Why Loving Your Style Means Learning to Love Your Limitations

limitations

After working diligently on losing weight over the past year and a half I fell off the wagon this summer…hard.  I didn’t stop going to the gym, but my diet took a serious nosedive.  By August I was like, “Hell yea, let’s have pancakes for dinner!”  It should be stated that I typically avoid sugar, gluten and dairy and also have extremely temperamental blood sugar.   Thankfully, I got back on track this September and not only feel heaps better but am losing weight again.  My success can all be attributed to knowing and embracing my limitations.

People often attribute success to perfection or being able to push past comfort zones.  I don’t necessarily believe these are the only ingredients in a recipe for success.  I believe success also comes from knowing your limitations.  Besides, as Winston Churchill said, perfection is the enemy of progress.

By understanding my limitations around food and cooking, I came to terms with the fact that I will never eat heathy if I have to prepare my own food.   If faced with cooking or opening up my Seamless app to order food, I will open up my Seamless app and order from the gazillion restaurants nearby.  Will I make a healthy choice?  Maybe.  But with so many options to choose from it’s far too easy not to, especially when I am starving.  I even tried Blue Apron and, despite everything I needed being sent to my home in a box, it was too much work.  So the slippery slope of bad food decisions began.  My choice was to either accept this limitation and learn how to work with it or fight with myself regularly.

Instead of beating myself up, thinking I should be making time to cook or that I’m some sort of half-wit because other people can do it and I won’t, I decided to deal with it and create success based on these limitations.

Limitations are liberating

In September I chose to sign up with Kettlebell Kitchen, which is a NY based meal delivery service that makes healthy, clean, Paleo friendly meals for people who either don’t have time or don’t want to cook, but want to eat healthily.   The deliveries arrive at my gym twice a week and I use the service for my lunches and dinners Monday through Friday.

limitations
Left: The pick up fridge at the gym. Top right: My delivery bag. Bottom right: Three days of meals in my fridge.

The success of eating this way has been phenomenal for me, plus the food is delicious.  In fact, when the weekends roll around I actually feel a bit lost without having my food decisions made for me.  Not only did I learn that I won’t cook but that I don’t like too many choices.  You already know what happens to me when I have too many options.  The fact that what I will eat all week is figured out for me frees up so much space in my brain.

Now what is most interesting is that getting to the gym hasn’t been a problem for me because I had already set up a plan that works.  My gym is literally 82 steps from my front door and I never go for more than 30 minutes a day.   People think it is amazing that I work out daily, but, really, the only reason I am successful is because I embraced my limitations.  Could I do more?  Sure.  Will I?  Probably not.  I’d rather have a consistent workout that I am enthusiastic about than a super hard one that I will shrug off daily.

Less is More

During this time of my own liberation from embracing my limitations, I saw an Instagram post of a quote from my good friend Peter Shankman’s new book, Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD, that just released.  limitations

Knowing Peter well, I can assure you he does have ADHD and that he has learned to harness it in a very successful way.

Why Loving Your Style Means Learning to Love Your Limitations

So what is my point?  Am I suggesting you pare down your wardrobe as thinly as Peter’s or am I implying that you eliminate distractions to the point that someone else cooks for you?  Well, if that works, sure.  But, essentially, what I am trying to tell you from these two examples is how important it is to not only learn to embrace your limitations when it comes to your own style (and other things), but to actually use them to your advantage so you can win.

A few months ago I wrote about decision fatigue and why the most successful people choose to wear the same outfit regularly and have referenced clients like Ms. Minimalist, a woman would rather have one pair of shoes that work with everything than a closet full of options.  In cases like these, these people have figured out how to create success from knowing their limitations.

Yet, it’s not just about having less, it’s about clearly knowing what you will and won’t do and what you are and aren’t willing to spend your time on.  I always say that life is a like a pie.  It’s up to you if you want to slice it into a lot of thin pieces or fat, thick ones.  You get no more or less time than the next guy, yet you do have control over how you slice up what occupies your time.

Working with your limitations is also about understanding and embracing how your brain works, and instead of working against the grain, learning to flow with it.  Successful people aren’t necessarily the folks who do it all or are always on the go.  Activity doesn’t necessarily mean productivity.  Successful people are those who have learned how to create a world that works with how they are wired.

Your closet is trying to tell you something

Your closet full of clothing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re making bad choices as much as it means you are making the wrong choices…for you.  Perhaps it’s time to accept that you will not iron, no matter how much you like the look of a crisp button down shirt, or that the dry cleaning pile that hasn’t gotten dropped off in months is a sign that either you need to stay away from dry clean only clothes or figure out a system that makes getting those clothes to the dry cleaner easier.   Maybe it’s time to stop buying so much color or that blazers are just never going to happen for you.   Learning and working with these limitations is a good thing, not a failure.

The liberation of accepting your style limitations also comes from finally finding peace with yourself.  Women hardly give themselves enough leeway to be okay with not being perfect and feel oddly guilty when they aren’t struggling, like if you’re not spinning 16 plates while wearing something itchy and uncomfortable you’re not trying hard enough and therefore not worthy of success.   To that I say, give me a break.

As I mentioned in my post about authentic style, the most beautiful women are the ones who have not only embraced who they are, they’ve accepted it and figured out how to make it positive.  So the next time you are struggling with what makes you uniquely you, including what you see as a shortcoming, think about what that struggle is trying to tell you and figure out how to capitalize on it and make it work to your advantage.