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.|
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.