Are you tired of setting such a high standard for yourself? It’s time to show your inner perfectionist the door. Now is the time to lower your standards and sign up to the 1 day ‘Dare to be average’ challenge.
One-day challenge? Why only a day?
I know. A day doesn’t sound like very long. But if you’re high on the perfectionist spectrum, you’ll understand why it’s just a one day challenge (and not a 21 or 30 day challenge).
Most perfectionists are unlikely to take on a 30 day challenge. Why?
Their inner perfectionist is going to have a mini meltdown at the thought of 30 days:
What if I can’t do the Dare to be Average challenge perfectly? What if I fail?
The idea of being average for 30 days is just too scary and overwhelming.
But 1 day? That’s doable. Most perfectionists can handle this.
It may not be long enough to rewire your brain out of perfectionist patterns, but it’s an opportunity to dip your toe in the water and see what it feels like to lower your standards.
So what’s involved in the 1 day ‘Dare to be Average’ challenge?
Here’s a breakdown:
The night before the challenge
Spend some time drawing out your inner perfectionist. What does she or he look like? Smell like? What are they wearing? What are their deepest fears? Their hopes and dreams? What do they carry around with them?
Then take a good hard look at the picture of your inner perfectionist. Tell them that you need a little break. Some time out. Then proceed to rip up your picture.
You’re done with him or her (for a day). They can come back after the challenge. But for the rest of the evening and the next day, you want them out of your life.
On challenge day
1. Log off social media and keep away from magazines
You see, it’s in our biology to trust what we see with our eyes. This makes spending time in the highly curated and perfect worlds of Instagram, Facebook and glossy magazines extremely dangerous.
We run the risk of comparing ourselves to these unrealistic photoshopped standards. Comparison is like fertiliser for perfectionism, so keep clear of these media streams. They’ll only make you feel ‘insta-bad’ and ‘insta-jealous’.
2. Set your expectations really low
Do away with long, overly ambitious to-do lists. Your to do list should comprise of three tasks. That’s all.
As you engage with each task, your job is to focus on the process (rather than outcome). If you don’t finish the tasks you set out to do, no stress! Congratulate yourself for making a good start on them.
3. Resist the urge to clean
Leave the dirty dishes in the sink. It’s not going to kill you to leave a few things lying around the place. Embrace your inner slob.
Our culture values cleanliness and organisation. Somehow if you have papers and dirty dishes lying around, you’re viewed as being defective. Not in this challenge though!
On the challenge, you’re going to reframe how you view your mess. Instead of seeing it as a sign that you’re not quite up to scratch, see it as a sign that you’re up to stuff. You’re living life!
4. Verbally reject perfectionist thinking
Every time your inner perfectionist creeps back in and you hear him or her muttering negative thoughts (“Your work is rubbish”), you need to verbally reject these thoughts as quickly as possible.
It could be as simple as saying, “Whatever!”. Or you could really let loose by saying:
That’s it! You’ve said enough! I don’t have time for this rubbish! Get out of here! Go sort the sock drawer!
But here’s the most important part of the 1 day ‘Dare to be Average’ Challenge …
5. Try something new
This is about stepping outside of your comfort zone and making yourself vulnerable to potentially making mistakes.
If and when you make a mistake, simply ask yourself the question, What can I learn from this?
See the mistake as an opportunity to grow, rather than a sign of failure.
6. Reflect on past achievements and how awesome you are
At some point in the day, take 5-10 minutes to reflect on your past achievements and good qualities. You’ve accomplished a lot, but chances are you don’t stop to reflect on what you’ve achieved … do you?
Take a few minutes to jot down all the good things you’ve done over the course of your life. Don’t worry about perfect handwriting. Scribble down all your achievements. The messier, the better!
How do you feel when you think your accomplishments? If you’re not satisfied, then your expectations are too high. It’s time to lower them. Get down low and go, go, go!
Theory underpinning the challenge
This ‘Dare to be Average’ challenge may sound strange but here’s the theory that underpins it:
Many people who aim for perfection in their lives end up not achieving much (or if they do, the process is super slow, inefficient and painful). Perfectionists spend their days in their heads, but fail to take action to fulfil on their dreams and goals.
But when you give yourself the freedom to be average, it’s easier to take that first step. It’s easier to be in action and have more fun doing what you need to do.
To sum up
You might be wondering how you sign up to the ‘Dare to be Average’ Challenge and if there’s an app you can download. Do you get points for doing certain things on the challenge? No. There’s no sign up form, no app and no prizes for completing the challenge. You don’t get any points for trying something new. Why?
Because you’re doing this for you. Not for external rewards or praise. And the sooner you experience how intrinsically satisfying it can be to be fully engaged in a task and not worried about the final outcome, the closer you get to slaying your inner perfectionist.
Being average may feel scary, but it can also be liberating. Try it out and see how your day goes.