The other day when Matthew was visiting, all of a sudden he blurted out, "Damn mother f***!" Joe and I looked at each other, and then at him, and said, WHAT?! He repeated it and then giggled. We proceeded to talk to him about bad words and how even though he hears grown-ups saying them, he'll have to wait until he's a grown-up till he can decide whether he wants to talk that way or not: Kids cannot swear. Especially not in school.
At that moment, my phone buzzed and I picked it up to read a text message. Matthew asked, "Who are you calling," with a little fear in his voice.
I said, "I'm sending Santa a text message to tell him the naughty words you said."
He looked at me for a minute, contemplating what that could mean, and then moved on and we changed the subject.
The next morning when Matthew woke up, I asked him what he had dreamed about and he said, "I saw Santa, and he told me he got a text message saying I am a good boy."
I laughed for a second and then explained to him that Santa will get text messages all throughout the year telling him when Matthew is a good boy, and also when he makes some not-so-good-choices. That way at the end of the year, he can decide whether or not he should bring presents. He looked and me and said, "Yeah, I know."
I started to think about how this applies to our wellness goals, and it's really pretty much the same concept. We set a goal (to get presents, lose weight, quit smoking, decrease stress, etc.). Then we live our lives, doing things that will both lead us closer and further away from our goals. At the end of the year, we don't have to be perfect, we just have to have reached a balance that will make us comfortable living our lives and also helped us enough to reach our goals. Thinking this way is part of not having that all-or-nothing mindset I've mentioned before. It's part of not beating ourselves up for not following a plan perfectly---but also, not giving up when we fall off the wagon for a minute. We are human and make mistakes, and when we do, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker for goal accomplishment. Keep this perspective, and find your balance for thriving in life while maintaining some breathing room.
Santa never said you had to be perfect to get presents, just nice enough to balance out the naughtiness! We all have the tools (or the help and support) to figure out what that balance is.