Have you ever noticed how painful it is to change a bad habit or get rid of a sin? Sometimes it’s just a slog—sticking with it when it would be so much easier to give up and go back to the old ways.
That’s how it was for me on Saturday. I did my worst job first, thinking it would take less than an hour—and it ended up taking all day. I finished around 5:00. I was tempted to put it off, but I thought of that rocket thrust idea (constant pressure) and kept limping along. It took me a couple of Scripture prayer sessions to keep me going in a forward motion, because I so badly wanted to give up and skip the whole project.
I did learn something new. If your procrastination is caused by perfectionism, it’s important to let go of the “to-do” list when necessary. At 5:00, I still had a long list of jobs and was feeling like a failure for not completing my list. My choices were:
1) keep working on the list
2) stop working on it and feel like a failure
3) stop working on it and look at the truth to see if I really was a failure
I chose the third option and truth journaled about the situation. Here’s what I wrote: 1) I should be working on my list. 2) It’s bad that I didn’t get it done. 3) I need to get to work.
Here are the truths I wrote down: 1) I worked all day on that project. It took much longer than expected. If I’d known it would take so long, I wouldn’t have put anything else on the list. 2) It’s to be expected that I didn’t finish the rest of the list. 3) I need to stop being a perfectionist about getting my list done. I need to accept and be thankful for what I did do and realize I can’t always judge how much to put on a list.
Journaling the situation gave me peace (at least it did after I submitted to the idea that it was alright if I didn't finish the list).
If you’re an inept perfectionist like me, part of the battle is accepting that you’re not always going to do everything you want to do. Which is what I needed to accept.
By the way, do you want to know what my project for the day was? A Sunday school lesson for my class of teenagers on perfectionism. Isn't God funny? He always seems to bring home the lesson in unusual and instructive ways - I guess he wants me to practice what I preach!
At any rate, the lesson went well. I'm actually working on a curriculum for teenagers based on the principles of Freedom from Emotional Eating (minus the emotional eating part of it), and the lesson was part of that curriculum. If anyone has suggestions of what to add to that curriculum let me know!
I better get going - I'm off to do the worst thing on my list!