Have you ever found yourself putting off tasks until the last minute? By the way, most people who do that believe it sparks a creative side under pressure. But does it? Or is it just an excuse? Do you ever tell yourself that you’ll start that exercise program or project tomorrow? If so, you might be a procrastinator. Or, you might be a perfectionist. It’s tough to tell the difference, but once you know how to identify the signs, it’s easier to address the issue and get moving on your goals.
Signs You’re a Perfectionist
- You’re never satisfied with your work. However, this type of person is typically stuck in paralysis by analysis. They are so afraid it won’t be correct they wait to the point it’s too late.
- You’re afraid of making mistakes. This isn’t driven by other people’s opinions either. It’s way worse than that. This is a self-induced challenge that you will not live up to your own standards. (which by the way, are typically too difficult for anyone to achieve)
- You have trouble delegating tasks. You rationalize this by stating that it’s easier for you to do it correctly than risking someone else screwing it up. You believe it makes you organized, but others see you as a control freak.
Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism
- Set realistic standards for yourself. This is true for both sides of the coin. Figure out what’s possible and take action no matter how small. But if you don’t have clear expectations of what must be done, you’ll never move forward.
- Talk to someone who can help keep you accountable. This is really a two part strategy. Having an accountability partner is an incredibly important strategy because you lie to yourself too much. You can rationalize anything you like, but someone else who isn’t involved emotionally can realign your actions. But you must also have a penalty associated with NOT doing what you need to do. This is the reverse of procrastination because if you’re a perfectionist, you need clear expectations and deadlines. So don’t leave them up in the air.
- Celebrate your accomplishments—no matter how small! This is the most overlooked opportunity to eliminate procrastination or perfection syndrome. When you feel like you’re making progress it builds momentum. Too many times you discount what you’ve accomplished and makes you avoid the task even more. Even something as simple as acknowledging you began…that’s something. Who’s to say that’s not the best place to be at that moment?
You must understand that perfection doesn’t exist. However, your potential does. We all have flaws and you know this, but practice self-compassion. You’re the worst enemy you can face. Be kind to yourself and give some grace when things are perfect.
We are only on this planet a certain amount of time and today is one day closer to the end. I mention that not to be negative, but a positive push that perfection isn’t always the end all be all. It’s about marginal gains over time. But that time must start now. Today is the day to focus on what you can do versus what you should do and don’t.
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