How to Break the Perfectionism-Procrastination Loop

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Did you cognize that 41% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 9% consciousness they are successful successful keeping them? The nonaccomplishment complaint of these resolutions is 91%! A large portion of that is really we group our goals.

What these studies often mention arsenic a predominant logic for nonaccomplishment is nan setting of unrealistic goals. But I deliberation this speaks to thing else, namely that we’re not decently connecting to aliases aligning pinch our goals — this is wherever perfectionism and procrastination travel in.

Perfectionism is conscionable fearfulness manifesting itself arsenic a intelligence block. Not fearfulness of nonaccomplishment and/or societal ostracisation, truthful overmuch arsenic fear of change. Our subconscious is group up to favour nan position quo. All it knows is that your choices, up until now, person resulted successful your survival. Change is conscionable rocking nan vessel and risking an unknowable result (or truthful it thinks).

Is Perfectionism And Procrastination Holding You Back From Achieving Goals?

You mightiness declare to beryllium a perfectionist, but what does that really mean? Do you mean that you won’t extremity moving connected thing until it is, successful your opinion, perfect? Or do you mean that you don’t embark upon an endeavor until you tin guarantee that nan result will beryllium perfect?

If you autumn into nan second camp, you mightiness see that this perfectionism-procrastination loop is conscionable an excuse—a manifestation of your profoundly rooted subconscious fearfulness of change.

Put it this way:

I deliberation you could substitute nan connection “unrealistic” for nan connection “vague,” and you’d person a much meticulous appraisal of nan problem. People often opportunity that they want to make much money, lose much weight, eat much patient food, etc., but they don’t specify what that really means. Setting retired pinch specified an ill-defined destination intends that you can’t group an meticulous people towards it, and without that, you’re conscionable wandering astir successful nan wilderness.

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Think astir a clip erstwhile you’ve performed a task truthful mundane that it hardly registered successful your mind. It could beryllium doing nan market shopping aliases nan laundry. Something that you do, not needfully each day, but pinch regularity and (crucially) pinch purpose. If you don’t spell to nan nutrient store, you won’t person food. If you don’t person food, you can’t eat. If you don’t eat, you die. That’s a beautiful clear purpose.

As you caput retired nan doorway to nan supermarket, that precipitous concatenation of catastrophic events isn’t weighing connected your mind. It’s conscionable a lawsuit of making judge that you get everything connected nan shopping list. There is nary uncertainty successful your mind that you’ll make it backmost pinch what you need. You’ve already mentally and energetically connected, albeit subconsciously, to nan result of “bringing location nan bacon” (or meat-free bacon substitute, if you’re vegan).

You’ve already achieved your extremity mentally. Now, it’s conscionable a lawsuit of physically going done nan motions. You astir apt don’t moreover person to deliberation that overmuch astir what you’re doing arsenic you spell astir nan store!

How to Break nan Procrastination-Perfectionism Loop

1. Recognize nan Loop

The first point you tin do to break this perfectionism-procrastination loop is to admit it. Bring your consciousness to what is really going connected and see what lies down your claims of perfectionism. Be honorable but gentle pinch yourself. Try, if you can, not to bring judgement into nan equation.

Judgment and overly harsh self-criticism tin beryllium conscionable arsenic debilitating arsenic your subconscious fearfulness of change, truthful effort not to present them successful nan first place. Consider yourself, arsenic champion you can, an impartial observer. You’re conscionable location successful nan first lawsuit to witnesser what’s going on.

2. Set Intentions Properly

Armed pinch that knowledge, you will find that your attack to your goals starts to displacement people anyway, but you besides request to study how to group intentions properly. If you are 1 of nan aforementioned New Years’ solution setters who winds up making claims of perfectionism while not taking immoderate action, you ought really to inquire yourself:

“If I’m specified a perfectionist, why do I support mounting specified vague goals?”

Would a perfectionist group retired to make “more money” this twelvemonth and time off it astatine that?! Would personification truthful obsessed pinch perfection successful each things, looking to scope their perfect weight and assemblage shape, really group a extremity of simply “losing much weight”?

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You mightiness think, genuinely, that nan anticipation of not hitting your target dead-on is simply a logic not to moreover start. But what are you aiming astatine successful nan first place?

Let’s backmost up nan motortruck for a second, and measure what we mean by procrastination. Procrastination, arsenic defined by researchers, is:

“a shape of self-regulation nonaccomplishment characterized by nan irrational hold of tasks contempt perchance antagonistic consequences.”

So far, we’ve spoken astir procrastination arsenic if it is simply “never doing something,” which it is, complete time. But really, it’s nan delaying of thing for nary reason. When it comes to achieving goals, procrastination successful and of itself isn’t what keeps you from achieving them. It’s procrastination complete time. As nan Spanish would say, it’s “mañana” thinking.

If you put thing disconnected till tomorrow because you conscionable don’t want to do it today, that mightiness still beryllium procrastinatory behavior. But if you past really do it tomorrow, what’s nan harm? It’s nan accordant putting disconnected of thing based connected irrationally (or subconsciously) held beliefs that, complete time, mean that you ne'er get there. This mightiness look blindingly obvious, but it’s important to fastener down precisely what we mean earlier seeking to make changes.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, hopefully, it shifts your reasoning connected what procrastination is capable truthful that you tin accurately measure whether aliases not your procrastination is hindering your progress. It should thief you not to beryllium successful judgement of your procrastination, too.

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3. Try Reaching Out for Help and Mentorship

You can’t grow successful a vacuum. You request others to support your travel and supply you pinch objective feedback. How other are you going to realistically measure whether aliases not your result is cleanable anyway?

Find others who person walked nan way earlier you, and scope retired to them. Unless they’re immense names pinch layers of group astir them, you’ll astir apt find that they are consenting to help. Even if they are difficult to reach, cheque retired interviews pinch them aliases look for guidance that they’ve put retired publically successful nan past.

Part of nan problem you’ve been facing is that you tin only spot what nan cleanable result should look for illustration arsenic filtered done you. By knowing what nan wider organization (and market) see to beryllium an perfect result for something, you’ll get a overmuch clearer, realistic thought of what you request to beryllium aiming for. From there, you tin place what you’re lacking and therefore, what gaps you request to plug.

Get utilized to defining your position better. Think astir nan connection you’re using, some erstwhile you talk to others and pinch your soul monologue. What are you telling yourself?

Is nan Narrative You’re Running On True?

Perfectionism is simply a disposition to respect thing short of perfection arsenic unacceptable aft all. What does that person to do pinch an irrational hold of tasks contempt perchance antagonistic consequences? From a literal constituent of view, perfectionism should provoke a desire to proceed to return action agelong past nan constituent of an acceptable outcome, not irrationally abstain from taking any!


Check yourself nan adjacent clip you utter nan words “I’m conscionable a perfectionist and procrastinator” arsenic a pretext for why you haven’t done something, whether it’s to yourself aliases personification else. You don’t really mean that, but that’s okay! You’re conscionable acrophobic to change, arsenic we each are predisposed to be.

Don’t hit yourself up. See it for what it is, and commencement to displacement nan stories (belief systems) that you’re moving connected to flooded it.

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Featured photograph credit: XPS via

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