Let's start with a metaphor:
I've been a vegetarian for almost five years. Non-veggies, and those who have never flirted with the meatless world, usually have questions and comments about my eating habits – they tell me how they could never do it themselves, couldn't go without bacon, wouldn't know know what to eat.
I always say that not eating meat is a lot like cutting back on sugar – the less you have of it, the less you crave of it. It gets out of your system and suddenly a black bean burger will suit that Five Guys craving just fine.
While I've never cheated on my veggie-ism, there is one idea about being a vegetarian that people seem to overlook, and that idea has to do with perfection.
Here's the thing about being a vegetarian: You don't have to cut meat completely out of your life. It's up to you how you define your eating habits. For example, maybe you'll only eat meat during the holidays, or let yourself cheat with a burger on special occasions. Your vegetarianism is something you're striving for, and there are no vegetarian mean girls watching your every move.
I use vegetarianism as a metaphor for all of the goals and changes that we want to make in our lives. Because here's the thing:
Striving for high goals and only accepting the perfect will guarantee you disappointment.
We live in an all-or-nothing society and spend a lot of time beating ourselves up trying to fit into the mold of the goals that we've created. Not only is this unfair, but it sets you up for disappointment and self-blame.
If you're into New Year's resolutions, keep this in mind when creating and forming your plans for next year: the goals and changes you might want to make in your life are your goals and you should only focus on doing what you can personally do to meet those goals. Stop beating yourself up for falling slightly short.
Let's put this in concrete terms. If you'd like to make a resolution, consider the following:
Aim to workout four times a week, but don't hate yourself for going three times
Plan to eat healthier, yes, but for the love of god – cheat on weekends, and don't hate yourself for it
Shop local makers and designers when you can, but don't be mean to yourself for also going to Target
Set your expectations at a realistic level. You're probably not going to go the the gym (or the class) every day of the week. And as much as you want to, your budget next month might only allow for a Walgreens greeting card rather than something of the letterpress variety.
It might feel like the end of the world at the time, but you're doing the best that you can, and that's something that we could all go into the new year realizing a lot more often. If, at the time you did your best with the resources and knowledge you had, then that's meeting your goal.
You did your best. That's enough.