Monday, May 17, 2010

Perfection: Setting Yourself Up For Failure

"A lot of disappointed people have been left standing on the street corner waiting for the bus marked 'Perfection.' " Donald Kennedy

I've had this quote hanging in my laundry room for a couple of years now. Every now and then I'll look at it and remember I'm not going to be perfect and that's ok.

In my mind I have the energy of 10. I think about eating perfectly and doing double workouts every day. I think, If I was a professional athlete I'd be in such great shape because I'd be able to workout all day. Well, guess what, I'm not. And even my best laid intentions sometimes go unfulfilled. However, I try not to let my unfulfilled desire take me off course of what I'm really trying to achieve. What I'm learning is I need MENTAL STRENGTH. I think when you are learning to change your unhealthy habits having strong mental toughness is as important as anything else you can learn.

Thinking you can do this challenge or just get healthy without any bumps in the road is setting yourself up for failure. Success comes from persevering not from perfection. If you hit a rough patch you can't beat yourself up over it. You need to put it behind you and move forward. You can't quit.

We don't see athletes have a bad game, not win the gold, or miss the winning shot and decide they are going to quit the sport. That wouldn't make sense. So why when we miss our mark our instinct is to throw in the towel. We need to stop. We are strong women. We need to love ourselves not put ourselves down for not being perfect. (And that goes for all areas of our lives.)

I recently read in You On A Diet, by Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz some smart tips I'd like to share.

When using a GPS it tells you exactly what to do. But let's say you make a mistake and miss a turn or turn onto the wrong street. The GPS doesn't berate you, doesn't scold you, doesn't tell you that you might as well drive off a cliff...Instead, all it says, very politely, is this: "At the next available moment, make an authorized U-turn." The GPS allows for mistakes and tries to help you correct them. That's the kind of mentality we want you to have.

What kills any regimen of healthy eating isn't the occasional dessert or slice of pizza; it's the cascade of behavior that happens after the initial indulgence.

Make A YOU-turn. You need to understand that you can make mistakes but that you can correct and overcome them with some nonjudgmental coaxing.

MENTAL:'s OK to stray occasionally, that you can take control of the situation and steer yourself back, and that the positive reinforcement and confidence that come with overcoming challenges will give you the mental strength of a tank.

I personally think that mental toughness is a hard thing to achieve but once you do you will be happier with yourself and you'll more easily see your personal successes. Hopefully this challenge and knowing you are accountable makes getting back on track a little easier and helps build the mental toughness you need to truly make a lifestyle change not just "I'm doing this now" change.


  1. Audrey, you are correct, of course! Turns out that anything you want to achieve in life requires some sort of mental strength, whether it be dealing with school, health(y) challenges, or just being a mom. Great post!

  2. Did you sense my attitude today? Let's just say the weekend didn't go as well as I wanted, and all day today I've had a hard time getting on track again. I was going to do a post on "the importance of positive attitude...and today I don't have it" I needed this post. It's so hard to work on changing your mental attitude, but absolutely true. I think that's more than half of my battle. The mind games I play with myself fails me. This post has put me at peace tonight and assured me that it's okay of the mistakes I've made. They are done, and now it's time to move forward.

  3. Audrey, well said. I love how you used pro athletes as an example of not giving up. That put things into perspective for me. It is the only way they can become great, because they don't give up. We can be like that too! Thanks Audrey.

  4. Great post, Aud, and just what I needed to hear after yesterday (Hello bake sale cookies, peanut butter with reeses pieces. Why yes, I will eat 45 of you. Thanks for asking.)

  5. So much of what we're doing here is either mental or emotional. I'm with you on that one.

    I don't know the exact quote, but I recall something about how the most successful people in the world are not successful because they are more gifted in some way or another than the average person, but because they stayed the course, plugged away despite set backs, kept their eyes on the prize.

    Thanks for the motivation, Audrey!

  6. Beautiful post! We call the GPS on our trips "Bubbles" because the lady who speaks is so KIND when she tells you take the next available u-turn. :) We need to be kinder to ourselves and stop being an all or nothing type person (who me?)


  7. Great Post! It is always my mind that says you cannot run one more step or you are so done. I need to learn to push through it and stay positive. We do need to be kinder to ourselves. My expereince with GPS's is not so great. I had one stop talking because I would not make the u-turn, which was illegal, that it wanted me to make. My friends got a very good laugh at that. Apparently the GPS had never stopped talking to them.