We all know that perfection is the enemy of the good, right? And yet we continually expect perfection or near perfection from ourselves, especially when it comes to healthy habits like eating better, moving more or taking care of our mental health.
Today, I'd like to present a different approach, let's call it 70% or Good Enough.
70% is cool because:
it doesn't demand perfection, in fact it discourages it,
it delivers results,
it feels revolutionary, but actually it's just math…
When attempting to change behaviour, whether it's building a new habit like trying to exercise more or getting rid of an old one like snacking while watching tv; our natural tendency is to set the bar high and aim for perfection. The problem with this approach is that perfection is hard to attain and even harder to maintain. Now what if instead of aiming for perfection, instead of a 10, you went for something closer to 7 - good enough?
When perfection is the goal, adherence often looks like this…
We generally start off strong. Our motivation and enthusiasm is high. And then something happens and we slip, just a bit. The effort required for perfection is demanding. The little voice in our head starts in with the colour commentary, "This is hard" or "You deserve a break" or "I knew it wouldn't last". And next thing you know, you're free falling to "Screw it, I suck".
In comparison, what if you were to set good enough or 70% as the goal? To begin with, 70% takes less effort. You don't have to quit sugar entirely. Instead you can start by removing sugar in your coffee, eating plain yogurt or having half the amount of your usual treat. Next, when life happens, and you don't do what you intended, it feels more like a bump and less like a fall from grace - since you weren't on a pedestal. Even better, getting back to 70% from 50% or even 30% isn't as big of a step. Some days you may even find yourself exceeding 70% simply because it feels easy. The absence of the pressure to be perfect gives you some breathing room. The little voice in your head isn't constantly on the lookout for failure.
And now for the MATH
Your average effort in the perfection mindset scenario is 3.5. No wonder you never see or maintain results.
Your average effort in the good enough scenario is 6.8. What kind of results could you get if you exercised 70% of the time? Or ate an extra serving of vegetables instead of dessert 70% of the time? Or went to bed by 11pm twenty one days a month?
Good enough! It may seem revolutionary, but it's just math. 😊