To change a behavior like procrastinating, and a mindset like perfectionism is going to take a lot of intentional work. In researching this topic, I have discovered there are stages involved in dismantling a mindset and set of habits. The first is to have an awareness of the need for change. After developing a knowledge of habitual perfectionism and procrastination, it is essential to set goals to help pave the way for success in overcoming those challenges. Being as realistic as possible that changing a habit is going to be difficult and there are going to be days that are uncomfortable, is key to dismantling this mindset. It is important to anticipate these negative eventualities ahead of time and make a commitment to enduring the short-term difficulty to meet the broader more important goal. Last, is to be persistent.
I have not always been aware of how perfectionism has affected me, but my emotions have helped to alert me that something in my life was in need of reevaluation. I have had something shoved down so deep that I was feeling crazy that I couldn’t just pinpoint what was bothering me. Since I couldn’t name my problem as perfectionism, I would call myself stupid and inept and believe it as fact.
One of the components needed for change is to set appropriate goals to help modify behavior and thinking. This is where perfectionism kicks in and sabotages me. I hesitate to do things I am unfamiliar with, or I don’t already have a baseline knowledge that I will be successful. I have heard that following the acronym SMART when setting goals is a helpful way to set practical goals. SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based. In the past, I have had difficulty with setting these sorts of goals because I was unsure if I was doing it right. Because of this problem in setting goals, I feel like I am doomed to fail at changing my perfectionist mindset, and that makes me angry. The old familiar pattern is rearing its ugly head again.
Persistence is the last component for self-change. This is where determination, hard work, blood, sweat, and buckets of tears are going to come in. I have to create a truthful statement that I can say to myself when I get bogged down in the Perfectionism death spiral, to provide clarity and encouragement to protect my progress from self-sabotage.
In the coming days, I will dive deeper into the practice of setting SMART goals, and developing a grounding statement to use during “maintenance mode.”