Sunday, April 24, 2011

When enough is good enough...

If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~Vincent Van Gogh

1st grade: My teacher liked when we colored our pictures dark with bright colors. I'd spend hours going over and over the picture with the crayons, making sure no white would show. It was never dark enough.

2nd grade: I learned that flossing is good for your health. I'd floss every day, but I couldn't floss enough. At PTA, my teacher told my parents that she was worried that I was too hard on myself. Ha, understatement.

3rd grade: I got a "good" in conduct as opposed to "outstanding", because I was a bit chatty. Threw a tantrum, maybe even called the cops (long story), definitely created a ridiculous scene. "Good" was Not.Good.Enough.

4th grade: I could spell at the level of an 8th grader. But I felt I should be at the 12th grade level. Stared at my dictionary for hours on end until my eyes hurt. I couldn't spell enough words.

5th grade: I read a book a week, but one of the other kids in the class read two. I tried and tried to read more than one, but I just couldn't read fast enough.

6th, 7th, and 8th grade: Became aware of my body and my appearance and my clothes. Started to read fashion magazines. You know how the story goes. And so continues the pattern that was just not good enough.

Even as a grown woman in my late twenties, I still struggle with this problem! Do I exercise enough? Do I work hard enough? Do I see my friends and family enough? And then there's also the "too much" problem. Do I spend too much? Do I talk too much? Do I spend too much time on on my laptop and not enough outside enjoying life? Do I think and self-analyze too much? (ha..ironic for this post, wouldn't you say?) When is enough good enough?! What is the perfect amount of anything?
In order to progress and succeed, I believe we need a certain level of self-encouragement. We need to strive for our goals and push ourselves outside of our comfort zones. But when do we cross the line between productive and obsessive? And if we do cross that line, how do we know? With the "good enough" and "too much" mindset, you're bound to drive yourself insane. Believe me, I know. Here are some of my strategies to keep me from crossing the line from "self-encouraging" to "self-insulting." I call it, "The Bonus System":

1.) Set specific, realistic exercise goals. For example, every Sunday, I pick three workouts that I know I will absolutely enjoy for that week (Monday-Friday). I commit to these workouts, and I hope that I will get to the gym on the other days. But if I don't, it's ok, because those were going to be bonus days anyway. If I make the three classes that I decided on, then that is good enough. And I usually make it to at least one bonus day, and that always feels so good!

2.) Be kind to your calendar. I love to spend time with my friends, but I often feel like I don't see them enough. But I also realize that I lead a pretty busy life as do they, so it's not realistic to think I will get to spend time with them every week. So I, and they, schedule strategically. We pick one day every couple of weeks and we stick to that plan. If we see each other in between, that's just a wonderful bonus. But if we don't, there's nothing to feel bad about, because we have established a pattern that works for us! Don't overbook yourself. Remember that if you need to schedule some me-time, you can always write that in your calendar to make it official!

3.) Plan your meals but leave room for variety. Each week, I will go grocery shopping, and I will buy pretty much the same things. Almost every day, I'll have my oatmeal and fruit, my green tea and coffee, my salad at lunch, Larabar before the gym, and then some kind of dinner with protein, whole grains, and veggies. This is usually my goal, because I think this daily menu includes a perfect balance of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. BUT, I leave holes in the week for variety. For example, I buy dinner ingredients for Monday-Friday night, but I tell myself that one night is variable. If I feel like spending on take-out pizza or Chinese food, or if I feel like going out for BBQ or Sushi one night, then that is perfectly acceptable. The money and indulgences that go along with the decision to dine out become fun instead of going against the plan! If I decide to cook every night that week (Monday-Friday I mean...Saturdays and Sundays are always variable!), then I see it as a health bonus. But if I decide to use the variable day, I see it as a fun bonus. It's a win-win!

4.) Prioritize your to-do list. For example, the top of my to-do list will be tasks that are due that upcoming week. Then the next section are tasks due in the near future that I really hope to get done, but I don't necessarily have to. Finally, I have a "bonus" section where I list things that would be really awesome to do, but are only extras. If I make it to the second section, I feel good. If I make it to the bonus section, I feel great. If I don't make it to either but I do finish the first section, then that is enough.

5.) Acknowledge your accomplishments. Don't compare yourselves to others. Be content and happy with what you do and with what you have, because that will always be more than enough.

I hope that by sharing these thoughts and ideas, I was able to provide even just one strategy to help you feel less overwhelmed with your daily, weekly, maybe even yearly goals!

Thanks so much for reading. Be well, and enjoy the day!

Care to Share? Any tips on how to avoid the "not good enough" blues?

1 comment:

  1. I've been thinking about this post since I read it make so many good points. Like other women, I think I tend to be a bit too hard on myself. I like the "bonus days" idea, I'm going to try that :)