The Perfection Problem

Good is the enemy of great, they say. And I agree with them.

As soon as The Wedding was over I felt this incredible sense of freedom. I was free to sit on my ass and not do a damn thing. I was free to not be “great” for just a little while. And I totally relished it. I promised not to give myself a hard time about it…because that wedding was freaking stressful. I knew I needed the break, and I knew if I didn’t give myself shit for taking one, I’d intuitively know when the right time to un-break was.

That time was about three or four weeks ago. That’s when I started to feel it building – the frustration with the laziness, apathy, and blah-ness I’d allwed myself since The Wedding. I needed to start being a productive member of my own life again. But instead of acting on that need, I froze. I wanted to be great, but I felt like I had so much to do that I was only going to be “good” at all of it.

So I didn’t do anything.

Fast forward a few more weeks and I kind of felt like crap. I wasn’t relishing the lack of adulting anymore, I was chastising myself for it. But. I. Couldn’t. Move. Forward.

Stuck. I was just stuck.

The chores at home piled up. Literally. Piles of laundry to be done, mountains of weeds in the yard to be pulled, growing tumbleweeds of animal fur rolling through my house. I was eating terribly, like really really badly. I wanted to take action, but still I sat.

Good is the enemy of great. If I couldn’t clean the whole house from top to bottom in that moment, why would I bother vacuuming the dust bunnies? If I wasn’t going to eat perfectly for the rest of my life why not just go to Burger King or Chik-fil-a (or both) today? If the blog post wasn’t going to be the most profound thing I’d ever created, why bother writing it at all?

And then…the “DUH!” moment happened.

I have been grocery shopping and meal planning as I always have – very clean. But then I’ve been trading the healthy meals we’ve diligently prepared for the drive through or the junk food someone else brings to the office.

This weekend Tyler asked me to pick up ingredients to make grilled cheese, and it was at a that moment that a light bulb went on in my head. He-llooooo! The grocery store has options other than the perfectly Paleo items I’ve been purchasing every week and not eating. Why not buy the box of mac and cheese that I really want, eat it with my broccoli, and call it a day? I know how to eat clean. I’ll get back to it when I’m ready. But in the meantime, cooking something is much closer to cooking healthy than the drive through is.

And then it clicked! In assuming perfection is the only way to go, I am hindering my progress. I mean, my pants don’t fit and my to-do list is about a mile long. Had I allowed for less than perfection three weeks ago, I wouldn’t be buried under a mountain of grown-up crap to get done and I might not mind being in a bathing suit at the moment. OR maybe my pants still wouldn’t fit, but at least they’d be clean and put away.

Furthermore, there’s a difference between the big picture and the tasks that help me create it.

The big picture, the end goal, that should always be GREAT. Striving for anything less seems pretty pointless. But somehow I have to get it through my thick skull that being “good” at the little tasks actually IS great. Being good at those tasks means those tasks are getting done, and that means I’m headed in the direction I want go.

So I’ve given myself permission to do small, good things. I’ve given myself permission to focus on progress instead of perfection. Which is awesome because progress is what matters most to me.

And it’s also awesome because I’m really excited for some old school, blue box, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese!

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