My 4 tips to stop getting hung up on 'perfection'
Perfect is fine if you’re talking about ‘perfecting your deadlift’ or finding your ‘perfect post-workout snack’, but when it comes to bodies, ‘perfection’ is an impossible beauty standard that drags you down and prevents you from being happy or even reaching your goals. It’s unrealistic. It’s unhealthy.
While it’s fine to want to be your best, it’s important to not get caught up in what others are doing. Stop comparing, and stop judging yourself, and instead focus on the positive things like working towards your goals while staying true to yourself.
When you’re feeling that stress to strive for perfection, remember these three key things and feel happier.
1. Remember: Nobody’s perfect
It's hard not to compare ourselves to others when we live in a world so focused on how we look on social media. Always trying to get the perfect picture and ‘approval’ from the online world. But there is no perfect, and a lot of the time these seemingly perfect photos are just posed highlights or snippets of a whole different story that you may not be seeing. Personally, I feel people like me should show the ‘realness’ of their lives, and I share the ups and the downs in the hopes that others can relate and feel like they’re not alone. Consider whether some of your own ‘perfection pressure’ comes from trying to keep up this image of online perfection yourself. Chances are, being real will make you feel happier. It’s important to be as true to yourself as possible so you can be truly content.
2. Inspiration, not imitation
Try not to lose yourself in what others are doing. You might flick through your favourite magazine, or look through Instagram to find yourself wishing you looked like those other women. It’s pretty harmless to admire how someone looks, or the life they’re living. But if you’re wanting to be JUST like them, this is where you need to draw the line. It's great to find inspiration from others, but you are so much more than an imitation. Take what you need from them, whether that's motivation to get up and work on your goals, or tips to help you become a better version of YOU, but just don't lose who you really are. Take inspiration from others, and find your own motivation to make positive changes to your life, like becoming fitter, healthier and stronger, and I guarantee this will feel much better.
3. Bulk up your self esteem
Struggle with low self-esteem? Once you realise that perfect isn’t real, it’ll be a whole lot easier to turn the focus inward and fight those negative evaluations of yourself. How can you be ‘failing’ at something that isn’t even real? Cut yourself some slack. When you hear those negative thoughts starting, cut them off before they spiral. Focus on your abilities and potential. If you’ve tried to do something and couldn’t manage it (like a burpee or a deadlift), instead of feeling bad about it, just tell yourself, “I can’t do it now, but I will do it someday!” If it’s something you’ll just never be able to achieve (hey, not everyone’s going to win the New York Marathon) say, “I can’t do that, but I can do all of these other things,” and list them for yourself, whether it’s a weight you can lift, a killer guac recipe everyone LOVES or the fact that you always remember people’s birthdays (now, that’s a skill!)
4. Be happy being YOU
If we were all the same, we’d be boring. It’s our differences that make us unique, yet we still seem to want to be like other people who we think are ‘perfect’. Instead of looking at perfection as an impossible, unattainable thing, I like to think of “being perfect” as “being your best” – and that’s YOUR best, no one else's. It’s good to want to strive to be your best. Think about your personal values, your wants, and your needs, and make sure that what you’re doing in life is getting you closer to them, not further away. Get your priorities in order, get to know who YOU are, and focus on that rather than what others are doing. Don’t compare yourself to them, just be yourself and be happy knowing that you are working on the best version of you.
Personal trainer • Founder
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
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