If you have high standards for yourself, then you’re already ahead most people. Despite being seen by others around you as “successful” or “accomplished,” you feel that there is still so much more to be done and to improve, and being 100% content has always been a rare occurrence. No matter how well you may have done something, you are determined to work even harder to make sure that you do it better next time. It’s a trait to be proud of; it’s what fuels innovation.
When computers were first made, we could’ve been content and simply left them as the refrigerator-sized machines with minuscule memories. Instead, we decided that they weren’t enough. With trial and error, we have found a way to make them fit in our hands, with memory capacities that make their predecessors seem insignificant. This continuous desire to improve is what pushes mankind forward.
However, having high standards for yourself is a double-edged sword. While your brain is programmed to always crave improvement, failing to do so every once in a while is inevitable; it’s part of being human. It’s important to remember to give yourself some credit and acknowledge how far you’ve come. In our journey to be the best version of ourselves, we will make mistakes that may temporarily stall our growth. But, they’re exactly just that: temporary.
If you really didn’t feel like going to the gym today, but still managed to force yourself and do just 15 minutes on the treadmill instead of 30, don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re still miles ahead from the “you” who never left the couch. If you’re still disappointed in yourself, look back at how far you’ve come from when you first started working out. Give yourself the “job well done!” you deserve, but never get. It helps to think of yourself as another person, and how you’d treat them in this case. If you saw someone struggling, you probably wouldn’t say “You didn’t complete your workout today. You’re so lazy and a failure,” but would instead say something like “Hey! You tried and that’s better than nothing! Keep it up!” So why not be that nice to yourself every once in a while? We tend to be extra harsh on ourselves, and it’s essential to cut ourselves some slack every now and then.
This doesn’t just apply to working out, but also to pretty much anything in our lives. Made a bad investment? Don’t forget the ones you got right. Not happy with how your sketch came out? Your 12-year-old self could only dream of creating something that good. Didn’t get the role you auditioned for? Remember all the other times you kicked your competition’s ass.
This is life. It has its ups and downs. Giving yourself tough love is what will take you to new heights and help you become the best version of yourself, but sometimes, it’s good to take it down a notch, relax, and appreciate how far you’ve come.