Improvement vs perfection
Friday, November 22, 2019
There’s a vast difference between trying to improve and expecting perfection! Striving to improve can help me to grow and get stronger (mentally as well as physically), while pushing for perfection sets me up for disappointment and low self esteem.
I like to compete against myself... can I improve on last week’s distance and/or speed etc? Can I be more diligent about sticking to my planned meals, or hit my nutritional targets more consistently? Can I follow through on my bedtime routine, so that I get sufficient sleep? And so on...
I can set SMART goals for myself, and see personal growth, physical weight loss, and overall changes when I apply effort toward reaching those goals. But if I beat myself up if I don’t achieve every goal perfectly, then I am setting myself up for failure in the long run.
This is something that I have a tendency to fall into if I am not cognizant of where my head is at during the week. My perfectionist side is also the source of my procrastinating self. “If I can’t do it perfectly, then why bother starting now?” And if I continually procrastinate then I will not achieve the things that will make me happier, stronger, or healthier.
(Though sometimes I think I need to be content with things as they are... enough can be enough! And constantly striving for change can make me feel like I can never achieve anything completely. So, maybe there are times when I need to stop and appreciate where I am at in the moment, and stop reaching for something else for a minute or two!)
Actually, I firmly believe that absolute perfection is a myth. It doesn’t really exist outside of expectations. I bet if I asked an Olympic caliber athlete if they could improve on their performance in their particular sport, that they would say... yes, they could improve. Any top athlete, artistic performer, or anyone at the top of their respective field would probably say the same. If there is nothing left to strive for, to improve upon, then where would be the motivation to keep doing anything?
Whereas trying to improve, and knowing that I am doing my best even if I never get it “perfectly” right, helps motivate me to keep striving, to keep moving forward.
I guess, I might say that perfection could be the death of motivation.
Motivation is born of the desire to improve, to move beyond where I am today, at this moment. If I have achieved all there is to achieve, then there is no motivation!
So, I find improvement to be useful, but that perfectionism stunts my growth and ability to create change. I know which one I prefer!
Wherever you are in the world I hope you have a perfectly marvelous day! (lol)