Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Progress Looks Like

I've often wondered what progress looks like.

I've come to the conclusion that the answer depends entirely on the task at hand... and perhaps one's personality.

I am a perfectionist. There, I said it (and posted it for all the Internet to see!). While I have learned to ease off on some things (I no longer expect my children to sort their toys into small individual bins. Instead I am happy if they all hit the same bin and are not spread out all over the floor. But that only took a week or two and happened when they were toddlers!), I am still learning when it comes to others.

Perfectionism can be paralyzing. There are times when, if I can't do it all and if I can't do it the way I envision it, I hesitate to even begin. Other times, I don't allow myself time to do things I enjoy because there I things I "need" to do. (We all know that housework never ends.) Anal? Compulsive? Neurotic? If you were to call me any of those, it wouldn't be the first time I'd heard them.

So... what if: I can't lose 5, 10, 20 pounds overnight? ... the stitching is off by 1/16 of an inch? ... my floors look a little dusty when the sun hits them or there are splatters on the bathroom mirror? ... I think of better wording after hitting "Publish"? What if things aren't just the way I'd like them?

Have I made progress if the task isn't completed perfectly? Have I made progress if I stepped up to give the child the argument she was looking for but then apologized for not keeping my cool (read: being the adult) and asked for her forgiveness? Has my husband made progress if the kitchen is only half-tiled?


So I'd like to share what progress looks like in our house today:

Letters in the name that are spaced further apart than I'd like them. (I did not do the logo, just the name.)

Half an hour on the treadmill - while downloading running apps!

30 minutes of sewing on a project that has been in progress for 9 months.

Reading the right books - and keeping up with friends both near and far.

A half-tiled kitchen!! (Hopefully the wall to the right will be complete tomorrow!)
A great little tool.
Yes, I used the timer method again today. I'm really quite enjoying the fact that if I achieve 30 minutes of focused work on a task then I have accomplished it! (As opposed to not feeling that I've achieved anything because the project may not be complete.)

Progress also looks like a mother and daughter in a tear-filled embrace, because the mother has just asked forgiveness for not keeping her cool... but I'll leave that picture to your capable imaginations.

Perfection is a myth. There is not a single perfect person here on earth. I think I'll choose to be happy with progress from now on.


  1. Exactly what i needed to hear today. Thanks for sharing Melanie.

  2. Ooooo, good one. I like the 30 minute idea.

  3. Oh, how I understand!! Celebrating progress with you. :-)