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Are you the victim of your inner perfectionist?

Updated: Sep 16, 2019

By Jackie Bland

Are you the victim of your inner perfectionist? Unable to move forward in new directions because you just can’t make things good enough?

You want to eat more healthily, for example, but you don’t start because you can’t give up those unhealthy things – chocolate, alcohol, chips...

You’d like to be fitter, stronger, more flexible, but you haven’t the time to join a gym, sign up for yoga or cycle to work...

You’d like to learn to paint but can’t spare the time you think you need each day...

You’d like to spend more time with your partner/friend but neither of you can find a whole evening free...

If this is you, it’s time to tell your inner perfectionist that COMPROMISE IS GREAT!!

Instead of approaching change or improvement as something that has to be achieved all at once, or needs some great comprehensive plan – just make a start – any start.

If your eating is unhealthy, just make one change. If you can’t bear to give up anything at all that pleases your taste buds, at least add in something good – more veg, more fruit, more water perhaps...

If you worry that you don’t get enough exercise, and fear you’d fail at an ambitious regime, just make one small change – perhaps set out once a day, from home or work, and walk 5 minutes in one direction and then 5 minutes back. If you did this just 6 times a week, that’s an hour’s extra exercise with minimal effort or adjustment.

If you want to learn to relax and meditate, don’t expect yourself to sit for 20 minutes like a Buddhist monk; 3 minutes a day benefits your brain and is easy to do – start with that.

And if you and your partner can’t make a full-on date to enrich your relationship, then first carve out a few minutes just to talk, walk or eat together – even an extra phone call would be a start.

The point is that the positive, goal oriented, advanced part of our brains will help us to advance if we just get started, whereas if we set ourselves too great a task – aim for ‘perfection’, then the more primitive, negatively biased part of our brain will trigger a fear that it’s all too stressful and threatening, and hold you back.

Something is always better than nothing, or in the words of the ancient Chinese Philosopher Lao Tsu: ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’

Why not begin your journey today?

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