The propensity to achieve only the highest standard of performance is the underlying reason for procrastination and inaction for many people, including myself. Perfectionism is something I’ve struggled with most of my life. My rational mind says if you can’t do it properly then may as well not do it at all. Otherwise, you might look like a complete fool. The type of perfectionism I’m talking about is the kind that keeps you stuck in your rut, always dreaming but never actually doing.
Perfection is a big fat lie that has been spreading like an infectious disease throughout social media; namely Instagram and Facebook. Logically, most of us are aware of this seemingly innocuous lie but it still manages to get its viral claws into our psyche. Subconsciously, we continue to compare ourselves to impossible ideals. In the digital land of shiny happy people with toned TRX bodies, gorgeous families and immaculate designer homes, it’s easy to fall into the insidious trap of perfectionism.
Perfectionism is just another way your mind tries to protect itself. Your mind prefers routine; it doesn’t like change, making mistakes or being challenged in any way. It wants to be safe and cozy in the familiar. Perfectionism paralyzes you into remaining where you are; since perfection is unattainable there’s no point in even trying to reach it. I don’t need to tell you that playing it safe will never lead you to your dreams. You need to take risks and do things that you’ve never done before in order to grow and gain confidence in your abilities.
So how do you overcome perfectionism as it relates to procrastination?
Firstly, you need to quit comparing yourself to others. Unfollow those Instagram accounts that end up making you feel inadequate in some way. Nobody’s life is constantly filled with sunshine and rainbows. The reality is everyone goes through ups and downs on the roller-coaster called life. Follow those Instagrammers that are keeping it real, like Celeste Barber. She never fails to crack me up.
Changing your beliefs about failure is a really great follow-up. Regard failure as an educational opportunity. The more you fail, the more you learn and the better you’ll be. Don’t wait until you feel like you’re fully prepared, because that’ll never happen. You’ll never feel entirely prepared to base jump off that cliff of dreams; so cape it ’til you make it, baby!
- If you have a particular goal you’re reaching for, begin by writing down each step you’d need to take in order to reach that particular goal. Think baby steps rather than giant leaps into the wild and scary unknown.
- Schedule each step in your daily planner with brightly colored pens and stickers. The glittier, the better.
- Reward yourself for each accomplished step with a bottle of your favorite wine or a day at the spa. This is essential!
- Remind yourself of your “why”. Why do you want to achieve this goal? What will it bring you? Will you regret not trying? Look at the Big Picture. Let that be your motivation. Don’t let the little details slow down your momentum.
- Most importantly, have fun with it! Enjoy the process. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you’re not progressing as quickly as you’d like. Life is not a race to the finish line. Be grateful for the opportunity and always remember the lottery. If you’re reading this post in the comfort of your home, and you have the freedom to choose the direction of your life; you have already won the lottery of life. This little nugget of advice is from Neil Pasricha’s The Happiness Equation.
Be cool and keep it real.