Why Perfectionism is Holding You Back
The perfectionist is one of the most disciplined personalities. If you give a perfectionist a task, they will tackle it immediately and to the best of their abilities. They are hard workers, extraordinarily gifted with discipline, and some of the most loyal individuals. Perfectionists have many amazing traits, but some of the biggest reasons they struggle in life is because of their inability to find balance and release control. How do I know this? I used to struggle with my personality on a daily basis, until I realized perfectionism was holding me back from experiencing true joy and freedom in life.
My struggle with perfectionism began the moment my parents dropped me off at Texas A&M. I had a goal to graduate with a 4.0, because if I had a perfect GPA there was no way medical schools would turn me away. I studied, on average, 8 to 10 hours every single day. The few hours I had left in my day were spent at the gym. After exams, rather than taking time off to unload my stress, I began studying for the next exam the following month. I thought if I studied as much as possible, memorized every word in the text book, and worked hundreds of examples a day, the 4.0 would just follow. This is where I learned the very opposite was true.
Rather than making the best grades, I was failing tests, falling asleep in class, isolated in my 700 square foot apartment, and lacked true joy in my life. I spent three years in this cycle of studying, failing, and having melt downs, only to dig even deeper and study even longer hours. Sound familiar? I did the same thing when dieting. If something isn’t working, try even harder! For 3 years, I was struggling in school, still keeping a 4.0, but I was one of the unhappiest individuals on campus. So my 4th year I decided to make a change, and I unknowingly unlocked the door to freedom in my life.
I was so burnt out my senior year that it may have seemed like I didn’t care anymore. I just didn't have the energy or desire to continue studying for hours a day. It was during this time I learned that less was more. I realized if I studied a few hours a day the week before an exam, I did far better than 8 hours a day months before. My grades were improving, I was sleeping more, I incorporated TV back into my life, and I began to feel like I was on to something.
Working out for hours a day, cutting calories to the extreme, studying until I fell asleep in the books, and isolating myself from the world was keeping me in a cycle of fear and frustration that I was so desperate to get out of. So how was I able to make the change? I began incorporating hobbies, family time, desserts, friendships, and joy back into my daily routine. I realized that the idea of tithing to the church wasn’t just about money. If you give a little bit of your time as a sacrifice, you will get much more in return. What does this mean? If you take an hour out of your day to spend time doing activities you love, or take one day off a week where you shut everything down, your life will be blessed because of your sacrifice. You will have more energy and focus when it comes time to accomplish your goals for the day. It may sound contradictory to the perfectionist to sacrifice time in your day and not work, exercise, or study, and do something you enjoy, but I promise you the benefits are far greater than the sacrifice. The scale will start to go down, your stress will decrease, you’ll make more progress in the gym, and your life will begin to flourish because you found balance and released control.
Once I found balance in life, I made the changes to my figure I always wanted to make. I was able to gain muscle and lose unwanted fat because my body ran more efficiently and was functioning properly. I developed a plan to help others and can happily say that not a single client has texted me saying they are too hungry, restricted, or bingeing on the weekends. In fact, every client I have is consistently following the plan and losing inches every single week. Bringing balance and incorporating life into a structured plan is how I have built a successful business with happy clients.
So, to all the perfectionists reading this, find the balance in work, exercise, nutrition, family, and life and you will become a happier, healthier, and more joyful version of yourself! Oh, and yes I did achieve that 4.0 GPA!