If you’re anything like me, you likely wait for things to feel absolutely perfect before taking any action. You want everything to be just right - the best, most correct plan, answer, or target. If you often feel like you’re at a standstill and can’t see a way forward until everything is perfectly lined up in the way you imagined, this episode is for you.
Whether you overtly identify as a perfectionist, or perfectionist tendencies come up more subtly for you, waiting for perfection is actually a serious obstacle to forward progress and creating massive results in weight loss. This week, I’m introducing you to a concept I call imperfect harmony to help you move beyond standstill and challenge this perfectionist programming gently so you can get to your goals.
Tune in as I show you why waiting to feel perfectly harmonious about a decision is futile. You’ll discover what happens when you wait to have 100% buy-in or feel completely on board with a decision, and examples from my own family life to show you why embracing imperfect harmony is what will move you closer to the results you want.
Hey, I'm Dr. Priyanka Venugopal and you're listening to Weight Loss for Unstoppable Moms, episode four, Imperfect Harmony. If you're anything like me, you've waited for things to feel perfect to start taking action. But today I'm going to talk to you about why this can be a serious obstacle to creating massive results.
If you want to reach your ideal weight and create lightness for your body, you need to have simplicity, joy, and strategic decisions infused into your life. I'm a physician turned life and weight loss coach for ambitious working moms. I've lost over 60 pounds without counting calories or crazy exercise plans. Most importantly, I feel calm and light on the scale and in my life. There's some delicious magic when you learn this work and the skills I'm going to be teaching you. Ready? Let's get to it.
Okay. First of all, you are all amazing. I'm recording this episode just two days after the [00:01:00] launch of my first three episodes and your messages, feedback and reviews are blowing my mind. I've always considered myself a fairly shy and introverted person. If you told me a few years ago, "Priyanka, one day, you'll be sharing your voice with the world in the form of a podcast," I really would have likely rolled my eyes.
More as an act of self-deprecation because I had this label that this just wasn't me. I was someone who stayed in the box and on the path. A little kid goes to high school and then college and then medical school and the residency. And here's the thing, I thought I had so much agency at the time. Like I was a free bird living in the world. But I wasn't, I was on a programmed pathway. And this programmed pathway really came in the form of labels and stories that I had told myself along the way.
So me being here right now is just one example that you don't have to walk around with that programmed path anymore, if you don't want to. You can challenge it gently. And that's what we're doing [00:02:00] here together every single week. It's okay for it to feel a little uncomfortable. And today I'm going to be talking to you about the imperfect harmony and the role that it plays in weight loss.
Just two quick things before we jump into today's episode. The first is if my voice sounds a little raspy, I apologize. I'm just getting over a cold. And the second thing is the podcast launch celebration is open for one more week. I would love for one of you, amazing listeners, to win a pair of apple AirPods. Make sure you get all the delicious details at www.theunstoppablemombrain.com/podcast to get yourself in.
So I know it's an extra step, but it's well worth it.
Okay. So what is imperfect harmony?
This is a phrase I'm coining to bring together two concepts that I think are required to make for progress towards any big goal.
This could be weight loss, promotions, work advancement, betterment of a relationship.... picking a movie for family movie night. [00:03:00] I'm going to break it down into its two components: the imperfection and the harmony.
So imperfect. This is a hard one for many, many women. Even if you don't personally identify as a perfectionist, I'd be willing to bet that you have some subtle tendencies that may be under the guise of good work ethic or wanting someone else to be happy with something.
In our family every weekend, we do family movie night. Now this has been a bit of an up and down experience for us because there's four of us and we all love different things. There was a time that my son was super into the movie Coco and my daughter just wanted Frozen. My husband and I just wanted to watch something that we hadn't watched a hundred times.
So what would we do? We'd start with some previews and on on started the discussion and it would start something like this. My son would say, no way. Let we get to the next preview. And then my son would say yes, and then my daughter would say no way. It was [00:04:00] literally a statistical impossibility for the four of us to actually agree on one movie.
The only exception that I can actually remember in the last few months was Encanto, which the four of us just loved and probably played numerous times. I think this is a fairly common story in many families, movie night, family, dinner, weekend activities. We aren't always going to get everyone 100% on board and in agreement.
We don't just cancel movie night.
We don't let the one naysayer hijack the whole movie.
We don't not cook the family dinner or do the family activity.
We don't just put our life at a standstill every time one member of the family doesn't agree. And if we did this, we know how frustrated everyone feels. Somehow with things like movie night and family dinner, we somehow accept maybe everyone won't be 100% perfectly on board.
And this is how we move beyond standstill. As long as we have some agreement as a family unit, we can move forward. So for our movie night and my family, [00:05:00] we've implemented a few rituals. We have a constrained amount of time that we spend in deciding and discussing.
We spend a few minutes, we don't exactly vote, but we get a sense of what the general feeling is. And then the most important step, we pay a little bit of attention to the naysayer. The one that's saying, no, I don't want to watch this movie.
We say: we totally get it, and maybe next time you can pick.
And then we hit play and start the movie.
This isn't perfect, but it's movement towards the second piece: harmony.
It's imperfect because we don't all agree, but we're able to take action that is harmonious. I tell you my family movie night, as an example of imperfect harmony and the same principles apply to you reaching your ideal weight. Now, remember the movie night example, we don't just not watch the movie..
But this is what we often do and what I find so many women do when it comes to weight loss, we stopped [00:06:00] taking action. When we don't feel everything is perfectly lined up. And I like to call this the perfect standstill.
Now you may or may not consider yourself a perfectionist. I'm going to give you a bunch of examples and have you consider whether this shows up in your life, you may find yourself experiencing little pieces of perfectionism if you...
Hesitate on taking action until you create a plan that feels perfect.
You research a topic incessantly to find the best option .
You read, reread and edit an email multiple times before submitting it... and even after you submit it, you peruse it again, just because.
You believe that there is a better, more right answer the more you search.
You make a decision and then you question or rethink the decision after the fact.
If you don't get the exact result you desired, you believe it's because you implemented an imperfect plan. So you go back to perfecting the plan.
You keep [00:07:00] waiting for it to " feel right" before taking action.
Maybe you poll the audience, you ask your partner, your friends, your family, for their opinions to give you advice and fuel your belief.
You look at the successful people in your life and try to copy what they do.
Here's a good one: you spend more time planning, thinking about the plan and researching the best plan than you do implementing a plan.
I know that was a fairly long list, but I wanted to be thorough in how you consider how slight thoughts of perfectionism might be influencing your life in subtle and overt ways. The result in all of these examples that I just gave you is that you stay at a standstill and you stay at a standstill because you're waiting for that quote unquote perfect plan.
Here's the nugget. Why do we actually do this? Why do we wait for the best, the better, the perfect plan to consider taking action? The reason that I have found that most women [00:08:00] seek the "perfect plan", the more right answer, the best plan, the lineup of 100% agreement for family movie night... is really because we want to feel a certain way.
We want to feel peaceful harmony. Right?
We think that if everyone was on board, if everything was perfectly lined up, if we had the best meal plan, then we wouldn't experience any discomfort. But this isn't true. When it comes to implementing there's always going to be just a little bit of discomfort in doing the work. And experiencing a little discomfort in the work isn't a problem.
This actually reminds me of when I was studying for my OB GYN oral board exams. I would print out monthly calendars for multiple months in advance and spend at least an hour, probably longer, filling it out with my colored pens and highlighters. I would start on chapter one and work my way through the heavy textbook and the research bulletins that were required for me to do well on these exams. And let me tell you the plan looked [00:09:00] beautiful .And then it came time to implementing the plan, the actual study part. And this is when a little voice would say, ah, I don't want to. And so my studying would be distracted and not as productive. I wouldn't really be able to check off chapter one or the research bulletin.
My schedule would get thrown off. And so what would I do? I would print a whole new calendar. This became almost a joke between me and my husband. He'd say, oh, looks like you're printing out another calendar, huh? Because the printing of the calendar and the planning felt productive, it was the most fun part.
And so I was able to convince myself that the planning was useful.
The implementing ? Not so much.
But here's what I have learned about this skill and what would have helped me at this time. If I had acknowledged in advance that there's a part of my brain that just doesn't feel like studying. I know that I can still hit the play button. I can still get to studying. I would [00:10:00] have got the work done so much faster and so much more effectively. But I kept waiting to feel 100% ready. And in the mood, 100% buy-in to implement the study. And this was a rare and far between. I just didn't take my normal human brain into account. Instead if I had steeped and marinated my brain in my desired result, passing my oral board exams and becoming a board certified OB GYN.
Now that lights me up.
Knowing that there was going to be some struggle on the studying here and there. Sure. I could acknowledge the little voice, tell her to get cozy and Hey, we're studying. It would have been so much of a smoother ride. But instead I struggled. I had to use a lot of willpower to force myself to study because I kept waiting for 100% onboard-ness.
And it never happened.
Because listen, when it comes to work, your brain may not always be in perfect harmony.
There's the part of your brain that is lit up and [00:11:00] excited. She wants the result. She wants the lightness, the weight-loss, the degree, the paycheck. She wants to pass her board exam.
And then there's the other part that's like, eh, do I really want to do all that work? Now in the most practical ways, we're able to say yes, we're able to not have 100% buy-in and say yes to movie night. But there are so many parts of our life that we get into a perfect standstill.
And I find that weight loss is one of them.
So here's what I want you to notice in this episode, when it comes to reaching your ideal weight. Do you find yourself in a perfect standstill?
Because here's the truth. Part of your brain, the most primitive parts of your brain doesn't want to do the extra work. And that part of your brain may always say, "ah, I don't know if I want to, it might be too much, I don't know."
It's okay. And this is completely normal. But instead of letting your primitive part of your brain, keep you at a standstill and taking over the movie night, [00:12:00] I invite you to hit play anyway. And it's okay, if your brain is not 100% on board.
So how do you create harmony to take action?
It's when you really want something deep in your bones, you start giving that part of you more attention and significance. That's where the family consensus is. And then the little voice of the naysayer can have her say. We can give her some acknowledgement and notice her. We can say like, "Hey, I hear you. I know that this is like not the most fun thing. It's okay. But this is the consensus, we're hitting play. Go bring the popcorn." When I think of a family movie night and the family really wants to watch Encanto for the 35th time, I can see, as the naysayer, I could put my foot down and put a standstill on movie night. Or I could just notice where the family is lit up, where the consensus is and where the harmony is and just decide it's okay. [00:13:00] I don't have to be a hundred percent on board for us to hit play. I can just go bring the popcorn.
Let me tell you if we can allow ourselves to have a small naysayer voice, if we can allow ourselves to have an imperfect plan and still get to work, it is so much easier to create results.
I think the most important piece is really acknowledging that little naysayer. It's a little piece of imperfection, the little blips that are in the way. To acknowledge them and then move forward.
Just by acknowledging the naysayer, without letting her hijack the night, means that we get to create massive results. It means that there's plenty of space for imperfect. We don't have to be 100% lined up and onboard to create results.
So you may have a little naysayer voice or an imperfect plan and everything may not be perfectly lined up or all of the pieces on the board, but none of that has to keep you at a stand still anymore.[00:14:00]
So when you find yourself waiting for tomorrow or next week or Monday morning or next month, or your next birthday, just notice whether you have the perfect standstill driving you. Notice your naysayer and acknowledge her and then implement one step today.
When you find what lights you up and you focus your attention with more significance there that's the solution to getting out of the perfect standstill.
It's imperfect because you're not a hundred percent on board, but it creates harmonious action, moving forward. It's hitting the play button on the movie. And when you start doing this, implementing with imperfect harmony, you start creating results. It's movement over standstill.
Always make space for imperfect. Make her cozy, make the little naysayer a safe spot for her to say her piece... and she's practiced. Let her be along for the ride.
So to recap, just know that [00:15:00] it's perfectly normal to have parts of your brain lit up and excited and other primitive parts of your brain that are hesitant to do the work. Know that women historically have subtle and overt ways of waiting for perfectionism and best decisions to create action.
Just know that when you do this, you're creating the perfect standstill..
And the solution is imperfect harmony.
Constrain your planning time, make your best decisions that light you up, and then acknowledge that little naysayer and then hit play.
We are taking action together, friends, and you get to start this today.
When you think back on the past few episodes, here's what I want you to take away so far.
We have a story about our plans and you get to tell the story in a way that feels loving and that lights you up. You get to focus on what you're saying yes to, and you get to make decisions now that naturally decrease your over hunger and over desire, [00:16:00] things that have crept up slowly for decades. And even when you're not 100% on board and everything, isn't 100% lined up, you can still start taking action today.
In future episodes, I'm going to be talking to you about how to design your custom plan, but as this episode highlighted, just having the plan, doesn't create your results.
Feel lit up my Unstoppable friends.
We are creating lightness without perfection.
Seriously, letting yourself challenge these old norms can be uncomfortable, but it's making space for so much joy. Your forever home is just waiting for you.
I'll see you next week.
I want to celebrate the launch of this podcast with you, the amazing ninja moms who are ready to create some extra ooey-gooey magic. To celebrate us now being in each other's world, I'm going to be giving away a pair of Apple Air Pods to three lovely listeners who subscribe, rate, and review the show. I know that working moms are on the go, and I want to help you listen on the magic of your favorite music, audiobooks, and of course podcasts with joy.
I would love your honest feedback so I can create an awesome show that honors your time and provides you golden nuggets of value. Visit theunstoppablemombrain.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the celebration and how to be a part of the magic. I'll be announcing the ninja rockstars on the show in an upcoming episode. See you there.
Thanks for listening to Weight Loss for Unstoppable Moms. It's been an honor spending this time with you and your brilliant brain.
If you want more information or resources from the show, visit the [00:17:00] www.theunstoppablemombrain.com. .