Thursday, 5 January 2012

Resolutions? Perfection pending..

There have been a few concepts that have jumped out at me the last few days and so I figured it was probably a good time to collate them and jot them down for my own future reference.

One common theme is your uniqueness, or being true to yourself or just accepting your foibles and being kinder to yourself.
I really enjoyed this blog by Allie at Hyperbole. (There are rude words, but not too many.... and on the graph below.)
Copyright Allie at Hyberbole and a Half
To say I could relate is an understatement. More like she KNOWS me, has been inside my head. Minus the tacos and bank phobia, but I'm sure I could change that to chocolate and just grocery shopping.
Copyright Allie at Hyberbole and a Half

Hands up perfectionists!
I have always classified perfectionists into two camps. Those that try really really hard and don't stop until they consider something perfect. And those who either don't start or give up part way when they realise there is no possibility or little chance of achieving the perceived perfection anytime soon.

Another common article theme I have spied, is one of giving up.  But in a good way. Stop trying to BE perfect thereby setting yourself up for imminent failure. And I totally get that. I cannot be perfect right here, right now. You can't just decide to be perfect and then you are. Perfection is a journey. You can't decide to learn to knit and pick up a pair of needles and knit a complex Fairisle patterned jumper perfectly. Learning a skill takes time. You have to walk before you can run. With some people it takes longer than others. And that skill may be something crafty, something domestic like cooking, cleaning and organisation, or something social like making friends, being patient with the family or personal health and grooming. Anything really.

Being perfect is black or white. Either you are or you aren't. Striving for perfection, is a journey that includes ups and downs but keeps on going, even if it feels you are getting no where. If you aim to get there, if you have a goal in sight, no matter how far away, chances are that eventually you WILL get there.( There's that old saying, aim for nothing and you will achieve it.) But while you are aiming for your goal, let yourself enjoy all the experiences that journey brings along the way. Don't try to skip them or rush them to get to the end. They are re-building your goal muscles, one fibre at a time. When you lift weights there is the up and the down and there is that awful pain the next day as your muscle fibres that tore themselves need to rebuild themselves bigger. You can't stop just because there's some soreness involved.

Words that are self defeating are "never" and "ever". For someone like me who struggles with cleaning and organisation, I have often told myself I will "never" be a tidy person, with clean floors and dishes. Clothes and toys tidily put away (mine and the kids lol). It really does seem impossible.
Copyright Allie at Hyberbole and a Half

I know there are a thousand sayings out there justifying and glorifying messy houses and creativity and villifying the "cleanfreaks". (and I enjoy reading them as much as the next messy person lol)

But the thing is, I would really LIKE to be a neatnik AND creative. As much as I have accepted my messiness, I'm not satisfied to be this way forever. And so I can happily accept the challenge, albeit in all probability, the challenge of a lifetime, lol, to keep trying, enjoy the rare shining moments and be guiltfree in knowing that I am working on it, tiny babysteps, giant tumbles and all. And yeah, I know all about spending time with kids, not cleaning.

That's not the problem I'm sure lol.

One of my favourite health related podcasts is Latest in Paleo by Angelo Coppola. I like it because it is pretty unbiased. Although it is Paleo based, there is lots of general interest, whether it seemingly contradicts Paleo or not. You are told to make up your own mind. Here are some bits I have chopped out from an article entitled "Guilty Pleasures, Lizards and Twinkies" but I really recommend you read the whole article here.

The diet mindset – how to mess up your head, quickly and easily…
Looking for an overlap in all the competing diets we find a few agreements. But, most competing camps agree that large amounts of junk food is a 'bad' thing.............
Of course, the risks depend how many Twinkies you are having a day. Maybe one won't harm you. Yet, many dieters have an 'all or nothing' dietary approach. You may have seen or experienced it. Everything is fine when we are on the wagon, but one bite of the Twinkie and suddenly we’ve taken 'failure' straight to the core of who we are. And since we’ve 'failed', guilt leads us to go completely off the rails in terms of what we put into their body. Then it's another Twinkie orgy, and Lizard Brain wins again.............
 This has certainly been the case for me in the past. Oh well, I've failed, might as well chuck it all in. is one of the more socially acceptable problems to have. Think about Christmas, I don't know about you, but the way my family arranges ours, it's basically co-ordinated binge eating…
Skip ahead a few weeks to January. Like clockwork, families just like mine, a huge portion of the Western world, step onto the scales, or in front of the mirror, following the excesses of the ‘holiday period’. With a collective guilty shudder of disappointment or revulsion, we solemnly vow to lose weight. And, full of guilt, the dieting begins… 
But how long does it last?....
 This Christmas was different for me. In fact the whole year. I never would have thought it possible for me to be on a self-imposed "diet" for 9 months. The difference is in the choosing I think. And in education. About real possibilities and actualities like high blood pressure, diabetes, oedema, migraines, chronic fatigue that were affecting my life and the lives of my family which were all significantly reduced by what I will call this way of eating, rather than "diet". I had so much stress and guilt wound up in my ill health that once I became educated, and felt the real benefits of low carb or Paleo eating versus conventional wisdom espousing low fat high carb diets, I was able to see that it wasn't just a matter of mind over matter. I could stop despising my perceived laziness. Let go of the perpetual guilt that I wasn't doing all the stuff that I should be doing. that I was a failure.

Conclusion: Guilt and hope rarely make for positive change alone…
Change really happens when you give it your whole heart and full commitment, longterm. Think about the people who have really made it work for their health. Angelo (Coppola), Mark Sisson, Jimmy Moore, countless others. Minimal guilt. No yo-yoing. Wonderful examples.  
Like the people above, make it a matter of lifestyle and guilt will likely be less of a problem. Treat it like a diet; get the mindset wrong and guilt will consume you.
So, this is obvious, and far easier to say than to adhere to but don't be guilty. Guilt may come before or after the bad stuff happens, but it’s no good either way. Also, stop trying to be perfect whilst you are at it. Just be excellent!
Earthshattering advice, eh?
That's right, I'm telling you not to be guilty and to stop trying to be perfect. Not ever. It's probably not possible, but give it a bloody good go…
I like the conclusion, with the emphasis on stop trying to BE perfect. I still want to be a better person. I want to improve my skills and talents and some of the not so good and downright dodgy attributes. So I will keep on that path and even if it takes forever to reach perfection, I will be a better stronger person tomorrow than yesterday or maybe last year, so long as i keep with the baby steps and pick myself up when I fall. ramble ramble.... He probably said it all better, but seeing as this IS a weB LOG, I should be accountable for some of the content ;)

This year I am going to be just a little bit more EXCELLENT.  :D far from perfect and that's ok, for now.

I love this bloggers title and  motto:

1 comment:

  1. I will go read that article later, but I really do understand everything you've said here. I used to have this mindset about everything had to be just a certain way. Now I know there will be times when I choose to fall off of the wagon, but that is ok because I just get back on the next day. I don't beat myself up about it. I know I might not lose weight that week or whatever, but slowly, slowly I trudge on, but the beauty is that I can live my life without the guilt and stress. I don't have to freak out because I'm going to a party or I end up at a restaurant unplanned. I just roll with it now. It's so much better.