How many times in life do you strive for perfection and continually fall short, only to give up altogether? If you are anything like me, eating healthy and exercising always begins again every Monday. I vow that I will yell less, hug more, work less, play more – only to quit because I am not living up to what I feel I should not only attain, but maintain.
A great friend of mine told me this saying: “Take it to the NEXT level,” and I think it’s perfect. It really made me stop and think. The idea is not to attain perfection; the idea is to only bring it up one notch, which in all honesty, who can’t achieve that?
Eating would look like chewing on a smaller portion instead of inhaling seconds and thirds and fourths. With exercising, that might mean instead of moving my body three days a week I strive for four, or instead of 20 minutes, I aim for 25.
For my marriage, that might mean tackling a household chore that my husband hates, or making his favorite dessert, or offering to run errands (with the kids) so he can have the house to himself.
With my kids, it could look like spending 10 extra minutes really listening to them or taking an extra 5 minutes in the morning to tuck a special note in their lunchbox. Maybe it is snuggling together, reading a favorite story, or coloring while watching a family friendly TV show.
It is going to look different for every single person, but for me, it frees me up from trying to be perfect and instead motivates me to work toward being my best. Putting on makeup even if I am just staying home for the day, drinking that extra glass of water instead of a whole pot of coffee, and the list goes on.
And who knows – it might be contagious. When I stop expecting unrealistic expectations from myself, maybe I will stop expecting that from my family too and they in turn will feel relaxed enough to personalize their choices, and “take it to the NEXT level” for themselves.