Happy New Year!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season full of fun and love and joy!
Now that we’re dipping our toes into a shiny, fresh year you might be feeling the nudge to make great things happen.
Have you set any resolutions/intentions/goals for the year?
Whether you’ve jotted down some ideas or you’re simply feeling the pull to make this year especially awesome, there’s an important message you need to embrace.
This idea could be the difference between you actually feeling good and making your goals happen, and feeling like garbage and giving up.
And it all starts with your opinion of yourself (like most self-help-like things, right?).
As moms we can be so hard on ourselves.
One of the most common pitfalls I see moms trip up on – especially moms trying to get back on the health and wellness wagon – is the Perfection Fallacy.
You know the one. The idea that in order to succeed you need to be perfect.
The idea that, if you set a goal but you only get 87% of the way there, you’ve failed.
Like if you decided to eat Paleo for 30 days but on day 22 you ate some sushi (with rice – which is typically not considered “Paleo”) so you feel like a failure and it just makes you want to go out and buy all the chips, crackers, cookies, ice cream, fries, pizza…. you can get your hands on because you might as well just go big if you’re gonna mess up, right?
Or if you decided that this year you’re going to workout 3 days a week but a month in you only get 1 workout done that week because #MomLife is crazy unpredictable and those workouts just didn’t happen so you might as well give up and never workout again because what’s the point if you can’t do it “right”?!
Okay so I may be exaggerating (a little) but you get my point, hey? You feel like if you don’t make your goal happen exactly how you planned, you failed so you might as well just throw in the towel.
And therein lies the danger of the Perfection Fallacy.
It can become so easy to give up entirely when things don’t go exactly according to plan, even if you’re still making progress.
Because that’s what’s actually important – progress.
You don’t need to be perfect to see amazing changes in your life.
So how can you overcome this and feel successful even if you aren’t perfect?
How can you be okay with being good enough instead of the best?
How can you set some goals and keep motivated even when things aren’t going exactly according to plan?
Here are 3 strategies (+ a bonus tip) to help.
1. Set Realistic Goals That Actually Mean Something To You
This may sound pretty straight forward but are you actually doing it?
Are your goals actually realistic given the time, energy and space you have?
Do they actually mean something to you (so that you’re excited to tackle them and can stay more easily motivated because you know why you’re doing this in the first place)?
How many times have you overwhelmed yourself because you totally thought “I’ve got this” when in fact you don’t got this because you’ve over committed yourself and now you’re still up at 2am trying to get it done because you said you would and you don’t want to be the one who doesn’t get it done?
(Hand raised over here, friend!)
I still do this. All the time. It’s a work in progress – I’m constantly reminding myself to chill out.
Just the other day I said to my husband that I wanted to read 52 books this year – 1 book a week.
And he said, “That’s a lot. Maybe you should try for one book every two weeks – 26 books – instead and if you read more then it’s a bonus.”
He was right. As always. Because he knows me. He knows that I’m ambitious and I set ambitious goals.
But then I make the mistake of forgetting all the other commitments I need to deal with in addition to that goal.
So I end up needing to read 15 books in the last week of the year to make my goal happen, which stresses me out – and is obviously impossible to do unless I don’t eat, sleep, or do any mother/wife/friend/daughter/sister stuff. So I feel like a failure because I didn’t reach my goal.
Even though I read so many great books and learned so much. But it just wasn’t enough…
Yep. Back into the Perfection Fallacy we go.
Which is why one of the first steps to avoid taking a detour into NeedingToBePerfectVille is to set goals that are challenging but doable.
Ones that don’t make you stressed out to the point where you’re almost (or totally) paralyzed because you’re so overwhelmed you don’t even know where to start.
We do this by being honest with ourselves and asking 2 simple questions:
1. Is this an ambitious, yet realistic goal that I can actually make happen given how much time and energy I have?
2. Is this actually important to me? Important enough to miss out on other aspects of life if I need to in order to get it done?
Reading 26 books this year is realistic to me because I read most nights and I usually finish a book every 2-3 weeks right now as it is. So it’s doable.
It’s also important to me because I love reading for fun and I love learning new goodness that I can send your way to help make your Mom Life more awesome.
So yes and yes.
How about you? Look at or think about your goals for this year. Can you honestly answer yes to those 2 questions?
2. Stop Assuming Everyone Else Is Getting It All Right
I got an email the other day from a subscriber who was asking for some advice on getting motivated to workout again after falling off the workout wagon.
I gave her some ideas and also mentioned how I’m pretty sure I’ve only made it 1 or 2 weeks before missing a workout I planned to do or my workout schedule changing for some reason – like I thought I’d get a workout in Wednesday but it got pushed to Thursday (or didn’t happen at all) because I came down with a cold, or Munchie woke up early, or I had to get some work done instead, or I just didn’t feel like it. (Yep. I have those days too!)
As a mom one of the kindest things you can do for yourself is give yourself permission to be flexible and cut yourself some slack when things don’t happen exactly according to plan.
Yes, we try to plan as best we can but life happens.
Sometimes I recognize that sleeping in is going to be better for me than getting up for a workout – my adrenals will thank me.
Other times I just get out of the habit – because holidays, or illness, or something comes up – and I need to gently nudge myself back into a regular routine.
Whatever the reason, my point is that I’m not perfect either.
No one is.
And when you acknowledge the fact that there are millions of other moms out there stressing out that they aren’t working out enough either, you begin to recognize that you’re not alone (and maybe we all need to work on some collective mindset change!)
So stop assuming that everyone else is getting it all right, all the time.
If you fall off the wagon, it’s okay. It happens. Just don’t fall off and stay there. At some point, brush off your big girl pants and get back on that bad boy.
3. Recognize That Good Enough is Better Than None At All
Have you ever seen Master of None on Netflix?
It’s a pretty interesting and entertaining dramedy (drama/comedy) about modern romance.
In season two, Aziz Ansari’s character visits Italy. And he apparently actually learned to speak Italian when he was in Italy doing research for the show before they shot the season.
But the thing is he didn’t focus on becoming totally fluent. He wasn’t trying to master the language. He studied the language for 3 weeks and lived there for 2 months which was enough time for him to be conversational.
In his words, he’s not “fluent” but he’s “really good for an Indian guy”! Ha!
The point is, it worked. He was fluent enough. People could understand him and he could understand them.
Could he have been more of an expert?
But was being good enough, good enough?
He could have said, “Unless I master this language I’m not even going to try.” Instead he said, “Let’s see how well I can do in a short amount of time and just focus on being good enough so that I can easily get by ordering food and making chit-chat with strangers.”
I want you to really embrace this idea.
Because good enough is better (much better) than none at all.
Instead of trying to be perfect and reach your goal every single time, every single week, every single day, work on being good enough.
If your goal is to get to the gym 3x a week, don’t consider it a failure if it only happens 2x/week or even 1x/week most weeks. You’re still making strides. You’re still making it happen as best you can.
If your goal is to lose 15lbs but you “only” lose 12lbs, remind yourself that that’s 12 more lbs than you would have lost if you didn’t do anything at all. Sure you didn’t “make it” but you made something happen that’s for darn sure.
If your goal is to eat more vegetables and you’re doing fine until one day the only “vegetable” you remember eating is a basket of fries, don’t beat yourself up. Remind yourself of all the vegetables you ate yesterday, and make a plan to enjoy a yummy veggie-rich meal tomorrow at breakfast to get back on track.
The point is to not assume that the only way you’re successful is if you’re perfect.
That’s a very flawed, very unrealistic way to approach life.
We want progress, not perfection.
Focus on being better than yesterday or last week or last month and slowly but surely you’ll get closer and closer to your goal.
The plan isn’t to just one day “get there”, and stay there, and live happily ever after there.
We aren’t programmed to set goals, reach them with perfect execution, then never stumble ever again.
We’re designed to make mistakes and challenge ourselves to keep going.
So focus on being good enough. Focus on the fact that life is a series of progressions – each day you simply want to work on getting closer to reaching your goals without expecting yourself to never make a mistake.
Good enough is great.
Bonus Tip: Make a Stop Doing List So You Have More Room For the Start Doing Stuff
You’re a Mom which means that you’re busy.
I don’t need to know whether you’re also holding down a career, taking hip hop dance classes 2x/week, building a business, volunteering at the soup kitchen once a week, growing a non-profit, teaching English as a second language on Friday nights…
Just being a Mom means life is busy.
Then you add the fact that you’re tackling all sorts of other stuff and we can now classify your life as super busy.
Which means you don’t have a lot of free time – what does that even mean?! 😉
So one of the smartest things you can do when you’re trying to accomplish anything – especially health and wellness goals – is to create a stop doing list.
It may sound negative to have a stop doing list but by freeing yourself from doing things you don’t actually want to be doing in the first place, or things that aren’t actually making your life better, you have more time and energy for the things you do want to do, the things that are going to make your life more awesome.
This isn’t just about stuff that takes up time, this is also about stuff that takes up mental space and energy.
Because you’re already so busy you want to save your energy for the things that really matter to you.
So think about or jot down some ideas.
Here are some examples to get things rolling…
I’m going to stop watching TV until 11pm and get to bed earlier so getting up at 6am to do a workout doesn’t feel so rough.
I’m going to stop buying junk food so it’s just not in my house. If I want to eat it I can go to the store and get it. But I don’t want it in my house. I don’t want easy access to it because my willpower muscle is only so strong and it’s so easy to just mindlessly eat when it’s just a few steps away.
I’m going to stop cleaning my own house and hire a cleaner instead so I have more time for other (more fun or fulfilling) stuff.
I’m going to stop feeling guilty for plopping my kiddo in front of the TV so I can have a workout. It’s worth it. For both of us.
I’m going to unsubscribe, unfollow, unlike any email newsletter or social media person that I don’t jive with. I want to feel inspired, not de-motivated because I feel like I can never live up to them.
I’m going to stop going to the grocery store and order my food online so I save time.
I’m going to stop looking at my phone/social media from 4pm – 8pm so I can be fully present and enjoy time with my loves.
I’m going to stop eating take-out or restaurant food Monday – Thursday so I can focus on cooking easy, quick, healthy meals that make me feel good.
I’m going to stop saying yes to invitations and commitments that I’m not actually excited to be a part of.
I’m going to stop following diet dogma and do what feels right and best for me instead.
I’m going to stop talking to myself in a way that I’d never talk to my kiddo. And I’m going to focus on feeling better about my body right now. #selflove
I’m going to stop pushing through and pushing my body and pushing myself to get my “pre-baby body back” at the expense of my long-term health. Because it’s just not worth it. I will get there. Just not overnight.
What are you going to stop doing so you have more space for the things you actually want to be doing?
Use this strategy – along with the 3 others we chatted about – and you’ll likely feel happier, be more successful and have much more confidence in your ability to reach your goals than you would if you just set some resolutions and punished yourself into trying to make them happen.
This year (like every year) should be enjoyable. Which means that you shouldn’t feel like a failure or be forcing yourself to do something that doesn’t actually match up with the kind of life you want or the kind of person you want to be.
Get clear on what you really want. Really. Then go for it – without expecting flawless execution.
Welcome to the New Year, my friend!
I have a feeling it’s going to be your best year yet 🙂
P.S. Did you like this post? If you did, please share it with your friends. Thank you!