My kid wants to be perfect. In fact, he gets super duper mad at himself when he isn't. And when that happens, you better get out of his way because the attitude on this 7 year old is HUGE.
I finally realized this today, after swim lessons. Generally speaking, he's a pretty good swimmer. But this morning, he went to swim lessons where he had one on one instruction for the first time ever with an experienced teacher.
He actually did a pretty great job learning the freestyle stroke and how to breathe properly, but in the car on the way home, you'd have thought he'd been drawn and quartered!
My usually overly talkative boy called himself dumb and then gave us all the silent treatment. He just gets so mad at himself when it's not perfect or he perceives someone else is better than him. In this case, his little sister.
They both did equally well for their age and ability. So I was dumbfounded when he acted this way.
After a bit of reflection, I realized that my job as his mom is to set the expectation from the start, and I failed to do that today. But what I told him when we got home was that no matter what he does in life, he's going to need to be teachable and expect to be bad before he can be good.
I often find this similar scenario with clients. Women get started with a program and are all gung-ho to start, but once the shininess of the desired outcome wears off and the work starts, i.e starts getting hard, they often get discouraged and many times quit altogether.
I mean, the food is new, the workouts are new, the schedule and routine is disrupted and often times previously supportive family suddenly revolt and want things back to "normal" again. Often times, if they aren't seeing the kind of results they'd hoped for immediately, they just quit.
So it's important to set the expectation. When starting anything new, a job, a relationship or especially making a healthy lifestyle change, it's important to remember 5 things.
1. Change takes time and doesn't happen overnight. I feel like we should all know this, but sometimes we just need a reminder, don't we? Give yourself time. Time to adjust, time to change, time to learn. And always remember, you didn't gain 100/50/30 or even 10 pounds overnight, and it's not gonna come off overnight either. Which leads me to my next point.
2. It's always messy before it's perfect. Anything worth doing is going to take patience and practice. I love this quote by Gina DeVee who says, "it's always awkward before it's elegant".
You need to be okay with screwing up. Be okay with not eating 100% on plan all the days from now on. Be okay with the learning curve. Allow yourself room to make mistakes, learn from them and move on.
I can remember when we first changed our diet, how long I used to take in the grocery store because I had to be so diligent about reading labels. Not to mention, I was looking for food I'd rarely, if ever, purchased before, so it took extra long to find it. Now, I can go shopping fairly quickly, even with kids in tow.
3. Practice really does make perfect. Whether you make gradual, small incremental changes, or you change everything all at once, the more you practice, the better you get. There's a reason Couch to 5K doesn't start out with you running a mile without a break. It's because your body and your mind need time to adapt to the changes you're making.
My first days at the gym were similar. 240 pounds of flesh that hadn't exercised in ages, could only last 10 minutes on the elliptical. So what I was only at the gym for a few minutes? At least I went. But the key is, I went again.
4. Stop comparing yourself to Sally Strong. You know the one. She takes the best selfies and usually with her running sisters or her gym pals. She's fit and fabulous and does it all by sheer determination. Well sister, I've got news for you...
That girl has been doing this way longer than you. Don't expect to be at her point V when you're still at point A! Comparing yourself to others is the surest formula for feeling bad about yourself. instead, use their accomplishment as motivation to do better. Who says you can't be her to someone else?
5. Finally, whatever you do, DON'T QUIT. Anytime you find yourself doubting your decision to adopt a healthier lifestyle or you think about quitting because you ate cake and ice cream last night, ask yourself why. Why do you want to quit? And if you quit now, what will you be giving up?
I have a secret for you. This whole thing, it's not easy. If it were, we'd all be size 2 and rocking our bikinis and skinny jeans. But that's not how God made us.
He made each of us unique and He designed you for a purpose. Trust me when I say, He will give you the strength to keep going. All you have to do is ask Him.
Do you struggle with perfectionism? Share with me in the comments what you do to overcome it!