By Gemma Francis
Brits spend an hour and 40 minutes of every day striving for perfection, a study has found.
A poll of 2,000 adults found three quarters dream of having the perfect life, dedicating an average of 12 hours a week to trying to improve their looks, career or love life.
This amounts to the equivalent of almost 26 days a year or four-and-a-half years of their lives spent photo-shopping selfies, cleaning the house before guests arrive and applying miracle creams.
And 45 per cent admitted to making their lives, or parts of it, appear more perfect than it really is.
Despite this, the poll by bagel makers New York Bakery Co. found three quarters of people wish there was less emphasis on being perfect and more importance placed on being real and authentic.
And seven in 10 believe too much effort is put in to achieving perfection these days, with six in 10 admitting they don’t think they will ever have the perfect life they are striving for.
Psychologist Emma Kenny said: “During the past twenty years a dangerous myth has been growing.
“It is one that confronts us every time we turn on the television, flick through a magazine or scroll through our social media.
“We exist in a world awash with perfection. Everyday, Instagram is crammed with photo-shopped images of men and women who look more mannequin than human.
“More and more young people are starting to buy into the idea that perfection is everything.
“It is vital that we learn to turn the volume down, but this can only happen when we start balancing our exposure to these images of perfection with a more realistic and ultimately fun perspective of life.
“We need to teach the younger generation to be unique, care less about how other people are living their lives and concentrate more on how they live their own.”
Researchers found the average adult reckons their life is 48 per cent perfect, with money and finances the area most are looking to improve on.
And one in five blame TV and film, celebrities and even their own friend’s social media images for the never-ending quest.
Four in 10 admitted to cleaning the house before guests arrive to make their home look better than it usually does while 37 per cent have hit the gym on a mission to have the ideal body.
Others dream of a perfect love life, followed by family life and work, while almost four in ten also admit they are often striving for perfection when it comes to their appearance.
And more than one in 10 have thrown out a meal they have made and started again because it didn’t live up to expectations of how it should look.
Despite the quest for perfection, eight in 10 of those surveyed said they find it refreshing when they meet someone who is true to who they are.
And 77 per cent reckon we are all too preoccupied with achieving excellence.
Amy Page from New York Bakery Co. said: “Our research shows that audiences are being bombarded with images of perfection, from food to fashion and beyond.
“We think its time to challenge the norm by saying imperfection is perfection. Let’s be real and authentic.
“Let’s say it how it is and look below the surface into what matters. Heart and soul, taste, and refreshing honesty. Ignore the distractions, everyone loves a touch of the authentic.
“So it’s time for a call to action. “Throw out the wasted effort, say it how it is and let people love you for the real you, appreciate your genuine wisdom and outlook, and go with the flow.”
“That’s the spirit of our new marketing campaign, brought to you by Edna, the straight talking woman who runs New York. We think it’s a breath of fresh air and we hope when people see her style, they will pick up a little of her vibe too.”
Top ten things people have done in their quest for perfection
1. Cleaned the house before guests come over to make it look spotless
2. Gone to the gym or exercise classes
3. Gone on holiday in a certain location
4. Applied filters to your photos
5. Fake tanned
6. Bought miracle face creams
7. Bought top of the range ingredients and food when making meals for others
8. Photoshopped images
9. Took diet pills
10. Bought a new car and put it on finance