How to set your 2018 on fire: Part 7 of 18
7. I will be happily less than perfect
Nothing drives burnout like a healthy dose of perfectionism. Dialling back the tendency for perfectionism might just be the greatest decision you make for your wellbeing and stress levels in 2018.
Depending on our personality type, it can be hard not to react to the parade of perfect presented around us. So much media content (traditional and social) magnifies perfect that it can be viewed not as inspirational and aspirational (and with a healthy pinch of salt) but as evidence that we are somehow not quite good enough. That we just don’t have our shit together in a world where everyone else miraculously seems to. But, if we push that little bit harder, get up that little bit earlier, keep things a bit more organised and make a few more lists, we might just get there. Perfect hangs tantalisingly just out of our grasp, like a carrot on a stick.
The thing is, perfect is a mirage. Like the oasis in the desert it’s not really there. It’s an unstable image that changes according to our perception and viewpoint. Striving to reach that place of perfection is absolutely exhausting, and for every step nearer we take, it will get another step further away.
You can choose to dial down the perfectionism this year with a few simple decisions:
Do something with (shock, horror!) 80 per cent effort
Knowingly don’t do something to the best of your ability. Woot! Pick something that’s not that important and do it okay. Just get it done. And move on. Not everything has to be perfect.
Do something with (even more shock horror) just 50 per cent of your best
Whoa! Pick something that really doesn’t matter that much and just get it done any old how, and move on. Realise you don’t even think about it ever again and that time, energy and capacity is better invested elsewhere.
Cut a corner
On purpose! Like, buy a cake for the bring a plate thing and don’t sweat it. Stick it on a plate, grab a drink, move on. Some things just don’t matter that much, and applying the quest for perfect to them just makes us tired, not perfect.
Know that it won’t be done to the same high standard that you do it yourself. Be okay with that. Done is better than perfect.
Save perfect or when it REALLY counts, not as your default setting.
The make-or-break presentation that’s going to win the new account. Measuring out the medicine to the exact dose required. Being on time for your brother’s wedding. Bust “perfect” out of the bag when it really matters, not as a matter of course.
Trying to live up to perfect all the time is fantastically stress-inducing and an incredibly knackering way to live. Let in a little more rest, relaxation, and create space for spontaneity and happiness to run their magical course. There is a lot more to life than doing it all right all the time and ticking everything off just so. Real life surely is not an instagram highlight reel of perfect. Cut yourself some slack, release the grip of perfect and know, for the vast majority of the time, progress is better than perfection, and done is far better than perfect.
More columns in this series
- See How to set your 2018 on fire: Part 1
- Part 2: I will face forward
- Part 3: In 2018 my body will move my mind
- Part 4: In 2018 I will speak up, not eat up
- Part 5: In 2018 I will (sometimes) accept the unacceptable
- Part 6: I will set boundaries around my phone
Through her online Happiness programme “Wellbeing Warriors”, life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing