out what was really healthy versus what was just good marketing (a fair concern).

She talked about how she had done so many diets before that didn't work, that didn't last, or that turned out to be b.s. advice, and just felt like she was going to experience more of the same failure again and didn't know what to do.

I knew then and there we were deep in the perfectionist paradox. 

What exactly is the perfectionist paradox?? 

It's where our fear of failure (or just misstepping) keeps us stuck in inaction. But in not acting, we manifest the exact outcome that failure itself would bring.

In this case, she was falling back into old eating patterns, because she was worried that if she fumbled with her diet, it would bring her right back to... you guessed it, her old eating patterns. 

This is what I told her...

When I first got into fitness, I would workout 5 days per week for 2 weeks. But by the end of the second week, I would always think, Crap... I'm going to have to do this for the rest of my life! There's no way I can stay this consistent for the next 60+ years, so it's pointless! I'm out. And I would go back to not working out at all. 

This of course sounds ridiculous when I write it out here, but it's the thought pattern a lot of us fall into, am I right?? We look at the massive picture of our lives and figure if we can't fulfill a habit to the nth degree, we may as well give up.

But that's not how success, our body, or life works.

Think about it, if you failed a couple tests or missed a few days of school did you not graduate?

If you messed up and yelled at your kid when they didn't deserve it, did someone come and take them away saying you were a failure of a parent?

Did you put on 20 pounds after having one crap meal at a restaurant??

No! The outcomes of your life don't come from all-or-nothing wins or losses; they come from majority rule. 

Do you eat well and exercise majority of the time? You'll be fit and healthy.

Are you loving and thoughtful in your relationships majority of the time? You'll have positive connections to those around you.

Do you do stellar work at your job on most projects? You'll be a valued employee.

The point is this, when you find yourself being held back by perfectionism, by fear of failure, by an all-or-nothing mindset, you have to check in with yourself and give yourself the logical counterargument. Prove to yourself, with examples from your own life, that success is about progress, not perfection. 

And don't for one second make the mistake of thinking you'll ever have it down perfectly. Life is long. Assume you're going to have many missteps along the way, know that you'll use those missteps to learn and grow moving forward, and it won't throw you for a loop every time you take a spill. 

Alright my wonderful type-A perfectionists out there, here's your homework (and I know you'll do it because, if you're anything like me, you can't leave an assignment incomplete haha), comment below with one messy action you're going to take this week. 

I'll go first, I'm going to meditate 2 times this week for 10 minutes a pop. I know I would get way more benefit by doing it more often and for a longer period of time, but something is better than nothing. 

Your turn!!


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