The issue with being ‘that girl’

Illustration of a girl living her best life
Kelsey Choe/Staff

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I’m sure we’ve all come across YouTube or TikTok videos telling us to get our life together by recommending “that girl” routines. It sounds a little like this: Wake up at 6 a.m. to watch the sunrise; make your matcha latte; roll out your yoga mat to practice mediation and yoga; write your goals and intentions for the day; drink a gallon of water; and eat your greens.

Indeed, this trend can help motivate people to start living a healthy lifestyle. After all, “that girl” has a list of healthy habits that seems to give her 25 hours in a day, perfectly toned abs, glowy skin and zero eye bags. Who wouldn’t want to engage in self-improvement to achieve this level of wellness?

This constant influx of self-improvement and healthy routine videos can lead to a dangerous spiral of comparison, guilt and shame. When you are constantly trying to better yourself, you’re constantly thinking something is wrong with you. These videos only capture one day of one person’s life in one perfect instance. There is much more to the story.

I have dealt with the struggle of trying to obtain “that girl” status and also suffered repercussions because of it. I planned each and every hour of my day, not wasting a single moment for self-growth activities. My days comprised cooking food that resembled bird feed, working out two hours a day and drinking my body weight in water. My “free time” was spent reading, listening to motivational speakers and growing my personal blog. As a result, I ignored people in my life and other activities that got in the way of my “that girl” routine. This regimen also took a toll on my mental health, as I was never satisfied with myself, always improving but never feeling like I was enough.

Of course, I still find myself watching “that girl” videos, and I even encourage people to use them for inspiration sometimes. However, I also remind myself and others to practice the art of flexibility. Be kind to yourself when life gets in the way. Reflect on what works for you and adjust accordingly. Remember that you are worthy and valuable just the way you are.

Contact Geraldine Yue at [email protected].