This past week (or maybe two or three, who knows I am struggling to keep track at this point!) has been an absolute whirlwind. I have become inundated with projects, meetings, deliverables, and other time consuming activities and feeling like I am constantly running from one thing to the next. Of course some of the busyness is self-induced and energy spent on activities that I love, but unfortunately a lot of it has involved obligations and responsibilities that I have less passion for to say the least. And I know that I am not alone as we transition from summer to fall, a lot of people can agree the change in season brings a different structure, schedule, and atmosphere along with it. It is a return to routine and normalcy for many, even those who are not directly impacted by the return to school.
In times of stress and increased workload, I often find that I struggle because I am indeed a recovering perfectionist. I have always been someone who has foolishly maintained impossibly high standards for myself which can (and has) led to a lot of frustration for not only me, but also those around me. As someone who truly gain more energy with the more that I do, I am quite susceptible to taking on way too many things and not always great at prioritizing. To my husband’s absolute consternation, I will often exclaim that “EVERYTHING is a priority,” as he tries helplessly, although earnestly, to take some things off my plate or delay them. Some of the things I want to do are even in conflict with one another or mutually exclusive. Further, I am quite unrealistic in particular about the amount of time that something will require. Therefore, there are times when I find an incredibly long or arduous to do list in front of me, which is not actually physically possible to complete within a 16-18 hour day. It is FRUSTRATING.
This perfectionism can definitely manifest itself in many other potentially harmful ways. Often obsessiveness about getting things right (as opposed to just getting them going) can quickly become paralyzing. Fear of failure and excessively critical self-evaluation is not only detrimental to personal growth and but it can also lead us to give up before we start. Combine this with the more general tendency of people to use “tomorrow logic,” which is the false perception that we will always start (or stop) something tomorrow, and you have the perfect storm for not getting ever getting started. We, for some reason, believe that in the future we will be able to suddenly be better equipped to manage or motivate ourselves to make whatever positive change it is that we are hoping to institute. We often think to ourselves: I’ll start my diet next week, or in the fall I’ll make time to exercise, or I will have more time to read starting next month, or I can start saving money after XYZ. The problem is that often this tomorrow never comes and we might not even set things in motion if we try to wait for the perfect time. This is particularly important for me to recognize in the exceptionally busy seasons of life.
So I would encourage you (as I try to encourage myself) to listen to the wisdom of Voltaire, who described “the perfect as the enemy of the good.” If we are too adamant about the total realization of the ideal goal, without allowing ourselves any compromise or grace, we are very likely not to achieve even a part of our objective. We can become so caught in cycles of analyzing and reanalyzing each and every step that nothing actually gets done. As Dr. Alex Lickerman wrote in Psychology Today, “if we allow ourselves to remain at the mercy of our desire for perfection, not only will the perfect elude us, so will the good.” Being aware and reminding myself of this can help. Usually the best time to start something is NOW. Don’t get it perfect, get it going.
And while I work through this busy time, I am trying to embrace the “good” and keeping things simple in terms of cooking rather than making the perfect, most elaborate meals everyday. Which means I roasted a whole chicken for lunch yesterday which provides me with enough leftovers for the entire week of lunches. And instead of a time consuming snack option this week, I made these Raw Brownie Bites which require only 5 ingredients and about 10 minutes to make! #WINNING They are raw, Paleo, Vegan, no added sugar and so delicious, convenient, easy to make, and can even be stored in the freezer for a rainy day – they are basically the “perfect” little treat 🙂
Serves: 20 ish
- Pitted Dates 20 each
- Walnuts .5 cup (60 g)
- Raw Almonds .5 cup (60 g)
- Raw Cacao Powder (or Unsweetened Cocoa) .5 cup (50 g)
- Unsweetened Shredded/Desiccated Coconut .5 cup (50 g)
- Start by softening the dates to allow for easier mixing with other ingredients in your blender or food processor. You have two options: 1. Soak them in a bowl with water just covering them for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. The longer you soak the easier it will be to combine them. OR 2. You can chop them into slightly smaller pieces, put in a bowl with water just covering them and microwave for 30-60 seconds. Either way, once finished drain the dates, but save some of the water in the bowl.
- Place the walnuts and almonds into your blender or food processor and pulse until combined and coarse meal results.
- Add the dates, cacao/cocoa, and half of the coconut to the blender and mix until a thick dough is formed. If things are getting stuck, you can add a very small (1 TSPN at a time) bit of the remaining date water to help out.
- Place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to allow the mixture to slightly harden. In the meantime, pour the remaining coconut on a small plate.
- Remove from the fridge and roll tablespoon size portion between your hands to shape into a small ball, roll the ball in the coconut to coat and then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place in the refrigerator until firm. And then enjoy!