Having coached hundreds of clients in my 20 year career, I have heard countless statements like the following:

“I just need to be better”

“I screwed up on my carb intake. How am I ever going to lose weight if I can’t get this under control”

“I missed my calorie range by 100 calories…ugh”

“I only got to the gym twice this week and my goal was 3 times”

“I hate it when I give in to temptation and eat junk food”

“Starting now I am going to be perfect…no more falling off of the wagon”

Have you ever found yourself using similar lines?

If so you are certainly not alone.

Here is the weird thing about perfectionism…

If you were to have a conversation about it with your best friend, you would likely dismiss it as an undesirable attribute, however, if you look closely at our culture it is taught and accepted widely.

Here are a few examples:

-Corporate America: When is enough enough? When striving for higher profits year after year, the drum of perfectionism is beat in the form of employee reviews, board meetings, retreats, and employee incentives. Lets face it, we are rewarded for perfectionism.

-Parenting: We all want to be the perfect parent. We read books, attend seminars and strive to be perfect in our parenting, but inside we know it is an illusion.

-Education: Get the 4.0. We say that “effort” is the only thing that counts, but when you look at the cut-throat competition that is required for advanced education it is safe to admit that perfectionism is highly coveted.

-Religion and Politics: Yup…I just went here and I will keep it at that! 😉

Brene Brown has this to say about perfectionism:

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”

I could not agree more.

Perfectionism Will Destroy Your Health

As much as I hate to admit it I am a recovering perfectionist myself. As I write this I am wearing an old beat up T-shirt that say’s “Progression over Perfection” and it serves as my constant reminder that life is a dance between the ups and the downs.

But here’s the thing…

The only thing that really matters is the upward trajectory of your life. Focusing on a downward slop that is inevitable in your life is bound to keep you miserable.

I have seen countless perfectionists fail at the game of health and fitness because they are convinced that any “error” is indicative of them being a “failure”. Perfectionists thrive on proving themselves right. They look for evidence of imperfection and use it as prove that they are not worthy of success.

Please do not let this be you.

When it comes to health and wellness, it has to be viewed as a lifelong journey fraught with ups and downs. Yes, there will be times that you are rocking it and you feel like you are on top of the world, but there will also be times when you feel lazy, undetermined and even slothful.

Yup…, I know that sucks to hear but it’s very true.

The Key Is This…

The key to overcoming perfectionism is to elevate your awareness and your consciousness.

What does that mean Griff?

Well, think of it this way. When you are rolling around in the mud of your perfectionism are you really aware that you are engaging in a negative behavior pattern? If you are honest with yourself you are feeling good about yourself and thinking that you are on the right track.

This is where it get’s a bit tricky because subconsciously you feel good about your perfectionism, but consciously you know how it ends and the results are never good!

The key is to catch yourself in the act! You literally have to elevate your awareness far beyond your normal state of consciousness.

You may be asking what that looks like.

When in a state of elevated awareness/consciousness, you will find yourself questioning your established perfectionistic tendencies and beliefs.

You will find yourself shifting your dialogue to the following:

“I know that I am slipping into perfectionism right now and I need to give myself permission to step back allow for error because I know that my mistakes will help teach me on my path”

“It’s okay to want to be better, but part of being better is accepting my mistakes and learning from them”

“I am not wired to be perfect. I am a human being that is wired to learn from my mistakes and enjoy all phases of life.”

“I love my perfect journey of imperfection”

“I know that I am committed to success and that I am very capable of success even when I am not perfect”

I know that these mindsets seem simple on the surface, but make no mistake, they are hard to entrain into your subconscious if you have been beset by years of perfectionistic thinking.

My best advice is to come up with 5-10 affirmations like I just shared and start saying them out loud every time you are tempted into black and white perfectionistic thinking.

Give yourself 3-6 months of doing this and you will slowly start to move the ship. I know it takes time and effort, but it is entirely worth it.

I promise.

You are already perfect, so please stop telling yourself otherwise. Enjoy the journey of life and it will enjoy you back.

Your journey is and always has been perfectly imperfect.

Much love to you my friend,

Life is Good!


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