Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Expectations and Perfectionism

I asked a friend for some advice today on body fat percentage, since mine went up as opposed to where I wanted it to go.  She gave very good advice and also posted this....thank you Tanya Carter for this.

Drop the expectations. I have to admit, nothing will ruin a good thing like not living up to expectations, especially your own. We are typically our own worst critics and are exceptionally unforgiving when we don't meet our goals in the manner we set out to. It doesn't seem to matter that we eventually met those goals.

This is why I say drop the expectations. Forget limits..., on ...both ends of the spectrum. Do your best, work hard, lose the excuses, and you make progress. It doesn't matter the rate at which things progress, and they will not always go forward, sometimes we get knocked back, but we get up and start moving forward again. So we could have been faster, lost more weight this week, ran a few more kms, pushed a little harder, so what. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a free pass, that's the no excuses part. The only expectation you should put on yourself is not giving up.

Other than that, drop the expectations.

This spoke volumes.  I DO expect a lot from myself, and beat myself up when I don't get there.  This ties in with my problem with perfectionism.  So many times I haven't started something or finished something because it wouldn't be perfect.  After all a job worth doing is a job well done, right?  But sometimes a job worth doing is a job just done.

The pressure from these expectations, and this perfectionism, robs us of the joy we feel when we accomplish something.  We are too busy fretting over how it wasn't done properly or where you could improve.  If you can improve fine...make it a goal but enjoy the fact you have taken the first steps!

I held off running for so long because I thought I couldn't do it 'right'.  I held off doing lots of things I would've loved to do because I wouldn't have done it 'right'.  But then, whammo, I realised you only get one shot at this life.  What am I waiting for? Learn how to do it right, practise, just DO it!

That led me to my first triathlon.  Could I swim?  Nup but eventually I learned how to breaststroke with my head above the water and took part in my first 'fun' triathlon January 2012 where I came 4th.  4th!  Me who wouldn't have dared to try with the old mindset because I couldn't do it 'right'.

Doing it 'right' is not the be all and end all.  Meeting your expectations is not the meaning of life. Failing doesn't stop the world from turning.  But how you react to it, does.  Do you soldier on and try again, learning on the way or do you give up?

Real failure is giving up.
Real failure is not trying. 

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