Sometimes I get sidelined due to the “all or none” syndrome. I’ll think about organizing a room or my desk, consider the time involved to do the work, and talk myself out of it. The project FEELS monumental; I know I won’t be able to get it done perfectly in the allotted amount of time, so why bother at all? I’ll wait until another day when I can do it right. Nothing happens. The perfection monster wins again.
In reality, I am certainly capable of spending a small chunk of time, say 15 or 30 minutes a day, to work on the project. Over the course of a week, whatever it is that I’m working on will be greatly improved.
The same scenario often happens with fitness programs and healthy eating. We make a plan to work out three times a week and cut out processed foods. For a couple weeks, all goes well and we are feeling good. Then, one of the kids gets sick, we’re up late and miss our date at the gym, or a friend has a birthday celebration and we join the pizza party. We not only miss a workout, we eat the pizza. The “all or none” syndrome and perfection monster strike again, and we feel bad.
I have my workouts scheduled on my calendar and I consciously consider food choices that are most beneficial for my health goals. Sometimes things happen and my plans get derailed with both. Sometimes I choose to eat the donut because it’s amazing. I don’t think about making up my missed workouts on the weekend (which for me is not realistic), or starving for a day. My solution is to pick up where I left off. It’s not perfect. It still works.
With anything, consistency is the key to accomplishing a goal. It’s also known as “The Slight Edge” principle, which I learned about in the book by the same name. Jeff Olson is the author and it’s one of my favorite books. For example, taking a 20 minute walk everyday is easy to do and easy to not do. Consider the difference in your health if you do it almost everyday for a year, or if you don’t do it at all. Taking that walk even 80% of the time will bring about positive results.
The same idea, if I implement it, will help me organize my desk. A little time spent working on this project each day will bring me less chaos.
This coming week, I’ll work on my desk and get to the gym. Is there some goal that you can commit to doing that will improve your health or your life? It’s okay if we don’t get it perfect. In the world of “all or none” thinking, “none” usually wins. Today, I’m going for good enough.
“Have no fear of perfection–you’ll never reach it.”–Salvador Dali