I am a highly driven,task-oriented perfectionist. I set goals and make plans and create to-do lists. I get things done.
But I never seem to do things well enough to please myself. I could always do them better.
In some ways, I think my attention to detail and my drive to finish what I start are some of my best qualities. The world needs at least a few picky people: we’re the ones who proofread, who make sure a patient gets the correct dosage of some highly potent medicine, who check and check and check again to make sure an airplane is safe.
But as anyone who has ever been a perfectionist, parented a perfectionist, dated a perfectionist, or waved hello to a perfectionist on a sidewalk well knows, people like me need to chill.
Perfectionists sometimes find themselves in a fog of guilt that obscures their vision, making it hard to see their real failures or (more often) their real accomplishments. I don’t think all guilt is bad: sometimes, I should feel guilty. In those cases, it’s what I do with those feelings of guilt that’s the key.
But as I went jogging on Sunday, I reminded myself that there is no need for me to feel guilty about how often I jog. I’ve managed to stretch this 10 week program into something more like a 13 or 14 week program. The perfectionist in me doesn’t like that. The perfectionist in me doesn’t like the number of days I’ve missed and the fact that I’ve had to repeat some workouts. The perfectionist in me wants to stick to the plan, and the plan says 3 days a week for 10 weeks.
As I went jogging on Sunday, I gave the perfectionist in me a little talk. Remember, Self, the time when you couldn’t jog a full lap around the track? Remember when jogging for five minutes gave you stitches up your side and left you out of breath? Well, last Sunday, you jogged for a solid 25 minutes and you felt great. There’s no reason to feel guilty about that, even if you couldn’t go jogging on Tuesday this week.
No reason to feel guilty at all.
Pre-workout blood sugar: 244 mg/dl
The workout: 5 minutes warm-up. 25 minutes jogging. 5 minutes cool-down.
Post-workout blood sugar: 220 mg/dl
Pre-workout blood sugar: 290 mg/dl
The workout: same as Tuesday’s
Post-workout blood sugar: 150
Pre-workout blood sugar: 85
The workout: ditto
Post-workout blood sugar: 197