I work with high achievers who are adept at setting big goals and getting out of their comfort zones. However, many of them struggle to slow down and take it easy. I too have been guilty of this in business and in fitness – finding it difficult to take days off, rest, or go for easier and average routines.
Why? For many of us it is rooted in perfectionism. At some point, we believed that we were not good enough if we didn’t go to the extreme. We received praise and admiration for going the proverbial extra mile and took that as a message that it is only good enough if we take it above and beyond.
I remember years ago struggling to take an off day, or to just do a yoga class. Because it wasn’t an all-out punishing calorie burn, I felt cheated. I also would feel guilty if I took a break at work. For example, I had a hard time being OK with going on vacation because I felt I was missing out on seeing clients, improving at my coaching techniques, and of course, generating revenue.
This drive to excel can have a darker side. Two of my clients this week found it. One suffered a back injury after doing 30 straight days of an intense workout. Another client had an awakening when she looked at herself in the mirror and saw the toll her over working had taken on her skin. She had bags under her eyes and wrinkles that hadn’t been there just months before.
This all or nothing mentality also lends itself to quitting. When we don’t adhere to our rigid routines, many of us quit. The thought is that if we can’t do it 100%, then it isn’t worth doing. The irony is, we often quit all together thereby ensuring that we don’t get the result we want.
So, what is he remedy?
One thing I recommend is playing for the long game by giving yourself permission to take it easy. I personally want to be physically fit and successful in my life coaching business for as long as possible. Consequently, to have long term success, I have to go easy at times. This can look like taking that low impact Peloton ride, or a Yin yoga class, or taking a half day on a Friday.
If we don’t rest then we get injured, we burnout, we get bags under our eyes and wrinkles. Who wants that?
Secondly, be compassionate with yourself. No one is going to notice if you take a day off from working out, if you overdo it with processed food, or if you take some time for yourself. Beating yourself up only leads to negative results long-term.
I urge you this week to give yourself permission to engage in some self-care and be okay with an average workout or work day. You will stay in the game longer if you do. You are already good enough, my friend, and you don’t need to prove it any more.
If you or someone you know believes they need to slow down, but struggles to, reach out for a consultation call with me and we will find this precious balance together.