The Dark Cloud of Perfectionism

sky-3176547_1920.jpg

The dark cloud of perfectionism has been looming overhead for most of my adult life. In my personal and professional life, decisions are always "maximized" and I'm harder on myself than anyone else has ever been. 

Entering the well-being space has made me more aware of my perfectionist tendencies than ever before. When I first started out, I was worried what people might think if they saw me eating french fries or drinking a beer. I don't have six pack abs and can't do an unassisted pull-up (yet).

I'm realizing lately that the maximizer mentality leaves little room for mindful gratitude, self-confidence, and when it comes to decision making- wastes valuable time.

Research professor, speaker, and author Brene Brown, PhD wrote

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

When I gave it some thought, I realized that the judgement piece is what resonated with me the most. In my life, perfectionism shows up as a dark cloud-dimming the light of achievement and decision making. I get so wrapped up in fear of judgement that I end up swimming in negative self-talk and paralyzed in decision making.

 I've decided that it's time to put down the shield, and leave the cloud behind me. Existence can't be about the pursuit of perfection anymore. There are many times when "good enough" is okay. "Good enough" are the words that keep me moving forward on small tasks so that I can achieve my bigger goals.

Are you a perfectionist? How has it impacted you? Where could you use "good enough?"

 

My Favorite Health and Wellness Tracking Tools

They say that knowledge is power and when it comes to wellness, I couldn't agree more. When asked for advice regarding wellness related issues like needing more movement, better nutrition, and more sleep, one of my first questions is usually "Have you ever tracked <insert wellness metric here>?"

Some people track their metrics daily, but if that seems overwhelming, or too much of a commitment to start off with, I encourage people to track for one week. Tracking is  a great way to check in on your progress and goals. I use it as a wake-up call when I am not feeling my best. (Especially when it comes to food...a little bit o' this and a little bit o' that can add up fast!)

If you want to start using trackers to measure your goals, there are lots of different ways to go about it.

For those of you who prefer the good old fashioned pen and paper method, keeping a journal is a great way to track. Journals come in all different shapes and sizes and can be purchased at every price point.

JOURNALS

Clockwise from Top

1. Luna Journal @ Urban Outfitters

2. R2-D2 Moleskin Notebook @ Amazon

3. Small Lined Notebook @ MochiThings

4. Nikki Strange Narwhal Notebook @ Etsy

As much as I love writing things down, I also love the convenience that my mobile devices provide. Most people usually have their phone with them at all times (for better or for worse). These days, there are so many health related mobile apps (for both iOS and Android) that allow you to track almost anything. 

DIGITAL APPS

 Clockwise from Top

1. MyFitnessPal (available online and as an app)- MyFitness pal is a great way to track your food, nutrients, and exercise. A really great feature is the barcode scanner which uses the camera on your smartphone to "scan" barcodes and instantly search for the item. If someone else has already entered the item into MyFitnessPal, it will add all the appropriate nutrition information automatically. You can also add your own recipes and MFP will provide you with the nutrition content. 

2. Way of Life (app)- This is a simple app where you can set goals for yourself (up to three in the free version) and track your progress each day. 

3. The Five Minute Journal (app)- This is the digital version of the popular hard copy journal. This is a beautiful app which uses positive psychology and cultivating gratitude to make a difference in your day.

4. Habitica (available online and as an app)- This one is for my fellow geeks. Habitica is the app that evolved from HabitRPG and the developers really got it right this time. From their website- "Habitica is a free habit building and productivity app that treats your real life like a game. With in-game rewards and punishments to motivate you and a strong social network to inspire you, Habitica can help you achieve your goals to become healthy, hard-working, and happy." I am a huge fan of gamification (who doesn't like to make things more fun?) and I like the customization options that you get as you make progress on your goals. There is an active forum as well, so you can link up with like-minded users.