Perfection killed more goals than doubt ever did

Perfection is KILLING your progress with consistently doing healthy things. I should know, it happens to me regularly.

Let’s take this morning, for example. I have been ‘thinking’ about waking early and going to the gym to exercise before work for months! Literally months! But I haven’t actually DONE it because, well, I was thinking about how it would all work. And honestly, I felt like there was a lot to think about.

I needed new headphones because I have tiny ears and the Apple ones hurt me. I bought new headphones (over two months ago) that go over my whole ear. They still hurt but now it’s because they squish my brains and not because I’m trying to fit odd shaped white peas into my tiny ear holes.

I needed to decide whether I was comfortable showering at the gym. Other bathrooms are strange and have other people’s lurgies in them. Also, I like to shower sit and ponder the deep things in life when I shower. I couldn’t do this at the gym facilities. That would be weird.

I would miss out on waking up to my husband putting a double shot cappuccino on my bed side table. I know. I know. First world problems but it’s a highlight of my day.

I needed an app to guide my workouts because “I’m not motivated enough to exercise by myself”. I downloaded an app (and paid for it) 6 weeks ago. I didn’t use it once during that time. I looked at it though. I would open the app daily and often thought about which workout I would pick when I actually did go to the gym.

I needed to know, that if it came down to it, it would be ok to use dry shampoo everyday. I mean, is that what adults who exercise daily do? Also, if I wash my hair I don’t like exercising straight after because it ruins the ‘just washed’ feel. Not to mention, I don’t like washing my hair too often. When I was a kid, someone once told me that if I over washed my hair it would be greasy and ruined forever. That has stayed with me my whole life (and obviously affects key decisions)!

As you can see, I had analysis paralysis and I had it bad. Perfection was stifling my action and there I was, months later, still not doing what I knew would be a great morning routine. I was stuck in the ‘contemplation’ stage of change.

After thoroughly re-reading through the stages of change (I also teach it to my members) I decided that enough was enough. I gave my self a stern talking to: ‘Just take action Kate’.

I’ve tried to take action before and it NEVER goes perfectly. Not in the slightest. At most attempts, I quit before I’ve even started because something wasn’t quite right. So many excuses.

Here’s an interesting point that just came to me:

There are so many moving parts to our lives that if we rely on everything being just the way we like it we’ll never do anything! We’ll just stay as we are, affected by the forces around us, rather than just taking action and getting it done!

“Oh dear, I ran out of tinted moisturiser, I can’t go to the gym in the morning.” Serious. This was me.ย I’d miss out on any kind of accomplishment because I couldn’t have what I thought was perfect.

Not any more! I am taking action and I’m pleased to say that I entered the ‘preparation’ stage of change yesterday and today I took ‘action’!

Here’s what happened this morning:

The alarm went off at 5.30am. I said to my husband: “I don’t want to go, I’m going back to sleep.” Then my brain said: “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” I got out of bed.

I was so prepped from the night before, that I left the house in 10 minutes, drove to Stellar (my gym and work) and clambered into the lift with about 4 bags.

I forgot my headphones. This meant that the people around me endured the pop sensation which was Brittney and Christina blaring from my phone while coach Katie from Aaptiv guided me through ‘Fear Less’, a beginners cycling program. All the treadmills were full of runners just behind me. The noise they made were so loud I could hardly hear what Katie was saying. I figured if I stood up at random intervals and was sweaty by the end of it, then I did ok.

I also could help but think that all those poor runners behind me endured my bum while I stood up and ‘pushed harder’.

Workout complete. Check. Yay me!

I then went and bought a coffee. It was no Brad Freeman special but it hit the spot. I hustled upstairs for a shower.

As I was getting naked it dawned on me. I didn’t bring a towel. Dang it.

Unfortunately, I HAD to shower. My hair desperately needed washing. I was being filmed for some ACT Government videos today and my hair was TERRIBLE after being in a messy bun for 3 days straight.

I thought to myself: “I’ll just have jiggle lots and use my tights to dry myself”. And it worked. I scrub up ok, don’t you think?


I learnt a few things this morning:

  • When you get out of the shower you are dripping wet. I mean seriously. So. Much. Water.
  • Lorna Jane tights are fantastic as a head towel. Stick your head in the waist and the long legs make them perfect for twisting into a turban. My head smells like bum sweat but at least it looked ok.
  • You can use a hand dryer to dry pretty much any body part, provided you have the privacy to contort yourself into various positions.

Take action my friends! Don’t let perfection stifle you any more.

Article by Kate Freeman

Registered Nutritionist. Writer. Presenter. Home cook. Mother. Wife. Runner. Hiker. Amateur photographer.