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How to strive for progress not perfection – 7 Simple Strategies

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Find out how you can embrace your perfectly imperfect life and strive for progress not perfection. Try out one (or more!) of these 7 simple strategies.

We are all sometimes striving for the “perfect life,” but trying to achieve perfection can be exhausting. It’s easy to compare your work or progress with someone else and feel discouraged.

Someone is always better and more successful than you; it can bring anyone down – and fast. But there’s a reason why striving for progress, not perfection, is encouraged. So forget, perfect. Progress is achievable!

Here are some tips and strategies that will help you embrace your perfectly imperfect life and self and strive for progress over perfection.

But first, who said. “focus on progress, not perfection,” and what does it mean to strive for progress not perfection.

Strive for progress not perfection - Perfectionism quotes

Who said: Progress over perfection

Bill Phillips, the writer of the book Body For Life, said: “Focus on progress, not perfection.”

Focus on progress not perfection - Bill Phillips - Perfectionism Quotes

What does it mean to strive for progress and not perfection?

Progress = making gradual steps forward; moving ahead in a process, change, or development.

Perfection = the most favorable condition or highest level. It means: without flaws or defects; faultless; complete; pure.

To strive for progress, not perfection, means that you should appreciate and be proud of your work. You shouldn’t be focused on what something could or should be; instead, focus on the small steps, the positive ways to improve yourself, and moving forward.

RELATED POST: Are you a perfectionist? – 9 signs you might be

Perfection is the enemy of progress - Winston Churchill - Perfectionism Quotes

How to make “progress not perfection” a lifestyle? – 7 simple strategies

Too often, we’re overly critical of ourselves. We might even dismiss our strengths. And if you have perfectionist tendencies, you might want to implement some strategies to help you overcome them.

The reality is that there are always “good enough” solutions to almost any problem, and people who are happy with their lives don’t live by arbitrary rules to measure up to an idealized standard of perfection.

Rather than beating yourself up for not living up to your “standards,” take a step back and get some perspective on your work as it stands right now – you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find!

And here are 7 tips and strategies you can start implementing today:

Strategy #1: “Quit” when needed – Not all goals require completion

It’s important not to confuse an “ideal” outcome for a realistic one.

When you set a goal, it’s essential to withstand the temptation to follow one path and turn away from another without taking the time to evaluate them in the context of your overall goals.

Not all goals require completion – simply because something is necessary doesn’t mean that it’s worth doing. If you find yourself dedicating a lot of time and effort to something that doesn’t really matter, it’s time to re-evaluate your goals.

RELATED POST: 10-Step Method To Set Attainable Goals

STRATEGY #2: Accept errors – Not all flaws are fatal

It’s important to distinguish between “minor” and “major” problems when working towards change and improvements.

Minor problems can be fixed without dramatically changing the overall structure of your solution, while major problems signify that the whole system needs to be rethought and restarted.

If you find yourself repeatedly returning to a creative problem with a tiny change after another, it’s time to ask if the problem is really important enough to justify all that wasted work.

Progress not perfection You can't be perfect everything but you can gain progress on daily basis - Court McGee - Perfectionism Quotes.

STRATEGY #3: Give yourself credit where credit is due

Not all achievements need to be perfect.

If you’ve made some progress towards your goal, but not all the way there, that’s okay!

Goals are meant to be challenging – they weed out those who aren’t interested enough in achieving the goal and encourage people to keep pushing forward.

As long as you’re making an effort, it’s time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

STRATEGY #4: Don’t be afraid to try

Sometimes, you might find yourself facing resistance simply because you’re trying new things, and that means there’s a chance of failure.

But if you never take any chances or risks, how can anyone tell what you’re capable of?

Feeling fear is natural – the key to overcoming it is to push through it, one step at a time. Keep going until you reach the point when you’ve mastered the skill. Then keep going some more!

Whether you think you can or you can't - you are right - Henry Ford - Perfectionism Quotes

STRATEGY #5: Step back and ask, “why?”

If all else fails, take a step back from your work or goal and examine how it serves your long-term interests and dreams.

Is this important to you?

  • If so, what does it mean to you?
  • If not, why are you doing it in the first place?

That might sound overly simple and obvious, but just because we’re used to something doesn’t make it valuable – it’s important to step back and review our most basic assumptions about life from time to time.

Sometimes the solution to the biggest problems is right under our noses; we just have to know how to recognize them!

STRATEGY #6: Change your mindset

Be happy with the progress you’ve made; don’t compare yourself to others.

Progress is not always made in a straight line; often, it can be two steps forward, one step back – nothing wrong with that! As long as you continue.

STRATEGY #7: Be grateful for what you have

In life, it’s easy to focus on all the things we don’t have and wish for a different outcome than what we currently have.

But focusing on what we do have can help us find happiness even in difficult situations. Take time out to reflect on everything around you that makes your life wonderful, and don’t forget to thank those who help make your life great!

RELATED POST: How to overcome perfectionist tendencies – 7 Simple strategies

How can perfectionism stop you from achieving your dreams and goals?

Pursuing perfectionism can stop you from becoming who you dream of being. Here are some ways perfectionism might prevent you from achieving your dreams and goals:

1) Perfectionism can leave you feeling unsatisfied with your work and/or decisions

Even though you would have made progress, but because the end result wasn’t up to your (or someone else’s standards), you might feel like you didn’t do enough, a failure, or paralyzed by self-doubt.

2) Perfectionism can take away the joy in reaching your goal.

If you worry or even obsess over making your project perfect, then it might not even be worth pursuing because you feel like it might never meet up to your standards.

3) Perfectionism can lead to the inability to take action.

When you’re so focused on not making a mistake – instead of doing something that might help you achieve your goal – you can find yourself paralyzed and unable to reach your dreams.

4) Perfectionism can make you miss the bigger picture.

When you focus on perfecting every single detail, you might miss the bigger picture. And the big picture – the goal or dream, your purpose – is what matters.

5) Perfectionism can lead to possible self-sabotage.

When you have perfectionist tendencies, you might even subconsciously do things that stop you from achieving your goals because deep down inside; you don’t think you deserve to enjoy success.

RELATED POST: How To Overcome Perfectionism – 7 Simple Strategies You Can Start With

Personal growth is about progress not perfection - Hal Elrod - Perfectionism Quotes

Why focus on progress instead of trying to achieve perfection

While a strive for perfection might feel like the right way to go, you’re actually more likely to achieve your goals by building on progress instead of giving up when things don’t seem ideal.

Imperfect progress is better than perfect stagnation.

Imperfect progress is better than perfect stagnation.

It’s hard to keep working on “the project” or learning something that at first seems difficult when you do not see immediate results, so when you’re in the process of creating something or improving yourself, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like giving up.

But achieving a goal by building on progress is better than stopping because things aren’t perfect yet. At least you’re moving in the right direction.

Progress not perfection is what we should be asking of ourselves - Julia Cameron - Perfectionism Quotes

7 Reasons why striving for progress is better than perfecting something

Here are 7 reasons why focusing on progress is better than trying to reach perfection:

1) If you strive for progress while trying to achieve a goal, it’ll keep you going.

Moving forward – no matter how small steps is better than stopping because things aren’t perfect.

2) If you make progress, it’ll be easier to reach your next goal.

You will learn more, enjoy the process, and grow as a person.

3) Focusing on progress can feel good.

Those small steps you take and accomplish can give you the needed boost of satisfaction and confidence to keep going and overcoming obstacles.

4) When you strive for progress, not perfection, you’ll learn how to accept flaws and tolerate imperfection in the process.

You might not achieve your goal or meet your standards right away, but as you continue to work toward your goals, you’ll learn how to accept imperfections in yourself and others.

5) Making progress helps you celebrate the small wins.

It’s easy to feel frustrated when something doesn’t go as planned, but a great way to fight against disappointment is by celebrating all of the progress you made – no matter how “small” it might seem.

6) Focusing on your progress helps improve your ability to tolerate the discomfort and frustration of trying something new, challenging, and complex.

And when you’re more comfortable with doing hard-o-do things, then you’ll be able to achieve the success that goes along with it!

7) Striving for progress always wins in the long run.

If you give up before your goals happen, then you’ll never know what could have been. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated by all of the things that haven’t happened yet, “trust” that progress is happening and celebrate it!

The goal is progress not perfection - Kathy Freston - Perfectionism Quotes


And hey! Here are some inspiring quotes about progress, not perfection, that you might like. Write one of them to your journal or pin one of the images in this post so you’ll remember that good enough is sometimes just perfect!

9 quotes about progress, not perfection

“Focus on progress, not perfection.”

Bill Phillips

“The goal is progress, not perfection!”

Kathy Freston

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

Salvador Dali

“Personal growth is about progress, not perfection.”

Hal Elrod

Progress not perfection… you can’t be perfect everything… but you can gain progress on a daily basis.”

Court McGee

“Perfection is the enemy of progress.”

Winston Churchill

Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves”

Julia Cameron

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right”

Henry Ford

“Don’t strive for perfection, but purrfection. You know, like cats… Just do you and that’ll do.”

Cristina Morero

RELATED ARTICLE: Perfectionism quotes – 39 Inspirational quotes to help you overcome perfectionism

RELATED ARTICLE: Progress not perfection quotes – 17 uplifting quotes to embrace progress not perfection

Don't strive for perfection but purrfection - you know like cats - just do you and that'll do - Cristina Morero - Perfectionism Quotes

When you’re trying to achieve something amazing, it’s easy to compare your work or progress with someone else and get discouraged. But by focusing on what you want rather than what others have achieved, you’ll find that it is easier to make a change for the better without giving up entirely.

Because what is perfect anyway? Or perfection?

Error is part of the process, and no one is perfect. Errare humanum est – To err is human.

And wouldn’t you rather be human than a machine? Just asking… 😀

…Because this is something, I need to remind myself constantly when working on my own “perfection” issues.

READ NEXT: Are you a perfectionist? 9 Signs you might be

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Strive for progress not perfection - quotes about perfectionism

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