To this day, I still believe the greatest video game system ever created was the Nintendo 64. Back when games were actually difficult because they weren’t made for online play, and you never had to worry about your games being destroyed by getting scratched up. Although perhaps this is just the nostalgia talking…
When I was a kid my favorite button on my Nintendo 64 was the reset button. I would be playing a sports game, and maybe I would miss a basket or strike out and blow my perfect status. I would then hit “reset” and try again, because you know, everything had to be perfect. Before long I would get nowhere in the game and I’d soon grow weary of it.
In the fitness industry every one seems to want a reset button. It seems we all like waiting until Monday or even the New Year to start a new habit. It feels like these magical start dates are what will help us towards our new goal. Well a couple days or weeks in, we mess up and suddenly decide to throw everything away. I mean there is always next year.
Whether we admit it or not, we all have an innate desire for perfection. We like to make absolutely darn sure that the water is the temperature we want before we jump in. Truth is, the water will probably never be the right temperature.
This propensity to wait for the perfect time is one of the most common forms of procrastination, because quite frankly nothing will ever be perfect. In fact, now-a-days there are a lot of popular messages about not being afraid of failure; honestly, I don’t think many of us actually fear failure. I think many of us actually fear not being perfect.
Case and point, this somewhere around the 4th or 5th blog I’ve started. I’ll admit, I am David Howington, and I struggle with perfectionism…
This fear of not being perfect leads to the term “analysis paralysis”. There are things we want to do in life where before we do it we want to make sure everything is laid out just right. We want the perfect plan, and we spend hours agonizing over that plan. Before long, a couple years have passed without any progress because we haven’t actually started. We spend so long analyzing everything that we never actually did anything.
My summer job in high school was as a swim instructor. There was a summer where the temperature was consistently around 70 degrees or cooler, and the heater in the pool wasn’t working well. Unfortunately, because I taught younger kids I did not have the luxury of simply sitting out in a nice warm towel teaching. I had to be in the pool with the kids. I soon realized the best thing I could do for myself was to simply jump in and get my whole body wet. More often than not, I found my body would then quickly acclimate itself to the water, and I wouldn’t feel so cold anymore.
This anecdote has many truths in life. Whatever our goals may be, or whatever the next step may be sometimes it helps to just jump in… Pardon the cliche.
I am not saying you shouldn’t have a plan, but I am also saying the plan doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact this is the beauty of life, is often times we have to learn as we go. Ask any parent, they probably have an idea of what they want for their kids, but if they waited until everything was perfect they may never experience the joy of parenthood. I am willing to bet most parents are never truly ready to be parents.
I think the same holds true for our goals or dreams. It’s important to have an idea and a direction but if we wait until everything is actually perfect we may miss out on a joy far greater than any imperfection.