5 Ways to Get Past Perfectionism and Just Do it

Updated: Jun 30

How often do you find yourself stuck, ruminating over a project, or working on a task for days on end, never quite satisfied? Even when you finish the project, after putting countless hours in, you're just not sure if it's good enough.

Do you find yourself unable to complete, or even start a project, because you don't feel it's going to be ______ (fill in the blank).

If so, it's likely you're struggling with perfectionism.

I define a perfectionist as someone who feels the need to perpetually work at something until it meets a predetermined criteria. When this criteria is met, it’s still not enough, and that individual strives to perform even better next time.

Fundamentally speaking, perfectionists are never quite satisfied, and they often wear this as a badge of honor. It becomes more than just the work they do; it becomes their overall identity. Perfectionism comes clothed as hard work, or overall good work ethic and determination, but it actually is a person who lacks self-worth and has a low regard for self, who typically questions their ideas and doesn’t trust their instincts.

Does this describe you?

It certainly described me this past year in 2020, when I was struggling with a bout of depression and anxiety after George Floyd was murdered. After months of therapy and a significant amount of coaching, I put together Five Ways to Get Past Perfectionism and Just Do it. Perhaps these tips will help you.

Here's a video recap, for your convenience. I recently submitted this to Authority Magazine.

Here are the details:

  1. Trust Yourself: Most people that lack the “just do it” mentality don’t trust themselves. Trust comes from a space of integrity. Perhaps there were times in the past where you said you’d do something and you didn’t follow through. Over time, your mind gets confused and it causes an incongruence with yourself. That’s why it’s hard to show up and do the things that are risky, uncomfortable and challenging…because most have lied to themselves in the past, which is a psychological term called cognitive dissonance, or “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.” To turn this around, it’s important to get quiet, meditate and commune with God to recall the times when you have trusted yourself. It is important to remind yourself of what that felt like. Start by slowly following through on the small goals and tasks you set for yourself. That way, your mind can get back to believing that you’ll follow through on yourself. For me, I believe that God can help me trust myself, when I trust God first, everything falls into place. It goes hand-in-hand for me. But I must do the work. This basic step is to trust yourself. It’s the foundation of just going for it.

  2. Record Yourself Cheering Yourself On: We need to hear positive self talk from ourselves. Most people don’t talk to themselves in a positive manner, and most don’t like or trust their own voice. Oftentimes, our inner dialogue is negative and judgmental. I believe we need to record our voices, in an uplifting manner, and listen to it often. We can record our voices on our cell phone and play it back often. We need to speak to ourselves as if we are talking and encouraging a good friend.

  3. Refuse To Edit Yourself: Once you trust yourself, you’ll stop editing yourself. Most people find themselves critiquing the most creative aspects of themselves. That’s because our minds want to see a reflection of what we are thinking and doing in other people, or we wish to see a reflection of what they’re thinking in the world. If we don’t see it, our minds will try to dismiss it. That’s where we need to allow our creative selves to grow, because the most creative, innovative and unique parts of who we are comes from the space of not editing ourselves. We need to write what first comes into our minds, and stop hitting the “delete” button. First, we trust ourselves, and then we are able to stop editing ourselves.

  4. You Might as well Jump: (... cue the music "Jump" by Led Zeppelin). I was recently in Mexico with my daughter, CC. My son CJ and husband were supposed to join us on our family trip, but CJ was unable to travel due to health complications. My daughter exclaimed upon arrival in Mexico, “Mom, you have to do everything that CJ was going to do.” That was code for, ”Zip lining and jumping off cliffs are in your immediate future.” I assured her I was game for adventures...until I saw the cliff. Heart racing and palms sweating, I stared at the steep fall below me. I began to turn around, mumbling, “I can’t do it.” But then I shifted my thinking and told myself I could do it. I shouted, “Do it!” and jumped. That’s how we need to do our work: We need to trust, cheer ourselves on, get it all out and JUMP!

  5. Repeat, repeat and repeat: Don’t stop after doing something once. We need to repeat behavior over and over to gain the mental memory. By repeating positive behavior, we learn to trust our gut and allow our creativity to flow. But this only comes by practicing, over and over again, and going for it. You’ll learn as you go. What’s required is action. I know this all too well. This past year, as a result of the pandemic, and the social unrest, I found myself in a holding pattern. I was stuck. It wasn’t until I began to trust God, then trust myself, and follow the steps discussed above that I regained my focus to just go for it.

I hope you start to implement the above steps right away.

Keep going!

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