Are you a perfectionist? This post is all about trying to aim for perfect and how this can work against you in your life if you’re not careful. As a “recovering perfectionist” myself this is something very close to my heart, so I hope that if this rings true for you, these words help you to get more done and stop beating yourself up.
It may be an odd thing to say here, but many people with lots of clutter and unfinished projects in their lives are perfectionists.
You would assume that being a perfectionist means that you are always in control of things, with nothing out of place and everything running smoothly, but this is usually far from reality.
Being a perfectionist brings with it a whole host of issues, not least of which being that it can lead to a great deal of procrastination, resulting in decision paralysis and things actually never getting done.
After all – if you will only start something that you can complete perfectly – how much would you start?
The fear of failing is all consuming, and it’s often easier to not start something at all.
Perfectionists tend to be very stressed, they are usually always trying to do the very best in every situation, large or small, or they aren’t letting themselves start things for fear of not doing them perfectly – and this can be exhausting to say the least.
So today I wanted to address this, and say that actually being LESS than perfect is what we all should be aiming for so that life is less stressful and we can get more done.
Let me ask you a question – what is perfect?
It’s a really hard question to answer for pretty much anything and because of this it’s of course near impossible therefore to ever achieve perfect.
And what a horrible way to live – to always be afraid of starting something in case you can’t get it done to perfection….
We are filled with images in the media of what people think of as perfect – but everyone has their own lives, their own hurdles, their own stories, and because we are all so different then perfect is also different for everyone, and is pretty impossible to achieve.
What is the “perfect” life?, what is the “perfect meal”?, what is the “perfect” way of decorating your home?…… we can so often feel like we don’t match up when we try and reach for that elusive PERFECT.
It can be debilitating to say the least.
Is it good enough?
So, instead of asking yourself whether something is perfect, I would like you to think about whether it’s good enough instead.
If you are happy and what you are doing works, then why not take less time to achieve good enough, and get it started AND finished, rather than spending forever pursuing the unreachable goal of perfection?
It’s a difficult habit for most people to get into, but realising that good enough, IS good enough, is liberating to say the least.
Let me tell you a story as an example:-
I started to create photo year books for our family a few years ago. They are a great way to remember years gone by and take up very little room compared to keeping all the photos and memorabilia somewhere.
However, my perfectionist habits kicked in in the first year I created one and I was filled with thoughts of “what if I miss something out?”, “what if there isn’t a photo of person x and they see the book?”, “what if……..?”
I drove myself a little insane, and then I took a step back.
I saw that the bigger picture was that I had collected as much as I could over the year, and all the little things I missed (which of course there would be some) would not be the important things and wouldn’t matter in years to come.
What mattered more than getting things absolutely perfect was that we had this amazing treasury of memories that we would be able to keep for years to come, and pass on to our daughter etc….
We now have about 5 yearbooks in our bookcase that we often look at – and they are so very special.
Yes, I may have forgotten things, yes, there may be things that I would love to have put in them had there been a photo taken at a specific event etc…, but overall they make us happy and make us smile – and that’s the main thing.
If I had waited until I had absolutely everything, until we had perfect photos of every occasion, and a copy of everything we did that year, then we most definitely wouldn’t have any photo books now to look at – and that would be such a waste….
It’s the same with so many projects, whether it be getting organised, getting fit, eating better, starting a business, having a baby or anything else life throws our way.
If we wait for perfect conditions, they may never come – we may never be open to fantastic opportunities, and we may find ourselves living in a world that doesn’t reflect who we really are.
Just getting things done to “good enough” is a freeing way of living – so why not try it today?
Take away striving for impossible perfection and realise that perfect is whatever you can do at any given time.
Get more done
The bonus of living this way is that you immediately start to achieve more. If you aren’t afraid of starting things and doing them to a good enough standard, then things start to get done.
You may start to have more people round to the house as you are cleaning it to a good enough standard rather than beating yourself up for not getting it looking like homes do in the magazines – or you may have friends for dinner and not cook from scratch which would for you be the ideal way of cooking (it’s the socialising that really counts…).
Whatever you’re putting off because you want to do it perfectly – stop.
Take a step back and realise that good enough really can be good enough after all – and its worth doing things to that good enough standard if you can get more done and live life more fully.
Life isn’t perfect – so you shouldn’t try and be…..
Give yourself a break – it really is worth it!