The Relationship Between Stress and Perfectionism as Related to Exercise
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Health and Wellness

The Relationship Between Stress and Perfectionism as Related to Exercise

A Perfectionist's Guide To Making Your Exercise Goals A Reality

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The Relationship Between Stress and Perfectionism as Related to Exercise
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I’ll start this post by telling you about myself. I am a college student at a music conservatory program. I am extremely hard on myself and I am a “must have straight A’s” type of student. Well, between my education and all of the time it takes whether that be class time, rehearsals, or homework and studying time, combined with TRYING to have a social life and remaining in touch with family and myself, I find myself continually wanting and needing to exercise. But the problem is, I never feel like I have the time, or I make excuses when I do have the time, partially due to fear of failure or doubt of perfection. Now let’s rewind to the summer months. Here, I have to practice and brush up on certain academic responsibilities, but generally speaking, I do have more time in my schedule. So I go and make a plan and schedule to go to the gym every day. Well, being 5’3” and of a more athletic frame, my daily exercise soon started making me look like a bodybuilder. I was eating well, the best I have ever eaten, but while I was just trying to tone my muscles and lose weight, I found myself gaining “scale” weight and “looking” bigger, even though I was physically feeling better. So I stopped…determined to now lose all the muscle I had just gained because the number on the scale wasn’t cutting it…literally. Now, how does perfectionism come into play? Well, I had an idea in my head and an end goal, though not a carefully planned path to get there. When people desire to lose weight, their goal sounds something along the lines of, “I will lose 20 pounds.” Okay, so I am glad you want to make this change, but HOW are you going to do it?


Make SMART goals.
S-Specific M-Measurable A-Attainable R-Relevant T-Time-Based

What motivates this goal? What are you looking for besides the surface layer of your goal?

If you want to lose weight, let’s use the same example–20 pounds over a short period of time–and you find that that goal is not attainable for you and your schedule or you feel as though it will add more stress and bad than good, try re-centering your goal to sound something like, “I will work with a nutritionist, dietitian, and/or personal trainer to create a healthy, attainable nutrition and exercise plan to tone my muscles and live a happier, more fulfilling life. My goal is to NOT focus on the number on the scale, but instead base my achievements on the consistency of my plan, as I juggle it with a full course load.

This forces us perfectionists to shy away from the ALL or NOTHING plan when we don’t get the EXACT results we are looking for. I know that health professionals usually want people to shy away from the number, but in this case, I advise it because it can soon become an obsession that spirals you into a negative direction. I am currently attempting to take my own advice.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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