How to Progress
Perfection is unachievable. It is futile to go after perfection when there’s no way to reach it. Pursuing perfection, rather than progress, can set you up for a life of disappointment and inevitable failure. Strive for progress, not perfection.
Perfectionism creates procrastination.
When you let go of perfectionism and pursue progress instead, you can stop procrastinating. A lot of people do not start anything in their lives because they feel they won’t be able to accomplish something perfectly. In their desire to make things flawless, the do not even begin in the first place. Perfection stalls progress, making you stuck where you are. When you’re after progress, you can give yourself the permission to fail and to keep moving forward despite failures.
Excellence is not perfectionism.
Giving your best in everything can ensure you progress in whatever you pursue. It does not mean that if you let go of the need to be perfect that you will work less hard or that you’re settling. Excellence is about giving the best you can give for your family, your job, and your relationships. Perfection is just not the standard for when you will be satisfied with what you’ve given.
Progress allows you to get somewhere.
Imagine yourself running in a race. If the finish line keeps moving away, you’re not making any progress, eventually you’ll tire out knowing you will never reach the moving finish line. Making perfection your standard is like running towards a moving finish line. You’ll never get there. Instead, if you’re running towards a fixed finish line, each stride allows you to make progress. Even if you fall down and get back up and running again, you’re still making progress.
Moving slow is better than being stuck.
Progress is about comparing your present self with your past version, hoping you’ve improved. A lot of times, we compare ourselves to a standard of perfection that we may have loosely based on other people’s lives. We see other women have better bodies, better jobs, better relationships, and overall better lives, and say, “I want that perfect life!” When we pursue perfection, we’re only comparing ourselves to a standard for our future selves that deep down inside, we’ve decided we can never be. And so, we don’t go for it because of the fear of failing. Progress allows you to move forward. Even if you move at your slowest rate, you’re still moving toward your goal. When you’re aiming for perfection, you can either get so paralyzed by fear that you get stuck where you are or you run on a treadmill towards an unattainable moving goal, never getting anywhere.
Pursuing perfection may be the cruelest thing you can expect from yourself. Instead of beating yourself up for reaching an unreachable goal, why don’t you start giving yourself credit for being at least one step closer to the goals that you have accomplished?