With the New Year upon us it is a time of new beginnings, countless opportunities and second chances. It is at this time of year we look inward and ask ourselves, what do I aspire to change, to achieve or experience in my life? In our quest for perfection how is one to accomplish it all, or perhaps, a single goal of great importance? Our journey takes us down the road of perfectionism that leads straight to procrastination where we sometimes crash at paralysis. Overcoming these behaviors and achieving your desires begins by understanding why, despite your efforts, you choose this path to travel and where do you go from here.

Did you know there is a correlation between perfectionism and procrastination? Procrastination is a type of behavior that impedes action which goes hand in hand with striving for excellence. In your plight of perfection the task is never good enough and is let go or put aside. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Perfectionists tend to negatively evaluate their performance or possible outcomes. Social self-consciousness increases anxiety and leads to avoidance. Procrastination has been described as a mechanism we use to cope with the anxiety associated with starting or completing tasks or decisions. We procrastinate because we experience emotions we do not want to feel such as being overwhelmed, helpless, sad, not in control, or resentful. It is easy to put off what you are working towards when thinking about it transpires unpleasant feelings. You procrastinate and tell yourself, “I will get to it tomorrow.” In doing so it’s hard to accept you are not living up to your own high expectations of yourself. Your inner critic fills your mind with negative thoughts and the cycle continues. In time paralysis sets in and you become stagnant. There are many voices of our inner critic. What is your inner critic telling you? I will address awareness of and taming your inner critic in a later article.

Perfectionists who procrastinate harbor many fears: fear of failure, fear of success, fear of uncertainty, fear of conflict, fear of dreams, fear of completion. These fears call for greater expectations which increase anxiety and can then seem overwhelming. For example, for those who fear success if you are successful then more will be expected of you and how would that feel? What would your life look like if being successful meant constantly having to struggle through more and more expectations? You would never be able to complete what you set out to do or feel satisfied. There is a balance you can achieve between getting things done and other things in life. Changing the way you think and approach a task can make it easier and more enjoyable. You don’t have to choose between success and happiness, you can have both.

For those who have a fear of failure the feelings of being pressured to be perfect at a job or in your personal life are compounded with a sense of the inevitability of failure (being less than perfect), leaving you unsatisfied. What do you fear?

Ask yourself; are you a reactor or a creator? Reactors place blame and shame, creators conquer. Taking first steps in conquering the underlying causes for the behaviors that imprison your mind begins with the following:

Step 1 – Do away with paralyzing thoughts of uncertainty or inadequacy. Become aware of the reasons you procrastinate and do not avoid them. What is truly causing you to hold yourself back? Release and move forward.

Step 2 – Be accountable. Many of us put blame outside of ourselves. “If only I had time…” This gives us a point of blame or shame instead of taking 100% responsibility.

Step 3 – Solve through creation! We are creators of our own life. Own your power. Map a course of change. A useful tool to move out of procrastination is mind mapping. Through the use of words and ideas you can create an organized visual representation of what you wish to accomplish and break it into small steps toward completion. Mind mapping was originated in the 1960’s by Tony Buzan, author of Age-Proof Your Brain. To see what millions of people around the world are using click on www.buzanworld.com/Mind_Maps.htm.

Step 4 – Once you begin to make changes don’t stop! Set the inertia for completion and keep doing.

Are you trying to be too perfect for your own good? Once you understand why you procrastinate then you can proceed with taking manageable steps to overcome avoidance, begin prioritizing, using time management and goal setting to accomplish what you aspire to achieve. David Cottrell was quoted, “Our comfort zones can be the greatest enemy to our potential.” When you think about it is in our comfort zones where unease and frustrations dwell. Deep down we know it is ourselves that holds us back from what we aspire to be, to do, to achieve.

Author's Bio: 

Christie Clipper, owner of Healthy Edge, LLC, has nearly 20 years experience in numerous health delivery systems and research in human behaviors. She holds a M.S. in Community Health Research and a B.A. in Health Policy. Her achievements have brought comprehensive medical services in an outpatient setting to underserved populations, inspired entrepreneurial growth in various industries, and promoted community awareness.

As a health and wellness coach, Christie empowers people to harness and breakthrough barriers that get in the way of taking care of themselves. Her unique approach encompasses value-based coaching that addresses an individual’s overall well-being and underlying factors that contribute to unhealthy lifestyle choices. healthyedge-llc.com