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I used to set myself up for failure; if I couldn’t do it perfectly, then I didn’t do it at all. This meant that if I had one bite of something that was not on my prescribed plan, I thought I had screwed up the whole day. So, I may as well screw up the rest of the day; following this binge―restrict & deprive, evil cycle of death. Hearing the False Rationalizer whisper in my ear – I could always start over again tomorrow.

Perfectionism is paralyzing. It’s a mental habit, a habit of the mind that steals your peace and causes anxiety and stress. It’s also a symptom of non-acceptance. 

The problem? If perfectionism is all you’ve ever known, thinking anything else can seem foreign, hard, uncomfortable or worse yet, impossible. But don’t let that fool you, it’s only an old habit. 

Progress is eating a cookie in the middle of your day, then finishing the day with a healthy dinner. Yes, this is possible, through the use of thought redirection and evidence journaling, tools you learn in habit & behavior change for habits of the mind.

In this Video:

Video Transcription: 

Are you always working so hard to have the most perfect day with your food? Or are you always striving for the best emotions in a day? You judge your day based upon, “Oh, you know, was I happy today? Was I feeling good today? Was I giggly and bubbly today?” Or are you completely stressing yourself out at work because you’ve got projects coming in, and they have deadlines, and those projects have to be perfect, or god forbid you might get fired? I want you to know that perfectionism is a habit of the mind. My name is Maya. I’m a behavioral registered dietitian and creator of the Habit and Behavior Change Curriculum, an online curriculum for stress, binge, and emotional eaters, not just to help you into permanent weight loss, but most importantly into peace of mind.

The habit behavior change formula that I’ve created to get myself out of the place that you are in is to, it looks like this. We start with a physical behavior, and this tends to be food or any other drug of choice like busyness or alcohol and our behaviors are driven by our emotions. Those emotions such as stress, anxiety, overwhelm, depression, any emotional habits that we have, that maybe we probably don’t want to be feeling, drive those behaviors. Now most importantly we only feel what we feel because of what it is that we’re thinking, meaning that the thoughts that we think drive what we feel, which ultimately drive our behaviors. Thought habits, emotional habits, and physical habits or behaviors.

Now habits are all these automatic autopilot ways and states of living and existing. They’re like tying your shoes, driving a car, riding a bike. We do them and we don’t even think about them. I want you to see your perfectionism, the way of thinking of thought in the mind as a habit. It is as easy for you to think perfectionistic type thoughts and not be able to accept what is in the reality of your day as it is for you to choose a cookie over an apple. That’s how easy it is because it is a habit. When you can see perfectionism as a habit of the mind, you also know because of its nature that it’s completely changeable, that you can change how it is that you think. I always tell my students on the journey in Habit and Behavior Change that this is not about learning to do differently. You and I, we’ve been on 998 diets, we’ve done differently 998 times and fallen on our face just as many. This is about learning to think differently.

When we learn to think differently and be the director of the 50,000 thoughts that we have in a day, then we can start to create new neural pathways in our brain to start thinking differently. As we do that, because right now all we know is two modes as a fellow recovering perfectionist, black and white, pizza and cake, carrots and celery, all or nothing, 0% 100%, these are the only two modes that you know, these are the only two modes that are habitual. As we practice seeing what’s in between, what’s that space in between, what’s gray, what’s 50%, what is non-perfect, then we can be the director of our brains to start to see a different way and that’s what it is that we are looking for.

Now you don’t have to sit here and start managing your thoughts all day long. Students in the curriculum, they learn how to begin to understand the thought habits that are driving our emotions and our behaviors. Because it’s ridiculous to sit here and say, “Well, go be aware of your perfectionism habits of the mind.” Thoughts create emotions. 9 out of 10 times, not 10 out of 10 times, thinking of the current moment or not accepting the current moment and thinking of the future produces stress and anxiety. When you have stress and anxiety it is likely a flare up of the perfectionist thoughts in your head. When you are aware of those, then you can begin to see differently, then you can begin to learn to redirect the perfectionist thought pattern into what would a non-perfect world look like for me, obviously engaging and bringing more peace into your life which is the whole purpose.

If you are not inside the curriculum, the Habit Behavior Change Curriculum, I’ll put all the links that you need for yourself below, I encourage you to become a student of the curriculum. Certainly it’s changed my life and it’s changing hundreds of others. Join us now on the journey and start taking a look at your own perfectionism and how you can start to change it.