You have the perfect idea in your head of how your day is going to go. You know exactly what’s going to happen, and it’s going to be ideal. Then… something happens. You wake up late, you run short on time, there’s something distracting you in your space, you suddenly realize you need to clean your desk out before you do anything else, you got thrown off schedule, and then, suddenly, it’s the end of the day and you haven’t done anything. Nothing turned out as planned so you didn’t do it at all.
Sound familiar? This phenomenon is unfortunately all too common. You have an idealized vision of how something should go, and when that can’t happen, you don’t do it at all. If you’re a perfectionist, you can certainly relate to this.
Last week, I came to the realization that I have been not doing certain kinds of work because I want to have ideal conditions surrounding doing that work. For instance, I realized that I hadn’t done my APUSH reading for the last couple units. I started to wonder what caused the shift. Well, ideally I would be sitting down and focusing on the reading for about a half hour nightly, split screen on my laptop, taking some good notes on what I read. I simply didn’t have the time to do that anymore, and instead of adjusting my routine to what I have time for, I kept saying I’d do that, even though it was completely unrealistic. I decided to just print out the reading, and mad time. What I had made out to be the most daunting task only took me a few days of diligence and I reaped the benefits on that test, as I understood the information better. It wasn’t under idealized circumstances – I highlighted in the car on the way to school, and at lunch, and during breaks in classes. I realized that doing it under non-ideal circumstances is better than not doing it at all.
I also saw this in my health goals. I would want to work out under certain conditions – only early in the morning, feeling pumped, with a good breakfast lined up, nice weather outside to do it in, etc. etc. Those circumstances were simply unrealistic, and so I fell out of my yoga practice and Pilates practice. I realized that even if it’s a quick 10 minute practice or 5 minute meditation, it’s better than nothing!
I encourage you to realize areas in your life that you’re letting unrealistic circumstances dictate your actions or your attitude to something. It’s interesting and very insightful. Combat it by repeating the mantra: done imperfectly under imperfect circumstances is better than not done at all.