I have a way of falling repeatedly into the same traps. I overanalyze, I aim for perfection, and I expect too much of myself -inevitably setting myself up for failure. Sometimes I am far too conscious of the the fact that I’m trying to ‘do better’ or ‘be better’ that I forget to just ‘do’ and ‘be’.
I sometimes refer to myself as a Lazy Perfectionist. I want everything to be perfect, but don’t seem to have the energy or motivation to get things done the way I’d like to. I see nothing but errors and mistakes all around me and feel as if I’m living in one giant, never-ending ball of tasks. Instead of working at these tasks one by one, I become paralyzed by the mountain of chores in front of me. I become so easily overwhelmed by just the thought of everything that must be done that I give up before I even begin. I stay in bed. I turn on the tv. I pretend the tasks don’t exist. I allow myself to fail.
Unfortunately, I then feel really bad about it. I feel like I’m worthless and lazy. When I avoid the tasks, the list just gets longer. What’s worse, I don’t give myself points for trying. I don’t feel satisfaction in the few tasks that I do complete. I simply focus on all of those that have not yet been taken care of and I let the thought of what is left to be done suffocate me.
The habit I always fall back into is to expect myself to suddenly wake up one day feeling entirely motivated. I can’t get rid of the feeling that I have to have a clean slate in order to start fresh, and a clean slate means first taking care of every single possible task I can think of, all in one day.
For some reason, I expect myself to wake up at 6:00 on Saturday, do yoga or go for a run, go grocery shopping and cook three healthy, organic, sugar-free meals, entirely from scratch. I expect myself to clean the entire house from top to bottom, including scrubbing the baseboards, washing the windows and cleaning the air filter above the stove. I then hope to write a 2500 chapter that doesn’t require edits. In the meantime, I should also answer all of my emails, go to the bank, fold the laundry and practice the guitar that has been hanging on my wall gathering dust for months.
It’s no wonder that I end up waking up with my alarm at 6:00, hitting snooze and eventually crawling out of bed at 9:30, only to wander into the living room and turn on the tv while I eat toast with peanut butter and jelly.
The problem is that I am still expecting perfection. It’s all or nothing in my head. Either you accomplish everything today, I tell myself, or you hide in fear and accomplish nothing. I am waiting for the day that I will wake up and solve all of my problems. I am waiting for the day when I’m just going to feel like it.
What I really need to do is stop waiting and start accepting less than perfect. I want to feel proud of myself when I do something productive, and not be angry at myself when I just feel like chilling out. I want to be able to feel comfortable in my home without thinking that I’m a failure as a woman for not keeping a perfectly clean house. If I can feel happy with doing part of a task, then my massive list of chores might not seem as overwhelming.