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Part "12.9" - Unlocking Deep Health Exploring Gretchen Rubin's 'The Happiness Project' Secrets"

Updated: May 3

Yep, that's right - This is post "12.9".

Why? Simple - because I'm very supperstitious and the number 13 just isn't my favourite for various reasons!


We have four more posts (including this one) in our series based on Gretchen Rubin's lists in the "Happiness Project" book and how I see them connected to overall deep health. Thanks for following along with me. I always enjoy sharing things here in the Zen Blog with readers.

Here's today's point from Gretchen's list:

Flawed can be more perfect than perfection

Over my career, I have seen many people create their own barriers to a healthier lifestyle because of striving for perfection. This creates unrealistic and/or unsustainable practices that end up creating more frustration and confusion and ultimately minimal or brief results in their health goals.

My personal opinion of perfection as I get older (and argubaly wiser? LOL) is that "perfection" doesn't really exist. Well, kind of. I see perfection like art and like mindfulness.

Art speaks to the individual. It's as simple as that. Some art will give you a feeling and you don't always know why. You also don't have to. If you love it, you love it. Or vice versa. It is to YOU, whatever it is to YOU.

Perfection is also like mindfulness. In mindfulness, the more we strive for something and practice it with judgement the more mindfulness eludes us. Perfection is no different. Perfection is an outcome of simply doing or being in my opinion. The more we strive for "perfection" the more barriers we often create for ourselves, especially in our health.

Failure is just learning. And learning is NOT a bad thing

I shared a post here on the Zen Blog about this exact statement back in January 2023. It's also how my clients and I work together. There's no "failure". There's do and don't do. Action and inaction. That's it. Not failure.

In our deep health practices, we can approach everything with much less stress when we approach things with a growth mindset, and the idea that we're "self experimenting". We're simply gathering data on ourselves; "This works", "This kind of worked but could be adjusted a bit" and/or "that totally isn't working for me". From there two things happen:

  1. We've learned something about our health and ourselves overall

2. We can make an informed decision how to adjust, progress or regress whatever practice we're working on to improve or maintain our health.

Too often have I seen "perfectionist personalities" either abandon a new habit, change or health practice too quickly because "they feel like they're failing / it's not 'perfect'" OR they completely avoid trying for fear that it won't be "perfect".

I love this picture here, because it sums up what I'm discussing and what I've seen with clients over the years. Let's say a person has set a goal to lose 10lbs and decides to walk 5 days per week for an hour each day. Their first two weeks they hit their target. But in week 3, they only got 4 walks in because they had a hectic day at work and unexpectedly had to get their kid to the doctor after work. Meaning out of 15 possible walks, this person did 14. In our world of "perfect", "instant gratification" and "comparing ourselves to everyone", this person beats themselves up for missing that ONE walk. In their mind, their entire goal has fallen by the wayside and "they'll never lose the weight now".

This is a VERY real and common scenario that has nothing to do with macronutrients or how fancy your exercise program was; It has to do with mindset and those inner discussions that go on with ourselves in our own head, every day after we "fail".

Once again, we come back to BALANCE

We are reminded therefore, that BALANCE is what gives most people the upper hand when it comes to managing their deep health. I should say, what I admire about "perfectionism" is that the person clearly cares about whatever it is they are doing. That's a great quality to have! However, when that trait is so excessive to the point it's actually holding you back... that's not so great.

Approaching health with a balanced mindset of, "I'm going to do the best I can with this practice I want to put into my daily routines" while going about it with a growth mindset to allow for adjustments and "ah-ha" moments along the way... That's where I've seen the most success in clients.

Health isn't a competition. It's a way of living. Embrace it. Find ways that allow you to ENJOY it.


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