Perfectionism is the single greatest cause of procrastination. Despite the desire for everything to be awesome, what perfectionism most often produces is a stack of discouraging, unfinished, “someday maybe” possibilities. If you keep waiting until everything is perfect, you may never start (which, to my way of thinking, is the antithesis of perfection).
Perfectionism is not a lofty goal or enviable trait, it’s a fear-based illusion riddled with lies and characterized by force. When you choose to fuel yourself with fear—by setting the bar too high and driving yourself incessantly—you burden and block yourself with chronic disappointment and disillusionment. Repeated often enough, this form of self-sabotage becomes a way of life that produces burnout physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
In contrast, excellence is a love-based reality characterized by a life of flow filled with faith, hope, prosperity, peace and joy. EXCELLENCE PROPELS YOU FORWARD. PERFECTIONISM HOLDS YOU BACK.
Eager to liberate yourself from the painful self-imposed prison of perfectionism and start thriving in the joyful freedom of excellence instead? Here are some tips to help you replace your habit of perfection-based procrastination with a passion for love-fueled excellence.
- Write down your goal as if it’s already your reality.
Whether you’re planning a dream vacation or birthing your first book, write down your vision in simple, bold terms using present tense language. Resist the urge to over-architect and wordsmith. Just write from your heart. If you tend to get blocked by writing, try speaking it into a recorder and then transcribing what you said. Adding a picture to illustrate your vision ups the inspirational power.
- Post your vision everywhere so it will stay top of mind.
Tape it to your bathroom mirror, post it on your refrigerator and tack it to the wall near your desk. Immerse yourself and your environment in your vision.
- Memorize your vision and speak it aloud at least morning and night.
There is a power to hearing your own voice speak your desired reality. As you work on memorizing it, you’ll find that your language evolves organically over time into an even clearer statement of how you wish to show up in the world. “Bookending” your day by speaking your vision aloud first thing in the morning and last thing at night provides extra momentum in the form of greater energy, clarity, creativity and persistence.
- Be your own best cheerleader.
One of my favorite tools to employ when I begin to block myself with the perceived enormity of a new project is to ask, “What if this is going to be much easier than I think?” Having opened the door to that delightful possibility, I immediately anchor it more deeply as an affirmation: “This project is going to be easy, fast, and fun. Effortless, joyful, creative, rewarding. Just the ticket to help me enjoy my life even more through new experiences, relationships and growth.”
- Take simple steps forward every day.
Every morning, write out three SIMPLE things you need to accomplish to move yourself forward in achieving your dream or completing your project. We’re talking baby steps here, not giant leaps. No grand, comprehensive, spreadsheet-based plan. Just the next three little things you could do. Maybe there’s a phone call you need to make or an email you need to send. Maybe you need to renew your passport or purchase supplies. Take at least one of these baby steps EVERY DAY.
- Give yourself a break!
The difference between fear-based procrastination and love-based percolation? Percolation is the art of the productive pause. As always, it’s the energy underneath our thoughts and actions—love vs. fear—that makes the difference. So while you’re working your baby step plan, remember to sprinkle your day with times for rest, reflection and play. Hard as it may be to imagine, interspersing your work with regular downtime results in far greater productivity than driving yourself relentlessly without regard for your personal health and welfare. Trust me—as the Queen of Burnout, I had to learn that one the hard way a whole bunch of times before I finally got it!
In the words of the now famous Nike ad campaign, “JUST DO IT.” If you get started right now, by the time circumstances improve, you’ll be well on your way and in a much better position to gain even greater benefit from all of those new resources and opportunities.
What baby step will YOU take toward your dreams TODAY?