Balance is the best path towards a healthy body and mind. When we strive for perfection we are setting unrealistic expectations that ignore unknown and unforeseen variables that we can’t control. Life is full of complex relationships between us and our environment, our family, and our community. We don’t operate in a vacuum, and therefor we cannot accurately predict perfect outcomes. Focusing on how things “should” be eliminated the possibility for us to thrive in the present reality of our actual experience.
Finding balance starts with a shift in the way we talk to ourselves, evaluate ourselves, and set goals.
Step 1. Take “Should” out of your vocabulary. Catch yourself every time you start to say that you should be doing/thinking/feeling something else. And catch yourself every time you impose a “should” statement on others. Just notice and adjust, switch to “could” and then ask yourself why. If your reasoning is based on something someone else believes, then perhaps reconsider. Create your own action plan based on what you know works for you. Try to learn from others without assigning rigid all-or-nothing rules.
Step 2. Increase your acceptance of what is and recognize when things go right. Humans are designed to avoid failure, which is great for survival, not so great for fulfillment. When we’re only noticing what is wrong, or less than optimal, we’re teaching our brains to ignore the billions of small successes that we each experience every day. With a “don’t mess it up” mentality, we’re robbing ourselves of pride, leaving us less confident and motivated to feel our best. Instead of noticing how well we did, we’re jumping right on to the next thing we have to not get wrong. Take a moment to savor the success of living.
Step 3. Figure out what you’re really trying to accomplish. Set goals that make sense. Do you want to feel better, look better, communicate better, love yourself more, relax more, etc.? Whatever your goals are, create a way to remind yourself of them often so that you’re not losing sight of what really matters to you. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the daily tasks and operations that take us away from our internal experiences of wellness. Make a list, a vision board, or any other way to keep these things at the front of your mind. Your fulfillment comes from the inside, the rest is just stuff.
Step 4. Do small things. One little thing per day that applies to your actual goals for yourself is enough to keep you motivated and on track to feeling the benefits of your growth and achieving what you’ve set out for yourself. If you want to start eating healthier, just make one healthier choice per day, until that feels easy, then make one more. This applies to any goal, don’t set yourself up to fail by expecting perfection.
When you start making these small shifts, you’ll find more balance, and less self-criticism. That’s how you find fulfillment in your life.