Fitness for Perfectionists


Maybe obsessed is too strong of a word but I think it's safe to say I'm fascinated by "perfectionism." I think it's a really misunderstood and often misused term. In fact, it's pretty hotly debated whether perfectionism is a helpful or harmful trait. Many people will tout their perfectionism as something to be proud of, while it's actually a contributory factor in several mental health disorders (like anorexia).

The application of perfectionism I've recently been digging into is perfectionism in fitness. No, not the big, buff, toned bodies - I mean the perfectionists that won't even walk into the gym because if they can't do it perfectly from the get-go, they don't want to do it at all. These aren't usually the people who come to mind when one ponders perfectionism. But again, it's quite the misused term. These are the people who think, "I don't won't be able to keep up this routine perfectly, so why bother trying?" In other words, they're paralyzed by their fear of failure/criticism. While many people cite a great source of accountability in telling others about their goals, perfectionists so strongly fear what people will think if they don't achieve their announced goals that they won't even try...or at least won't tell anyone if they do decide to try.

Why am I so intrigued by this perfectionism blockade? Because I'm one of those people who has missed out on so many things for fear of not being immediately amazing at them.

And why am I so scared of criticism? Because I know how much I doll it out in my own head and how toxic it is (something I'm definitely working on improving). Further, of course, I project onto everyone else the idea that they are surely placing the same judgements on me. In reality, two things are much closer to the truth:

          1) Nobody is really paying enough attention to me to even criticize me in the first place

          2) If they are, there is absolutely zero reason that I should care what’s going on in their heads

It's like Beyoncé said: "When you love and accept yourself, when you know who really cares about you, and when you learn from your mistakes, then you stop caring about what people who don’t know you think."

It’s amazing how many times I have had to read that and how many variations it has been shared in for me to finally start to get it. It’s kind of like that marketing theory where you have to be exposed to something at least 7 times before you’ll buy into it…except I had to be exposed to it like 7,000 times.

I can’t say there’s a big purpose for this post except for my hope that it will be encouraging. Maybe you can relate to these feelings, maybe you can’t. But the point is I don’t want you to give up on your fitness dreams (or any dreams for that matter) because of fear of not getting it “right” right away. It sort of makes me sick to think of how much I’ve missed out on trying because I wasn’t willing to be “bad” (read: a beginner) at it for a while.

What are you wanting to try? Has fear of not doing it well stopped you from moving toward that dream? Let me know! Let’s talk it out. Maybe we can motivate each other.

Thanks for reading.