Lately, i’ve been trying to do better about my incessant need to be perfect. My perfectionism is something that i have always found annoying and kinda interesting. Because nowhere else in my life — in my writing, in my relationships, in my art, in my ideals — am i an absolutist, i.e. someone who thinks in an absolute black or white manner. i’ve NEVER been a strictly either/or, or my way or the highway, all or nothing kind of gal. And nowhere else in my life do i demand this kind of absolute resolve except when it comes to my productivity or doing/trying something new.
 
This past week (thanks to a gift from a good friend), i’ve introduced a new planning tool into my life, The Full Focus Planner. In the first few pages, you write out your annual goals, break down your goals, and then write out your morning ritual. Now, i’ve done all this before with other planners and development exercises, but for some reason writing it all down — especially my morning ritual — in this planner felt like i was setting it in stone.
 
This is what i wrote down:

  1. Set my intention = how i want to FEEL
  2. Make bed
  3. Meditate while making coffee/tea
  4. Journal write
  5. Read
  6. 5 sun salutations

 
In reality, i had already been doing everything i wrote down with the exception of making my bed (this was something new i wanted to incorporate into my ritual after reading Tim Ferriss’ VERY convincing reason for doing so {see pg. 143} in his book Tools of Titans ) and the 5 sun salutations.
 
The sun salutations were something i had been trying to incorporate into my daily schedule since last year, but for some reason, i just couldn’t get motivated to get my ass on the mat. Writing it down in this planner somehow made me believe that i would (finally) hold myself accountable to this desire and actual DO IT.
 
Monday, February 12th was my first fully planned out day with my new planner and i was determined to start both the week and my journey with it off right (read: perfectly). i went the through the first 5 pieces of my ritual without a hitch but when the time came for me to do #6, those damn sun salutations, i found myself wrestling with A) doing them and B) my perfectionism. My problem was i didn’t feel like doing 5 sun salutations — especially since the last two include the warrior pose. (In case you’re wondering, i practice Ashtanga Yoga).
 
What if i just do the three i’m okay with doing?, i thought to myself. ABSOLUTELY NOT! another voice in me answered. That’s not what you SAID you were going to do. If you only do 3, then you have failed the first day in a program that you wanted to fully invest in to change your habits so you can change your life. If you’re only going to 3, then you might as well not do them at all. 
 
And there i was, face-to-face with my absolutism: then you might as well not do them at all. It almost had me. Until another voice inside me said, even if you only do 3 you are still showing up for yourself
 
It was those last four words that got me. i snapped out of my perfectionist ways and began to settle into the idea that even if i did less than what i intended or had written down (5) i was still showing up for the intention, for the habit i was trying to create. Because the honest to goddess truth is: habits don’t require perfection; they require change — even if that change isn’t drastic, even if it’s only incremental you are still steps closer to your end goal than you are if you just didn’t show up because you failed to execute the EXACT number you wrote down. Come on, Brandi! YOU know better. 
 
i unrolled my mat, got my ass on it, and did 3 sun salutations. As i was rolling up my mat, i realized i had just done more sun salutations right then than i had done all the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 combined. And that staggering reality alone was enough for me to feel like i accomplished my mission — even though it was 2 less than i had intended.
 
The point is to not let our need for perfectionism sell ourselves short of the feeling of accomplishment that comes from simply showing up — in whatever form, in whatever number, for ourselves. Because i sure as shit felt better doing just 3 sun salutations than i ever would have doing none.
 
But today is a new day. And with a new set of hours comes the very same battles between me and my perfectionism just in different packaging. Monday it was sun salutations (today i did all 5), today it’s my ENTIRE schedule i set up for myself:

  1. Finish my Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones article for The Things
  2. Edit and finalize 3 blog posts
  3. Write intro script for 5 stories for the new Best of 2017 writing collection i’m working on

 
+ tons more “small” tasks i set down to complete.
 
After finishing the writings for my blog, i realized that this was where my energy wanted to stay — with me, in my own words, in my own light. But you have all this stuff to do. And you have to do to become — isn’t that what you’re always telling yourself and others? Yes, i answer. That’s the mask my perfectionism is wearing today. Tomorrow it will probably be something else. The day after another thing. It’s an ongoing battle, my need to be perfect in my execution.
 
So every day, i will steel myself in the only absolution that will ever serve me: that anything is better than nothing and anything is still a habit of showing up for myself and my dreams. Daily.
 
And in reality, that’s all i ever really i set out to do every day anyway.
 
xo-
 

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