My Birthday Present: Letting go of Perfectionism

So today I turn 30 (confetti emoji).  I was trying to think of some really big amazing post to bring you all the feels, but kept striking out.  I finally decided to just tell you the truth.

As this year began I started having all the very mid-life-crisis-like goals arise.  I needed to have everything together if I was going to be happy when I turned 30.  I needed to have the perfect job, marriage, house, body, LIFE.  Everything would be “just so” and life would be complete.  Herein lies a major problem: no one has “everything together”.  There is no such thing as a perfect job, marriage, house, body, and life.

I kept trying.  Really trying.  “I will workout every morning at 6am, eat perfectly clean (eye-roll emoji), and be to work early so I can work on blog stuff for one hour before starting work.”  Thoughts like this jammed up my brain space day in and day out.  “UGH, I slept through my alarm!!! I’m supposed to be the healthy person, why can’t I get it together?!?”  Self-defeating statements became part of the habitual beating-myself-up process.  I wasn’t perfect.  I wasn’t even making progress at this point, and August was looming ever-so-closely in the future.

It took me several months into the year of trying to get perfect and failing before I realized what I REALLY wanted and needed for my 30th birthday; permission to not be perfect.

So, sometime over the summer I decided to break up with perfectionism once and for all.  It wasn’t a clean break-up.  We tried to make it work on and off for several weeks, but in the end, I refused to stay in the relationship.  Perfection had to go and I knew I’d be better off for it.

What does it look like to break-up with perfectionism?  Well, it depends on what areas of your life you’ve let it be a part of your life.  For me, this was quite a few places.  I had to actively tell myself it was ok if I didn’t post to Instagram at the “perfect” time of day.  It was ok if lunch ended up being handfuls of granola and iced coffee in front of my computer screen. It’s replacing should statements with statements of “I’ll do my best”.

What it does NOT mean is to abandon all nutrition knowledge and live in food apathy.  To rebel against my tendencies to keep a tidy house and leave all the dishes in the sink until there’s an unidentifiable stench coming from the kitchen.  It doesn’t mean I have to stop being me, it just means I’m letting go of extremes.

Ironically, I have all the knowledge and understanding of why perfectionism is not a healthy or helpful ideal. However, even as an “expert” my personality tendencies led me to a place that was unhealthy.  This, then, is just a reminder to you that we ALL deal with things.  Even this awesome-amazing-exercise physiologist-instagram-star that you follow deals with things (#instafamous #kidding #butreallythough).

Since breaking up with perfectionism I’ve rediscovered the freedom and beauty of life.  Life looks different every day, and if we let perfectionism dictate whether it’s a successful day, we’ll live in a never-ending state of disappointment and be overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy.  Let’s not live this way.

Here’s to turning 30 and loving life.  Every single messy part.



Adrienne is a Certified Exercise Physiologist and holds a masters degree in Exercise Science. Her passion is to help people find a healthy balance between #IIFYM and #YOLO.

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