Perfection and Procrastination

We're approaching the end of January, which means the end of a lot of resolutions.  If you haven't trashed them already, of course.  I didn't make 'resolutions' exactly - I made a 2017 bucket list.  I'm making progress on it, actually.  The first one, the 30 bags in 30 days, is almost done in fact, there will be a post about that next week.  Tons of them are in progress too; I've been successfully painting my nails more often, limiting how often I wear ponytails, and working on my 101 list.

And then there's the ones I've been so far ignoring.  Just completely pretending they aren't there.  Wearing my Invisalign retainers, improving my handwriting, posting more Instagram photos... my eyes just seem to gloss right over those.  So although I'm usually pretty good at accomplishing goals, even I'm not immune to the post-new year slack off.  I'm vowing for it to be different though!  I'm going to specifically target those ones I'm pushing off.

You know what a major issue is in resolution follow through?  At least for me?  And I don't think I'm alone - the lack of perfection.  Seriously.  I bet you've even tried it - 'well, I missed the gym today. Guess I'll start over next Monday/month/...year.'

Some psychologists don't think the link is there, but I definitely do.  I'm a self defined perfectionist, but I think people around me would agree with that too.  I don't like to cross something off my to do list as finished unless the end result is exactly how I want it.  Perfectionists can actually the biggest procrastinators, and it makes total sense when you think about it.  If you pressure yourself into making everything totally perfect, you're going to wait and wait - for the perfect circumstances, the perfect timing, the perfect supplies, whatever the case may be.  The fear of it not being perfect is almost paralyzing, to the point of not even getting started.  I know, I've been there.

Since my theme for the year is follow through, I thought this would be a good time to figure out how I can get around my perfectionist tendencies and quit stalling on the goals that I don't think I can complete 'perfectly.'  Who knows, really, maybe I can complete them as perfectly as I want to, but I won't find out until I actually start.

Here's my strategy, for myself and for fellow perfectionists, when all you need to do is just get started:

1. Breaking the goals down into specific, manageable pieces.  I don't think it's any surprise that the goals I'm working through without issue are the ones with clearly defined perimeters that I can measure and meet.  30 bags, check.  One ponytail per week, check.  100 blog posts, check.  The ones I'm struggling with (or, well, just ignoring so far) are the ones that don't currently have those boundaries.  'Improve my handwriting,' 'get to my goal weight,' or 'Finish my Invisalign trays.'  They need to be broken down further and they need to have some check points.  I need to start wearing those trays first!  I need to set an end date and mark it on my calendar when to switch to the next tray.  I need to set reminders on my phone to actually put them in my mouth.  If I want to get to my goal weight, I need to set that by a pounds lost per month goal as well.  That way, there is something I can track my progress by and try to be a little more 'perfect.'  The end game might not turn out exactly how I want, but I have more control over the steps along the way - which means I'll be more likely to accomplish them.  I adore checking steps off a to do list.

2. Prioritize the to do list, and then ruthlessly cull it.  I procrastinate goals when I put other things on my to do list that don't actually matter.  Or at the very least, don't actually matter that day.  If I want to accomplish some longer term goals, I need to take those steps I broke down and put them on my to do list each day.  Once I have the list, I need to ruthlessly cull everything else that's on it that doesn't matter that day.  Prioritize the list.  For example, I need to work out to get to my goal weight.  That needs to be that day's priority.  Other things on the list need to get shifted around, like getting the laundry done or grocery shopping - those items do need to get done, but not at the expense of the work out if they can be moved to another day.  Or if someone else can do them, which brings me to:

3. Delegate and/or ask for help.  If my day is booked up and the choice is between finishing the laundry or going to work out and prep healthy meals, then maybe I can just ask John to finish the laundry.  Just because something is on the to do list doesn't mean that I need to be the one to do it.  I can just as easily delegate some of those items and free up some time, which leaves me no excuse to not tackle the goals I set.

At least, these are the steps I'm going to start working on.  Fingers crossed.  Are you a perfectionist or a procrastinator?  Or both?  What other tips would you add to this list to help fellow resolution quitters (or non-starters!) with their goals?  Let me know in the comments.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.  In addition to minimalism and organizing, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #notentirelyperfect on social media so I can see your beautifully unstaged life.  On the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or subscribe via e-mail to be alerted to each new post.

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