I talked a few weeks ago about the idea of overcoming perfectionism (read it here). I still absolutely feel that way, and what I want to talk about this week is directly related to this topic.
The problem with perfectionism, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, is that if you can’t get it immediately, then you feel that you fail. The truth is failure is a part of life. Nobody is going to get things right 100% of the time. That’s just how it is. I’m not going to sugarcoat things and tell you something that’s not true.
So now that you have the hard truth, let’s try to make things a little better. Yes, we all fail. That’s not what matters. What matters is what you do after. Do you let your failure become a setback? Or do you work and make it a comeback? Let me give you some examples of what I mean.
I have been working on “getting in shape” since at least high school. However, for a while, I have had a deluded version of what that looks like. I would run for soccer, and I was always in so much pain. I assumed that it was just because I was out of shape. It took me far too long to realize that my leg muscles are not developed for running. It wasn’t necessarily that I was out of shape, but my muscles just weren’t stretched for it. My legs are entirely muscle, but they’re built more for squats and weight than for running. Honestly, because of the pain it caused me, I hated running for the longest time, even while I was in soccer. I’m just now starting to get slightly back into it, and even then it’s a minute at a time.
Since running is super beneficial for your health, I figured it was a requirement to be healthy. With that said, when I first got to college, I didn’t care too much about my health. It wasn’t that I neglected it, I just didn’t prioritize going to the gym or eating the best. I finally got tired of what eating junk was doing to my body, and started making adjustments. It wasn’t great at first, but it was a start. I got better at it while I was in college and was even meal prepping while I was living in an apartment (but that’s also because I didn’t want to cook dinner at 9:30 or later).
My health hasn’t been a linear progression. I’m in the gym pretty frequently, but I still miss days. I don’t hit my water intake all the time. I don’t always eat the best. But with what I have learned, I don’t let those missteps become a setback anymore. I don’t feel like I have to do more to catch up. I let myself have off days without punishing myself for it. One or a couple days is not going to hurt you too much. It’s when you let yourself fall out of the habit that it can become a problem and a setback. I’m still working on me and improving my overall health, but it’s in a much better way than I used to do it.
My other example is academic. I was a straight A student in high school, and graduated with over a 4.0 GPA. It was a little bit of a rude awakening when I got a B and a B+ in my first semester. It put my GPA much lower than I wanted it to be. I was definitely disappointed. But rather than being like “oh well I’m not as smart as I was, so guess I shouldn’t even try,” instead I just reminded myself that I’m not perfect and to work harder. I worked hard the remaining semesters and put the work in. After the first semester, my GPA was sitting at 3.67. I graduated with a GPA of 3.807. This may not seem like much, but it’s actually pretty significant. I was always Honors and it was never a struggle to graduate as part of the Honors program. However, I went from graduating with an Honors degree to graduating magna cum laude with an Honors degree (and a double major, but that’s entirely unrelated). I earned a medallion. I worked hard, and my work paid off.
When you make a mistake, you have two options. You can either let that hole get deeper until it’s almost impossible to climb out of. Or you can put the hard work in immediately and work to overcome it.
I’m always working on myself. I’m keeping my head down and putting in the work. I still make mistakes and have setbacks, but I’m also making a lot of comebacks. I’m physically doing better than I have in a long time. Yeah, I’m still stressed and other stuff but I’m making moves that are beneficial for me. You may feel upset that you’re not hearing about it, but to be fair, there are very few people who are hearing about everything I’m doing. It’s not personal. I’m making a comeback for myself in a number of ways.
So when you make a mistake, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to let yourself slide further and make a larger hole for yourself? Or are you going to work and make it a comeback? The decision is yours. But I can promise you that once you get to where you want to go, you’re either going to remember the comebacks or the setbacks. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather remember the comebacks. They show that I can overcome the struggles I encounter. I’d rather be proud of what I have gone through. The choice is entirely yours.