5 Ways to Beat Perfectionism and Procrastination
If you’re being held down by perfectionism and procrastination, I’m here today to hold you virtually by the shoulders, look you virtually in the eyes, and say this — we cannot let them win!
This is definitely one of those things that is way easier said than done, but like any habit, we have the power to change it.
So, how do we actually beat perfectionism and procrastination? I’m going to share some helpful steps—although they will be specific to health and fitness, because that’s what we focus on here, they can be applied to anything.
But, first let’s break down perfectionism and procrastination because the more empowered we are, the better the odds we can overcome them!
What Are Perfectionism and Procrastination?
Both of these words have a negative connotation—as well they should since they contribute to a toxic mentality, especially when it comes to health and fitness goals.
The Perfectionism-Procrastination cycle becomes a habit over time—and, although habits are not easy to break, they definitely can be broken.
Dictionary.com defines “perfectionism” as “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.”
Perfectionism may push people to work hard and to the best of their abilities, but it negatively impacts a person’s mental health and wellbeing—especially what’s known as “Clinical Perfectionism.”
Clinical perfectionism is when the perfectionist mindset completely overwhelms a person, leading them to overwork themselves due an extreme amount of self-imposed pressure.
Fortunately, most perfectionists aren’t at this level, but it still has a significant impact on their mental wellbeing. And, it can eventually affect one’s physical health.
Dictionary.com defines “procrastination” as “the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention”.
When someone procrastinates, people usually think they are lazy or dodging responsibilities, but it’s actually a defense mechanism against the pressure put on oneself.
Procrastination can take on different forms—the obvious one is doing nothing, but, you might be surprised to know, that over-planning is also a form of procrastination.
Perfectionists often have a deep-seated need to be an expert in all that they do, so they’ll spend lots of time getting educated and hatching plans before they ever get to the point where they take action.
Causes of Perfectionism and Procrastination
I’m simplifying here, but there are several underlying causes of perfectionism.
It is usually linked to a feeling of inferiority and the fear of not being good enough—both on the surface (“I’m not coordinated”) or at a deep psychological level (“I don’t deserve to be fit and healthy”).
Perfectionists are continually comparing themselves to others. Not only does this crumble self-esteem, but it impacts most aspects of mental health.
Procrastination is one of the several byproducts of perfectionism—its typically a result of feeling fearful (“What’s going to happen if I do that?”) or overwhelmed (“I have NO idea where to start!”).
So, the procrastinator freezes.
You can see where all of these causes come into play with health and fitness, right?
5 Ways to End the Cycle of Perfectionism and Procrastination
Now that you understand the causes and underlying connection between perfectionism and procrastination, let’s look at five ways to start putting an end to their impact on our health and fitness:
1. Do less
It’s not easy for perfectionists to let themselves have less than perfect results—they pressure themselves to do more, more, more.
Rather than diving in and competing with the pros, just start with a nibble. Choose an introductory program and do it a few days a week.
This will give your mind and body a chance to ease into a new practice.
2. Set reasonable standards given your current state
Having standards is good, excellent even, but not if they put so much pressure on you that you break!
If you haven’t worked out in awhile or you have a physical limitation, start slow and small. You do not have to do any particular program now—you can gradually work up to it over time.
Let the expectations you have for yourself build slowly so you don’t do physical or mental harm to yourself. Give yourself the same grace you would (hopefully) give to your loved ones.
This is one of the best things about Beachbody on Demand—it has LOTS of workouts, including some fabulous beginner ones that enable you to start off at a super reasonable pace.
Check some of them out here—Best Beachbody Programs for Beginners
3. Be mindful of the exercises you do
While getting fit it’s crucial to listen to your body’s capabilities. Be mindful that overworking yourself will only harm your progress, and your body, so the “perfect” choice sometimes is actually to slow down.
Remember that no one can do everything all at once!
4. Build a positive environment
Sometimes one’s environment, such as a highly critical one, can actually cause one to be more of a perfectionist and a procrastinator.
Surrounding yourself with encouraging and like-minded people lifts your mood, which will keep you on your path.
This is one of the reasons I started my Soulful Fit Club! I wanted a positive place where I could both find AND give encouragement. JOIN HERE!
5. Create a reward system for yourself
Lastly, consider rewarding yourself when complete even the smallest of health and fitness actions.
You don’t want your rewards to undermine your progress, so it’s best to focus on rewards you can’t eat.
A reward system boosts your motivation and helps you get more organized.
Perfectionism and procrastination result in you not achieving what you want to accomplish for yourself. Let’s help each other break this habit and keep moving forward at our perfectly imperfect page! Click below to connect.