Who Pushed Your Pause Button?

Perfectionism & Procrastination

By Joanne R Kanute, BCMCLC, AACC, CIM, CSA, Cos.


     Have you ever found yourself crying over a B+ or second place? There’s a chance you are a perfectionist! Perfectionism is generally a social root that derives from external rather than an internal source.


  • If you’re going to do something do it right?
  • Don’t do something half baked; make sure you have everything together so you don’t make a fool of yourself!
  • You can’t do anything right, you will never amount to anything!
  • I’m not good enough!


     Perfectionists are frequently high achievers! Being a perfectionist can be a positive and a negative.

The positives:

  • We value and strive for excellence
  • We are goal setters and achievers
  • High standards
  • Persistence
  • Organized
  • Have ability and stability
  • Good mentors
  • Reach their ultimate level of performance


The Negative:

  • Believe they should be PERFECT
  • Have no hesitations
  • Have no inconsistencies
  • Super sensitive to imperfection
  • Fear of Failing
  • They believe their acceptance is a function of never making a mistake
  • No such thing as “Good enough”
  • It’s all or nothing
  • Fear of disapproval


     There is nothing wrong with setting high standards but they must be reachable with effort. Never forget we all are human NOT super-human.


     Perfectionism can be a curse; perfectionists have a tendency to express criticism of themselves and others. Perfectionism is not a healthy pursuit of excellence, striving for excellence in a healthy way is very good with a high display of standards. Perfectionism on the other hand results in struggling with self-doubt and fears of disapproval and rejection.


     Perfectionism of oneself very quickly becomes overwhelming; don’t allow yourself to get lost in the maze of life. Perfection can be painful, you have the desire and drive to do well and yet there is fear of the consequences of not doing well which at times can throw you into Procrastination. This now has you spinning around and around with no end in sight! We naturally tend to avoid things we view as being more difficult or not quite as interesting to us!


     No one wants to make mistakes, so wait until you learn how to do it perfect or ALL before you start. This is an obstacle I battle with, being an information junkie; how and when do you have enough information to act upon!? With today’s electronic access there is so much to learn!  We convince ourselves, everyone will know how you screwed up and were such a failure. We need to tell ourselves it is okay to learn new things as we are doing. We all make mistakes and we learn from our mistakes! We care more about avoiding mistakes then we do learning from them.


     Many times desiring to have everything absolutely perfect may be covering up a weakness of our own self-esteem and self-confidence. When we reach the point of getting down on ourselves we find it’s easier to procrastinate! We often confuse lack of experience with lack of ability; just because you are faced with something you have never done doesn’t mean you are not able to do it. TRY!


     Many people are not sure they have what it takes to be successful until they find that they have arrived! The longer you wait to get something done, the higher the chances that it will never get done!  Don’t fonder on it, get started! The hardest part to many things is the START!


     There are many Life Goals that have NO deadlines! You don’t have to get married at a specific age, you don’t have to attend college at a specific age, you don’t have to start your business at a specific age, etc. No deadlines mean no pressure, which means no action. No action means no goals. Even though I think goals are great and for me a must, some goals don’t have a specific deadline.

     Procrastination is the tendency to delay taking action! It’s a disconnection between intention and implementation, to create any movement or progress we MUST implement our knowledge. When you have all the information you need, you start on working a plan! When you don’t, your brain stalls. This is when you experience procrastination.


     Think of procrastination as an alarm, a red flag, a sign something is missing! Something is preventing me from getting started and getting things done! Your job is to figure out what or who has pushed your pause button when the alarm goes off.  Giving others control over the progress of your life is a very vulnerable place to allow yourself to be stuck! If we left other people’s opinions stop us in our tracks, we will lose a lot of valuable progress dwelling on other people. (Which we have no control of!) Often the task itself takes less time then all of the time you wasted procrastinated about it! Locate your start button and get moving!


How does one get your wheels in motion?

  • Set standards that are high but reachable
  • Enjoying the process as well as the outcome
  • Bounce back quickly from failure or disappointment
  • Keeping normal anxiety and fear of failure within bounds
  • Reacting positively to helpful criticism, we all can learn so much from each other.
  • Set reachable goals for the day, week, month
  • List the real reasons for your delay
  • Realize the delay is unnecessary
  • Break down the task or project into smaller parts
  • Establish priorities
  • Accept setbacks and start again
  • Use a positive role model friend to help influence and inspire you
  • Avoid burnout


     A saying I find myself repeating often; “There is no better time than the present.”  Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today!

     Life is not an all or nothing game, it’s about moving forward! Some days will be baby steps and other days you will be able to make the high jump with little to no effort; that’s okay. It’s all about making some sort progress and celebrating your accomplishments. Make a difference in your life and make a difference for God’s kingdom.



Galatians 1:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.


1 Timothy 6:6 New International Version (NIV)

But godliness with contentment is great gain.


Ecclesiastes 11:4 New International Version (NIV)

Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
    whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.


Ecclesiastes 8:6 New International Version (NIV)

For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter,
    though a person may be weighed down by misery.


Proverbs 13:4 New International Version (NIV)

A sluggard’s (lazy) appetite is never filled,
    but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.



14 Signs Your Perfections Has Gotten Out of Control By Carolyn Gregoire

The Curse of Perfectionism By Adrian Furnham PhD

Academic Skills Center California Polytechnic State University

Still Procrastinating? Here’s Why! By Theo Tsaousides PhD

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