You've broken your streak

I am a perfectionist.

Contrary to popular belief, perfectionism is not just about striving, against all odds, to achieve perfection. What it often is - and certainly the way it manifests for me - is an overwhelming urge to disengage from anything I don’t believe I’m going to excel at.

I am also burnt out. Perfection feels unattainable to me at the moment, and this combination of burnout and perfectionism means I’m disengaging a lot right now.

Take this blog post. I’m writing this as part of an annual challenge called National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo for short). Each year, I set myself the target of writing a blog post every week throughout the month of November. I’ve missed 3 days so far this year, and this fact is so demotivating to me that I almost gave up completely.

I can see this playing out in the various other endeavours I have going on right now, too: from the missed workout in my personal training program causing me to write off the whole week, to the Duolingo prompts I’m ignoring after breaking my daily French practice streak.

But giving in to perfectionism means missing out on the rich middle ground. Having already failed at writing a blog post every day this month, I’m faced with a choice. I can give up and write nothing for the rest of the month. Or I can dust myself off and write another 12. That’s 12 posts I wouldn’t have written otherwise. In any other circumstances I would consider that a really productive writing month.

The fact is that I am not capable of perfection right now. I can allow that to grind me to a halt, or I can grant myself compassion and build back up, allowing “good enough” to be good enough for the moment.

And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to step away from all or nothing, and choose to do something.