The Battle of Consistency vs. Perfection

consistency
 
Okay, so I’m not the most consistent blogger in the world.

In my dreams, I aspire to do meaningful things with my life. One of them is to write a post each week. What am I saying. I would be happy if I posted once a month.

And I was doing amazingly well until I became…inconsistent. Which to me is totally irresponsible. I mean, how hard can it really be? Unless you’re a perfectionist like me and then we’ve got a whole other problem to overcome.

Consistency is not the same as Perfection.

Yet, it is necessary in order to make progress, whether at work, within the family circle, in dealing with others, or achieving some level of success in our life.

It is the act of repetition that is more important than our perfection.

But try telling this to someone who is a perfectionist!

There is power in the knowing that consistency will help us to succeed, but once we realize this, it can become easy to obsess over becoming perfectly consistent.

Habit Formation and Continued Improvement.

It’s all about balance and setting priorities.

And that’s hard to do when we’re dealing with life. Too much happens during each day, each week that can play havoc with being consistent. Which only serves to escalate within the realm of our perfection.

Or should I say imperfection.

And that’s the point.

James Clear, a Human Behaviorist, recommends that in order to be consistent, we need to plan for failure.

Yes, consistency is essential if we are to succeed in any area of our life. But if we want to keep our sanity and increase the odds of our success, we need to “plan for failure as well as focus on the consistency.”

Rebound from Failures and Setbacks.

This doesn’t mean we won’t deal with moments of frustration. Every one of us has our own personal journey with many detours and distractions that happen along the way. However, if we choose not to allow our failures to have undue impact on our personal success, then we’re able to continue forward on our journey to achieving consistency.

Remember, any negative feelings and thoughts are temporary and subjective. We are always going to fight the should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve, since we’re constantly in our own heads, alone with our thoughts, which can be dangerous in itself.

Constancy is not the same as Perfection.

Let’s not let temporary illusions of stress, anxiety, worry and insecurity derail us from our journey to success. Let’s make a plan geared towards staying consistent and motivated.

And embrace our imperfection.

For me, this means not giving up. It means making a goal to achieve Consistency and letting go of Perfection, accepting failure as a normal part of being successful.

It’s a constant battle, but by taking this one step at a time, I think its one that you and I can achieve!

So what do you think? Has life gotten in your way of attaining your goals? Are you a perfectionist? Do you find it difficult to be consistent? Is it hard for you to accept your own failures? What do you do in order to achieve your goals?

26 thoughts on “The Battle of Consistency vs. Perfection

  1. Jennette Marie Powell

    It’s tough to stay consistent, especially when the benefits of a task or project aren’t immediately apparent. What helps me in creating a new habit is to connect that activity with one that’s already a habit. For example, I check my RSS reader while I eat lunch, and see what blogs my friends have posted that day.

    Which is why I’m just now commenting here, even though you posted this over a month ago – it just showed up in my RSS reader today! Weird….

    Lately I’ve been trying to establish a habit of either walking the dog or using the treadmill after I get home from work. It’s taking… slowly. And writing after dinner. Still working on that one. The main thing is to not beat up on ourselves when a habit takes a while to form. That helps no one.

    Good luck with yours!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..Rolling ThunderMy Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Weird is right Jennette. You just received the post? I wonder what happened. Who’s to know the all the quirky ways of technology. But I’m glad you’re here now. And I love your idea. Connect a new activity with an existing habit. That’s what I need to do since I am totally not consistent. You have given me something to think about. Thank you my dear friend! ((Hugs)) 🙂

      Reply
  2. Denise D. Young

    Consistency is definitely something I’ve struggled with over the years, and you’ve hit the nail on the head. Often times, perfectionism gets in the way of achieving our goals. Earlier this year I was teaching a class at a university, and I wanted to be a really good instructor, so I ended up letting go of blogging for a while so I could focus on teaching. And it worked. My students and I had a great semester together and I got really positive evaluations from my students.

    Now the semester is over and I’ve thrown myself into writing and blogging again. Maybe if I hadn’t been such a perfectionist, I would’ve been able to write and blog and teach at the same time. But having that focus worked for me–even if it did mean I missed the blogging world a lot during those months.

    It’s easy to get derailed by competing goals. Modern society throws a lot at us, and we constantly get this idea that our life should be “Pinterest perfect”–our blog posts, our homes, the meals we cook, the stories we write. And sometimes life is just a little more chaotic than that!
    Denise D. Young recently posted..One More Hurdle…My Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Denise! Ha! It’s been over a month and I haven’t posted. That’ll tell you how consistent I am. Derailed? Um, yeah! lol. And yes, it’s the perfectionism. Totally gets in the way. But how can you do it all? We have a lot going on in our lives. So many directions pulling at the same time. Something is bound to slip through the crack. Your students obviously benefited from the time spent focused on your teaching. So that’s a positive. And your blog was there waiting for you when you returned. All we can do is our best, which may not include perfection. ((Hugs))

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Hey Lynn! Yeah, it’s difficult to find the balance. But you have my total respect for taking risks like you do and not being afraid of failure. You’ve totally rocked Toastmaster girlfriend. So proud of you! ((Hugs)) 🙂

      Reply
  3. KR Brorman

    Embracing imperfection, I love that. I recently saw a meme calling perfection another word for fear, wish I could remember all of the comparison. My writing partners an I have been trying to focus, with our project and blog on consistency over perfection. You can’t improve on unwritten topics or edits an unwritten page, right? Glad to have found your blog.

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Welcome my new friend. You are so right. We can’t make an improvement when there’s nothing written to improve upon, let alone edit. Yet, perfection can certainly cripple us if we don’t accept our imperfections and strive for some form of constancy, really in all aspects of our life. So glad you dropped by for a visit. Thank you so much and I hope we’ll see you again! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Julia

    Cool post. Inconsistent blogging makes sense to me because the world of blogging is changing quickly. I think it’s harder now than it was five years ago to find a balance of connecting, being useful, and blogging to be out in the world. You’re right, we all need to remind ourselves that perfection can be an excuse not to even try!
    Julia recently posted..HiatusMy Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Ah, a girl after my own heart! How true Julia. Yes, blogging has changed and it’s hard to find the balance. Perfection? Ack! That’s part of the problem. But a little consistency couldn’t hurt. And that’s all that we can shoot for. 🙂

      Reply
  5. August McLaughlin

    I love this, Karen. And you know what? I get excited whenever I see a post of yours in my inbox — no matter how frequent.

    I can be pretty tough on myself at times, and have learned that rest, play and action (uh, not all at the same time! ;)) help hugely. Baby steps help me a ton when I’m feeling down or stuck.

    Sending lots of love to you, friend!

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Thank you so much August! Aww, that is so nice of you to say. I don’t know how exciting my posts are, but I’m so happy you enjoy them. Yep, taking baby steps and trying not to remain stuck. Lots of love back atcha girlfriend. ((Hugs)) 🙂

      Reply
    2. Jenny Hansen

      I get excited when I see your posts too, even if it’s a month later. Go you for moving forward, even if it’s not in the perfect pattern you envision. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Karen Post author

        Thank you Jenny! I’m just working on trying to be more consistent. As you know, this blogging thing is a challenge for me. I, right this moment, realize I need to post again and I haven’t the foggiest what to write about. But something will strike a cord with me and poof, a new post awaits. (FYI. I just installed a new comment plugin. So if you receive this comment in your email, could you let me know cause it’s supposed to alert commenters of my response. And your the first person to comment since I installed it. Thanks!!) 🙂

        Reply
  6. Yvette Carol

    I know I’m a perfectionist. It drives me crazy, in a very nice way, on a daily basis. I’ll give you a “for instance,” my car has about three very minor dings/scratches on it now, and it spoils the whole car for me. Even though the car is wonderful in every other way that actually matters!

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Aha! See, I knew I wasn’t the only perfectionist out there. Yvette, it’s really hard not to focus on flaws, whether it be a car, our writing, or anything else. Interesting enough, all of us have the ability to change our focus. Of course that would require acceptance. And for some, that is a very difficult thing to do, because that would mean we’d have to accept our own imperfections. I just think we’re all a work in progress my friend. And at the end of the day, I think we all just want to be happy. So let’s make a pack to not drive ourselves crazy, shall we? 🙂

      Reply
  7. Jodi Lea Stewart

    *Going to the front of the room to confess . . .* I am a recovering perfectionist!

    I put that cloak on all aspects of my life for so very long, and it nearly made me sick emotionally and sick at heart. Sick at heart is not a good place to be, but I remember well my frustration in trying to keep my house/car/clothes/etc. perfectly cleaned and serviced. I remember well my desperation to make every aspect of my life fit into neat little grooves that did not exist, but I didn’t realize it at the time. By raising my children and seeing that my genius son who didn’t try hard missed the opportunities that his best friend who struggled to get good grades found from being consistent, it began to open my eyes to the difference in excellence and perfection.

    When I began to write novels, I began to see that the dust on my furniture just may have to stay there a few days (or a week) while I hit my deadlines and ventured into the time-consuming world of social media to, as Kristen Lamb insisted was necessary *and she was right* to build one’s author platform. I wrote a huge blog about that, made it funny, and then laughed at myself for trying to dot every “i” and cross every “t” as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, AND ta da! author. It just wasn’t possible to do it all, especially when we thought we should blog several times a week. Since then, I’ve come to terms with the struggle, and I have to admit, I’m much happier.

    Yet, not blogging (just 2-3 times/year or less) is not what I want. That’s where the consistency you so aptly describe comes in. It’s almost like the definition of faith . . . “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. . . because folks just don’t read blogs like they did a few years ago. You can make them short, subtitle, add photos, and it still takes an act of God to get much movement on them. That’s where I’m at right now. Being a fiction writer, I don’t have the niche a non-fiction writer has, so why should people read what I write? I don’t know (yet) but I’m on a quest to find out. I applaud your comeback, Karen, and know that you are not alone in this struggle for consistency.

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      You are so right Jodi. Perfectionism, if left unchecked, can make us sick, both emotionally and physically. No, we cannot do it all. Many of us have burnt ourselves out and it is a struggle to find the balance and remain consistent. Yet, I do think to establish our blog, frequent posts are needed in order to gain ranking on Google and Social Media. After the initial start-up, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to pull back to a more sane schedule because we do have a life. Let’s face it, there are more important things that should take precedence, namely our family. But I do think the only way to find our “niche” is to be consistent in order to gain a following. And I want to support you when you decide on your quest. We’ll do this together girl! 🙂

      Reply
  8. coleen

    Yes, sometimes I hem and haw over pulling the trigger on something I’m working on–or even just moving on to the next phase of it! 🙂 Let it go from the Frozen soundtrack is the ringtone on my phone…
    Hope you have a great week, Karen!!

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Thank you Coleen. “Let it Go.” I love it! I shall adopt it as my new mantra. But it is at times hard to pull the trigger. No, I’m going to let go. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Oh good, I’m glad to see that I am not the only one in the perfectionist class Kassandra! And it is a constant battle for me. But I like that slogan. Just do it! Yes, ma’am. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Amy Kennedy Fosseen

    I don’t think I’m a perfectionist, although I, too, have many a draft (manuscript and blog entry) unfinished!

    I whole-heartedly agree about failing–not expecting to fail, but to understand if you’re not failing once in awhile, you’re not trying new things.

    Here’s to consistency *cheers*

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Thank God there’s someone out there that is not a perfectionist Amy! Unfinished business doesn’t not a perfectionist make. And I love your point. “If you’re not failing once in awhile, you’re not trying new things.” I couldn’t agree more. Well said. Cheers to consistency my dear friend! 🙂

      Reply
  10. Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

    I am a consummate perfectionist, Karen, which means I rarely finish anything. I also have all sorts of great ideas, arcs of themes for my blog, and the unfinished posts languish in my drafts folder. Sigh!

    I’d love to have a fellow traveler to fight perfection with me!

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Ah Elizabeth, it’s good to know that I am in good company. It is a constant battle to the finish. Just know that you will always have me as a “fellow traveler” to fight perfection, one I know you and I will achieve! 🙂

      Reply

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