“The fastest way to break the cycle of perfectionism.. is to give up the idea of doing it perfectly – indeed to embrace uncertainty and imperfection. – Arianna Huffington
Trying to live life perfectly isn’t just impossible, it’s also a prison.
When we live our life by perfectionism, our world is governed by fear and anxiety. Fear that plans will change, we’ll encounter unexpected obstacles, we’ll let ourselves down. Sometimes this fear is so oppressive and intimidating, that we resign ourselves at the first sign of faltering, that it just isn’t possible.
This is exactly why being a perfectionist will make us mess up more, rather than less. Sound counter-intuitive? Here’s the thing- when we run into life’s speed bumps as perfectionists, we’re more likely to say “Screw it!” This happens all the time with our eating behaviors. Have one cookie? You say, “Well, might as well have the whole sleeve!”
In psychology, this is called the Abstinence Violation Effect. We’ve made one transgression, might as well throw the whole plan out the window!
If you’ve considered yourself a perfectionist and find yourself running into this on-and-off a diet cycle, consider that your black-and-white thinking may not be working. Especially if you’re tried this way for a long time, consider that if it did work, you would be totally healed and recovered by now. Truly, I’ve never ever seen perfectionism work in the long-term.
So next time you get the urge to say “screw it” after a misstep, consider that getting right back on your food plan is the only option for long-term success. It’s time to be more compassionate, forgiving, and do your best to stay the course for the long-haul. Trust that you are capable of acting in your integrity with food, it just may take a shift in your beliefs and behaviors- get right back on instead of letting your perfectionism drag you in the opposite direction.
P.P.S. Make sure you add it to your calendar!