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Letting Go Of the Perfectionism That Has Become Procrastination

Posted on October 28th, 2009

Do you suppose that you procrastinate out of fear that what you might do won’t be perfect?  You have wanted, for one small example, to put those damn photos, the ones multiplying faster than rabbits, in an album while you still might remember who’s in the pictures and where they were shot.  But procrastination has you putting off the project for so many years now, that it feels as overwhelming as counting grains of sand at the beach.  And that pit in your stomach when you think same about the basement and garage that need sorting out and organizing, the closets that need clothing  pulled for the thrift store, the growing community of junk drawers you have to look through to find one thumb tack, and the outgrown kids’ toys that need to sorted and donated. 

Are you really worried you won’t do these jobs perfectly?  Or do  you think you are just terminally lazy?  Where does your motivation go when you even think about doing even one of these chores?   The last thing any of us wants to do is to leave our comfort zone.  We don’t want to have to make decisions that might be wrong.  We might make mistakes.  We might not do it perfectly.  You’ll never reach your dreams this way. 

But, you ask, how can you live your dreams when you can’t even get to them for all the decisions and messes you need to take care of before you start working on them?  Suppose you fantasize about spending your days writing poetry again the way you did in college.  You imagine the feelings you would be able to let loose and process, the beauty you could create…   Then you remember that you made yet another appointment with the Cancer Federation to pick up your unwanted clothes, toys and junk in two short weeks.  You don’t have time to sit around writing poetry.  Another dream dies. 

The comfort zone is so handy in the way it takes our greatest aspirations and uses those very desires as excuses not to aspire.  “Adults don’t sit around writing poetry like dreamy teenagers anyhow,” you tell yourself as you put the grave stone on the grave of another dream.  R.I.P.

Does your comfort zone/perfectionism have more control over you and your dreams than you have over yourself?  It does if you are procrastinating your life away in a bunch of frittering that all has the theme “maybe tomorrow,” or “I’ll get to next week.”  Stop, look and live today.  It’s all you really have.  The now is everything.

Make an assessment of what’s left of your dreams, pull one shred of one out of the dream box, and do something constructive to act on it today.  Write a poem or the first few pages of your novel, paint, sing, join a choir, volunteer for community theater, journal your wish list of dreams,  make a vision board of pictures representing your dreams yet to come true, start running, or take up yoga.  The important thing is to make a start and do it today.  Don’t think about it too long or your comfort zone might talk you out of it.  Don’t be afraid.  It’s a simple step and you can do this.

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