“I”m going to work out every day.”
“I’m never going to skip one of the yoga classes I purchased.”
“I always follow up with everyone I meet.”
“I’ll never be able to run a 10K.”
“I’m always running late because of traffic.”
Always, Never, and Every are the easiest ways to set yourself up for failure. There’s no room for error. Everything is presented as an all-or-none… an absolute. Who wants to live life with no wiggle room for error?
The quest for perfection is too exhausting and completely self-sabotaging.
Be a little kinder to yourself. Show some self-love. Lower the self-expectations just a notch.
“I’m going to work out _____ times a week.”
“I’m going to do my best to attend all of the yoga classes.”
“My intention is to follow up with everyone.”
“I can complete a 10K – at my own pace.”
“Sometimes the traffic Gods work in my favor – and sometimes they don’t.”
It’s totally OK to have ambitious goals – but not to the point of dragging yourself through the mud if you fall short. There’s a big difference between stretch goals and stress goals.
As a self-professed, former over-achiever who has beaten herself to a pulp over missed goals and lived to tell about it, I’ve retrained my thinking & language to stay clear of unattainable absolutes. I’ve learned that just about all of the pressure we feel is self-inflicted.
I’m committed to doing my best, but not at the expense of my happiness.
Perfection, after all, is highly over-rated, usually unattainable, fleeting, and lonely…at least until you come to the realization that you are perfect exactly as you are, and it is your imperfections, mistakes, and flaws that make you human and beautiful. Now THAT is ALWAYS true.
EXERCISE: Keep track of how often you reference Always, Never, and Every. Switch them up with kinder and more realistic ideas. Feel the pressure subside. Breathe. Smile. Exhale.
PS: Are you a leader? Be careful with your words to those that support you. Telling an employee they “always” do ______ or “never” do ______ is a major de-motivator and a guaranteed strategy to kick their job-hunting efforts into high gear.