Shedding perfection; accepting “good enough”

Sometimes good is enough.

Photo via Flickr, modified under CC License.

I haven’t been consistent with blogging, but I’m proud of myself because I have been consistent with my goal for this year. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t typically make new year’s resolutions. That’s because I used to, but I never succeeded. Repeatedly declaring goals that I couldn’t meet was doing a number on my self esteem, so I stopped making goals.

But now I realize I was being a perfectionist. I couldn’t meet my very specific goal 100%, so it was failure. The truth was, I was either setting unrealistic goals, or I was doing “good enough” but not letting it count. Instead of scrapping goals altogether, I should have readjusted my goals.

In 2015, my goal is to get things done. To tie up loose ends. To rid myself of the forever-nagging feeling that there’s something I ought to be doing, a result of keeping a long to-do list that I avoid because I’m overwhelmed. “Getting things done” is generic enough to apply to most projects, so—whether it’s an obvious, large project or a more subtle, small one—I’m able to cross them off my list, which feels good. Feeling good about it keeps me motivated.

And because my goal covers a broad range of accomplishments, I don’t have to criticize myself for “good enough” not being 100%. I am not aspiring to get everything done, but to finish some of what I’ve started and to be careful not to add new projects without forethought.

For example, adding a stitch to two shirts was a tiny project, but a to-do item I finished. It was 100% completed and I crossed it off my list. Victory! (It was minor so it doesn’t count? Stuff it, inner critic. It does count.)

On the opposite end of the scale, a huge change for me was that I quit my job in June. I liked it well enough, but schedule-wise it really complicated my life. One less thing to have to worry about on top of everything else. Another victory! Another obligation removed from my list.

An additional “project” was that I decided to read through the Bible this year. I haven’t read it cover to cover since high school. It was time. But at some point this spring I fell behind. Usually I’d give up and quit. A couple of weeks had stretched out to more than a month behind… What’s the point? I’d just feel guilty every day. So I would let myself off the hook and forget about it.

But this time, I decided “good enough” was good enough. I am still behind, but that’s okay; I’m still reading, and that’s what counts. Even though I’m on a 1 year plan and it may take me longer than a year to complete it, getting to that last verse in Revelation is something I’m aiming to achieve. The fact that I haven’t quit because I haven’t done it perfectly is a victory in and of itself!

I’ve also been good about not taking on new projects. I have a habit of hearing a need and thinking, “I could do that,” and so I do. Truth is, I can do that. Or this. Or even that. But that doesn’t mean I should, and I certainly can’t do all three at the same time. So, I’m focusing on clearing my plate this year and actively avoiding taking on anything new, so that I can start next year with a fresh slate, taking on projects that matter to me instead of just ones I am capable of.

I have one more big project that I had committed to that I hope to finish by the end of this summer. I’ve been making progress on it and I’m pleased. I know it won’t be perfect, but that’s okay. Good enough IS good enough. And “done” is better than avoiding the person who asked me to do it, and then having to apologize for procrastinating on it forever and trying to finish it all in half the time it would have taken if I had done it on time.

I am a work in progress. I’m still learning to accept that both my projects and I can be just good enough, instead of perfect. I suppose that means I should forgive myself for not being consistent with this blog as well. At least I’m still posting! That’s good enough.

Is this something you struggle with? In what areas can you forgive yourself for not being perfect and just accept “good enough”?