Just Do Something

Yesterday was one of THOSE days. I apparently left my brain at home that morning because I acted like an airhead on more than one occasion, and a bunch of little things at work added up to make one frustrating day. I came home feeling tired and defeated. Then I made dinner, which was poppyseed chicken that I had taken out of the freezer. I was so proud for having a meal stashed away that I could just whip out and put in the oven, but then I ended up cooking it too long, and it tasted dry and unsatisfying. That means that of course after dinner, I wanted something else. So I had a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and that wasn’t satisfying either. Instead of distracting myself with something besides food (like, I don’t know, PRAYER), I just finished off the container (there was probably about 2 scoops left in there, so 3 scoops in all). Then I sat there feeling weak and pathetic. I had planned to do a quick 2 mile workout using an oldie but goodie fitness DVD, but after eating all that ice cream, I just felt gross. The thought crossed my mind: “I’ve already blown it today, so why bother?”

WHY do I think this way? I am sure anyone else who has tried to lose weight has experienced similar moments (please tell me I am not alone in this!). If I don’t follow my plan to the letter, then the temptation to abandon it altogether is strong. If I don’t have time for a solid 45- or 60-minute workout, then I often skip exercising altogether because I can’t do as much as I would like. I tell myself it has to be all or nothing, and when I can’t do it all, far too often I choose to do nothing.

Of course, this whole mindset is ridiculous! As I’ve written before, I wouldn’t do this in other areas of my life. If I overslept for work, I wouldn’t just miss the whole day. If I failed a test, I certainly wouldn’t quit going to class (well, except for that one time in college when I dropped Advanced Spanish Literature, but I digress). I realized last night that the problem is perfectionism. I set these lofty, often impossible expectations for myself, and if I don’t think I can perfectly meet them, then I stop trying. Even though I know I know I KNOW I will never be perfect, I still insist on having this perfectionist mentality. The reality, however, is that I am just setting myself up for failure because perfection is not attainable. I will lose that contest every time.

So I’m changing the rules. Instead of trying to be perfect, I am just going to do something. Last night I may have overeaten, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t redeem the evening by also exercising. So even though it was 8:30, I pulled out that DVD, and I did 25 minutes of “power walking.” No, it wasn’t an hour. No, it probably didn’t even come close to burning the amount of calories needed to make up for that ice cream. But it was better than nothing, and I will take something over nothing any day.

The wonderful thing about each day that we are given is that we don’t have to end it in failure. By God’s grace, we can find redemption, whether that’s in the form of a quick run around the block, or an apology to your spouse or friend, or a much-needed phone call with a loved one.

What about you? Do you struggle with perfectionism, and if so, how do you combat it?

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3 thoughts on “Just Do Something

  1. Way to go, Erin, for doing something when you felt so down!!! I struggle with perfectionism quite often, and just like you, I struggle to do something when I can't do it all. God has helped me in this area and continues to help me when I feel defeated. So glad I'm not the only one! Love and hugs, Jessica Alvarez

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  2. I completely understand. I have the same problem – my classic line to Tyson after a setback (even just one small setback) is, “Well…this day is screwed.” Haha. Probably a better choice of words out there, but when I'm mad at myself, it's all that comes to mind. I've been sick since Sunday night, so my huge to-do list and exercise plans for the week had to be put aside so I could get well. Even when I'm perfectly well, there are always other setbacks. Lack of time, lack of energy, lack of interest… these have all come to me at various points. 🙂 I've been trying to use my personal problem with laziness to my advantage, however. I've had to deny my cravings for sweets at night because I simply haven't had them in my house. I just ate an orange for my snack because it's all I really have in the house to eat. I even got frustrated a couple of nights ago because I really wanted dessert after, like you mentioned in your post, an unsatisfying dinner and I complained to Tyson, “Why don't we keep junk food in this house?!” We typically do keep junk food around, but lately, we've tried to cut it out completely – and it's really helped, although it's been frustrating as well. Sometimes I just don't want an apple or an orange. One thing that's helped is having Nutella around because when I absolutely HAVE to have something bad for me (or, at least, when I feel like I do) eating an orange with Nutella fills my craving for cookies and ice cream and deliciousness. So, anyway, all this to say…I relate. Very much so!

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  3. Oh my, I completely understand! That's why my old mentality used to be that if I started out strong on a Monday and screwed up on Tuesday, I would wait until the following Monday to start out strong again. Talked about a screwed up way of thinking!! You are definitely not alone!

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