Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ah, memories

Hey, do you remember that one time when you were so excited about changes that you were making in your life that you decided to share them with the world, but then life got so stressful and intimidating and emotionally draining that for all three days of your vacation to Portland you fell off of the deep end and decided that your new lifestyle and motto and everything were complete garbage? And then you realized that the Big Ugly Monster that is emotional eating had reclaimed you and you needed to find a way to break the cycle and get back on track or you just might be lost in a haze of Trader Joe's Chocolate Covered Potato Chips and Diet Coke for all eternity?
My delicious nemesis.

Man, I hate it when that happens. 

Messing up on my goals and perspective this week is forcing me to, once again, come face to face with one of my biggest struggles. I am a perfectionist. If I can't be great at something, I really try not to bother - it gets to me too much! This destructive mindset makes it terrifying for me to set goals- what if I just don't achieve them? My inner-critic wreaks havoc inside my head at the smallest misstep- from something silly that I have said to a huge lapse in judgement. This means that when I fall off of the wagon, I usually lay down in the dirt and hate myself and cry and eat a lot of chocolate- never actually considering that I should just stand up, dust myself off, and climb back on again. 

Knowing my struggle with perfectionism, a trusted friend once asked (read: forced) me to buy and read The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to be and Embrace Who You Are* by Brené Brown.
*Is it just me, or is it Federal Law that self-help books have an incredibly long and cheesy-sounding title?
Brené is an excellent writer and an absolute authority when it comes to shame (a fascinating cultural taboo from the way she writes it - her work is just so enlightening!) and perfectionism. I found her book incredibly  helpful. While reading I continually experienced those moments when you think, "Oh my goodness, she has seen inside my soul and is speaking just to me!" But she hasn't and she wasn't - since sharing what I have learned from her research with others, I have found that I am definitely not alone in grappling with my perfectionist pursuits. Her book changed the way I looked at myself and my current hang-ups, as well as events from my past. The biggest thing I have been trying to implement from her book is the concept of giving myself a break! It seems to be the part of life and failure that I struggle with the most - cutting myself some slack when I have dropped the ball, and not throwing in the towel just because 
 I am not perfect. 

So, I have failed myself today. Now what?
...I'm not really sure. This part is still really hard for and discouraging to me. I guess I am going to go re-read my favorite chapters of TGOI:LGOWYTYSTBAEWYA (okay, I thought our previous acronyms were bad, but this one is going to make me give up the institution for good) as I try not to think about the incredible amount of garbage I have eaten and how I've sabotaged myself once again and how I'll never ever ever reach my goal if I can't stop eating junk. 

Do you have a hard time bouncing back after a setback? How do you deal?


  1. I subscribe to a blog that says to change you need to make small goals. One small step at a time. This is hard for me because I want to make this huge change and change all my life for good. I am going to exercise, lose weight, read my scriptures, pray, be patient and the list goes on. It doesn't last. So when I was pulling myself back up from crippling anxiety and depression, I started making small goals. I couldn't concentrate enough to read scriptures for very long so I read for 5 minutes every day. The point was to do it every day. Then I finally could read a chapter. Then 2. I am not so diligent now but that is how I started exercising. Small steps. One thing that you could do is think of one small change you want to make and keep at it for at least one month. Then add another for a month.And so on. You are working for the long term not the short term. Anyway that is my thought for the situation

    1. Glapha, I love this comment! Thank you. It is what I have needed to hear. When I committed to trying to change my emotional eating habits, I promised myself I would start small, and count my successes instead of my failures. What good does it do to dwell on failure, anyway? I need to keep focused on the small changes I have decided to make, and stop trying to overhaul everything in my life all at once. Thank you again for the advice. I'm going to go make a list (my favorite thing to do! haha) for the small things I am going to change tomorrow. xo