Life in Balance: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Perfect enemy of the Good (A Seat at the Table)

A couple weeks ago I had a total breakdown about grocery shopping/meal prep/cooking dinner.  I was tired of having to think about food, plan meals for the week, and in general over the whole domestic chores situation.  The Fiancé did a great job of calming me down, going grocery shopping with me, and giving me a reality check.  The whole experience made me realize that I’m putting way to much pressure on myself.

I first heard the phrase “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” from Gretchen Rubin on her Happier podcast.  This really resonated with me as I realized I was overwhelming myself with all of the shoulds:  I should eat more vegetarian meals, I should eat more vegetables, I should make meals the Fiancé likes, I should cook more, I should meal prep, I should eat more fish, I should try a new recipe… but really I needed to let go of all the rules and just focus on getting food on the table in whatever way worked.

I see a lot of this black and white thinking in my work as a Nutrition Coach on campus.  Many clients think that if they can’t fit an hour in at the gym that they can’t do anything.  Or if they had a brownie then they’ve failed at their diet.  We’ve somehow convinced ourselves that if we can’t do it perfectly we might as well not try at all.  But there is plenty of space for “good enough” and those small changes can really add up.  Don’t have time to go to the gym?  Ok, spend 10 minutes doing something active at home (don’t know what to do? check out YouTube videos, or clean house, or throw a dance party).  No energy to cook?  Add some extra veggies to a frozen meal or your takeout order.  There are lots of small things you can start incorporating into your life to make a little progress toward whatever your goal is.  Don’t give up on yourself just because you don’t have time/energy/money to do something “perfectly.”

What limiting beliefs have been holding you back?  What’s a small change that would make you feel like you at least did something rather than feeling like you failed?

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5 thoughts on “Life in Balance: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  1. Great advice, and right in line with what I’ve been about lately. I had made so many changes to an already good diet because my A1C level went unaccountably crazy and it still wasn’t working. So, I found some small changes I could make without much effort or sense of suffering and my last A1C test was greatly improved and my twice daily glucose readings dropped pretty dramatically. I do sometimes buy healthy prepared food from Trader Joe’s and make a few additions to stretch it out with additional veggies or fish on the days I just can’t cook from scratch. And I am a great fan of Dragon Bowls as I can prep ingredients easily while watching the news or whatever, and then have glorious “salads” with some oomph for a few days.

    1. Glad to hear that the small changes worked and helped your A1c level!
      Love those ideas for making meals easier! What are your Dragon Bowls like? They sound delicious!

      1. Soba noodles, or less often rice, super greens, Korean radish, baby bok choy and/or choy sum, and Taiwan spinach lightly sauteed in coconut oil, and a light dressing with some sesame oil, ginger, and rice vinegar. And many variations on that theme.

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