These days, it can seem as though you have to go all-in or nothing is worth it.
Whether it’s backing your favorite political candidate, making sure your child gets into a good college, or cleaning up your diet, our culture strives to win – and for many of us, that means perfection with no room for failure.
But what about when our choice isn’t victorious, our child comes home with a less-than-average score, or we just want a chocolate chip cookie in the middle of the afternoon?
It can lead to frustration, disappointment, and the thought of giving up.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
While some doctors may prefer a zero to 100 approach, I believe that small, realistic changes can not only help you achieve your long-term goal(s), but beauty and love can be found in imperfections along the way.
Following, I discuss three areas of life where flexibility can provide growth and joy while still getting you to where you want to be.
If you’ve ever said to yourself that you are going to clean up your diet starting Monday and by Wednesday have already broken that promise, you know how hard it can be to make a lasting change when it comes to what you eat and drink.
This is why it’s important to be realistic and kind to yourself when making a big change. Small shifts over time can result in a big impact so don’t feel guilty for not being able to eliminate all sugar for a month or a week, or gosh – even a day at first! It’s okay to take your time to get to where you want to be.
Here are some suggestions I have for cleaning up your diet in small ways:
– eat protein every time you eat sugar
– consume a vegetable at every meal
– hydrate with your body weight in ounces every day
– have a bowl of freshly washed fruit on the counter to reach for when hungry
Will there be times when you still want chocolate cake? a glass of wine? a juicy burger?
And that’s okay for those without a medically strict diet. Sometimes, we just need comfort (at times of grief, stress, anxiety, and panic) and consuming our favorite foods and beverages can serve a purpose in that moment. (I may or may not have baked a double batch of chocolate chip cookies recently to get through a tough week!)
Just remember that your needs change and although you may have eaten gluten and dairy free last week, if you feel stressed now, be compassionate to yourself if you need a slice of pizza.
This does not mean you have failed. It means that you are human and that reaching your goal of clean eating isn’t linear – it’s dynamic.
The act of being in and aware of the moment, I believe mindfulness is one of the most beneficial things for our mental and physical health.
While it’s commonly recommended to meditate for mindfulness, finding time for it can be hard! There are many programs that promote daily practice, but it’s not realistic for everyone.
Whether it’s bringing your attention to your breath while sitting in traffic or opening up an app to calm your mind before bed, mindfulness can encourage you to find clarity, enjoy the moment, and experience gratitude – daily or just whenever you remember and find time.
3. Our Family.
Imperfection in our family? That may be hard to admit when we are browsing social media or talking to our neighbors, but none of us is perfect…including our kids.
We live in an age where good grades, scholarships, degrees, and money are signs of success. It’s not enough for our kids to just play a sport or like math…we need them to be the best at it.
Although these are still good goals, too much pressure can lead to stress and unhappiness for them…and for you.
It may be time to rethink expectations of what you really desire for your child and family.
– good health
– critical thinking
or is it winning, exceeding, and being on top?
We can provide the framework for our child’s goals, but dictating how he/she gets there and our fear of them failing along the way? Well, that may be the actual failure.
Be a role model for your kids by showing plenty of love, compassion, kindness, contentment and self-care – they absorb everything, even if they can’t articulate it. Make progress over perfection a priority!
This can result in stronger family relationships filled with trust and acceptance versus struggles that harbor negative feelings and shame.
Because you (and your children) aren’t perfect, there is beauty in that. We are all human and living a healthy life and one full of purpose needs understanding, flexibility, and a growth-mindset.
How will you choose to go after your goals?
Are you struggling with wanting to better your health, yet feel guilty for not being perfect at it? I understand and want to help. If you live in Boulder or the Denver metro area, please call me at (720) 340-0193 or contact me here.
You don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. You already are.