Total Weight Loss

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Giving Myself a Break

As far back as I can remember, I've held myself to very high standards.  I was quite alright with this attitude for many years.  When I was told that I was holding myself to too high of a standard, but I didn't believe it.  Even when things didn't work out and others were proven right, I didn't believe them.  I would get down on myself and beat myself up over my shortcomings. But is was not due to too high of a standard!   Sometimes I would regroup and try again.  Other times I wouldn't.  I never, ever, ever took on a project without measuring my odds of success.  If success didn't seem like a lock, I wouldn't do it.  The adage 'just do your best' really didn't make sense to me.  Best was 100% and nothing less.  It seemed like a cop-out to me to hear someone say they'd done their best if they hadn't won.

On the other hand, if I recognized that someone else had given the task at hand everything they had and still came up short.  I was quite forgiving.  People have all sorts of very legitimate reasons for falling a little short of their goal.  It was/is reasonable and OK for that to happen to some folks some times.  I was never that generous with myself.  There was never a reason good enough, short of some dire situation that would prohibit me from not only reaching my goal, but exceeding it.

I now recognize the fallacy of that attitude.  I'm a little sad for some of the experiences I missed because failure loomed large so I wouldn't attempt it.  If on the first try at something I didn't feel like I did well, I quit.  How in the world did I think that would work?  I see now that no one does anything perfectly the first time out.  It takes practice and coaching to develop even a natural skill.

Now I'm giving myself breaks all over the place.  I have learned that I am so much happier.  Life is better when I don't have to control every last detail in order to 'win.'  Take the 1000 Mile Challenge as an example. Initially, I planned to walk just a little bit more than the 2.7 miles required each day.  I knew  that days would come when I wouldn't be able to get in the steps so I wanted to have some in the bank so to speak.  I was freaking myself out every day because I hadn't got even the minimum number of miles in, much less a little extra.

I realized that I was going to have to forgo the challenge for the sake of my sanity, or change my attitude about it.  I wasn't about to quit, so I had to change my way of thinking.  It hasn't been easy.  I have been coaching myself continually since making that decision.  At the same time, I feel such freedom and much more contentment with myself.  And...I've met my goals more often than not. 

For instance, on Mondays 65MD and I lead a support group after work.  There isn't any walking involved, nor or there opportunities to work in a few steps.  So, a few weeks ago, I decided that on Mondays it would be fine to get something less than 2.7 miles.  I wasn't going to kill myself trying to get in the mileage before the group and there wouldn't be time after.  I decided to be happy with what I got.  Guess what?  Ever since making that decision and deciding to 'just do my best' I have gotten 2.7 or more miles!  It is like when I gave myself freedom to fail (in my warped little mind), I also gave myself the ability to earn the reward.  Strange, strange stuff this mind of mine.  I'm not going to waste any time trying to figure it out.  Instead, I'm giving myself lots of latitude not to get in the miles!!!


  1. Oh this is a great post. Especially for my perfectionist mind! When you said, "I never, ever, ever took on a project without measuring my odds of success. If success didn't seem like a lock, I wouldn't do it." Well, first off, I thought you were brilliant for even realizing this and then I thought, well I don't do that. Then "SLAP, SLAP" in the face, I realize I do exactly that!! I'm a creative person, but I've put things on the back burner because I don't want to fail. I have something big I want to do,but because I've measured the odds and I don't think I can do it ~ 100% ~ I won't even try! Ack! You have inspired me my Friend!!

    Keep up the great work and stay focused!

  2. I am glad you are giving yourself some breaks-life is too short not to. I just followed your blog and wanted to say "hi".

  3. lolol fabulous, i'm so glad you're giving yourself some slack. you do realize i adore you for you and if you never succeded in anything (not that that is a remote possibility) again i'd still adore YOU! life is about the journey and not the destination so enjoy as you go! xoxoxoxoxo

  4. I can completely relate to this! I follow WW. Now that I knowingly start out my week knowing I am *loosely* following the program, I'm losing weight! When I was determined to stay perfectly OP, I always failed. I set myself up for failure. Losing weight was no fun because it was all rules. Now I am trying to let life be life and work with that. :)