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10 tips to strive for progress – not perfection

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How hard do you strive for perfection?

If you’re like most people, chances are that you’re overly critical of yourself – you’re striving for perfection.

But what if I told you that the key to success is progress instead of perfection?

The truth is that the words “perfect” and “progress” are often used interchangeably when it comes to goal setting.

But they really aren’t the same thing.

Here are 10 tips to make progress in your life instead of striving for perfection, so you can enjoy success now and feel great about your decisions later.

1) Set realistic expectations

Do you have a clear idea of what you’re capable of? Or are you setting goals that are way too high?

Maybe your expectations transcend your capabilities. Or maybe you’re setting goals that are way too low. Either way, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself.

Now you may wonder what exactly I mean here.

To give an example, if you want to go skydiving, but you don’t have the guts or money to do it, then don’t set a goal of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Set your sights on doing a tandem jump instead. You’ll still get the thrill of flying without putting your life on the line!

The fact of the matter is that many people have unrealistic expectations of themselves. They’re striving for perfection when what they really need to do is set reasonable goals.

If you want to be a great musician, setting a goal of becoming the best musician in the world will not work.

Instead, set reasonable goals that you can achieve with effort and practice. In other words, don’t aim for perfection but strive for progress.

Why are realistic expectations so important?

Well, if you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re capable of, then you’ll never be able to achieve your goal.

If you set an unrealistic goal, then you’ll feel disappointed and frustrated when it doesn’t work out in your favor. And if it does work out in your favor, then you’ll feel like a failure because it wasn’t what you had hoped for.

And you know what?

That way, your emotions will get the best of you, and instead of feeling good about your achievement, it will make you feel bad.

On the other hand, if you set a realistic goal, but it doesn’t come true exactly as planned – which happens – then this is also okay because the point is to make progress, not perfection, right?

By making progress instead of striving for perfection, we can enjoy success now and feel great about our decisions later. This is what I call “progress over perfection.”

2) Slowly leave your comfort zone

If you want to become more successful and have more fulfilling experiences in life, then it’s important that you start taking action in your life.

And for many people, the first step is to get out of their comfort zone.

OK, I know what you’re thinking. This sounds like a daunting task to you, but you know what? It’s not as scary as it seems. All it takes is a little bit of courage and confidence.

But if you’re a person striving for perfection, chances are that you find it hard to take action in your life. You’re afraid of failure and rejection, and you’re afraid of making mistakes.

In other words, you’re afraid to leave your comfort zone.

But you know what?

In this case, you’ll be better off staying in your comfort zone because, as long as you stay there, you can’t make progress.

Why am I saying this?

Because progress is impossible if you don’t take action. And by taking action, I don’t mean doing something easy for you to do. On the contrary, I mean doing something difficult for you to do but still important for the growth of your life!

For example:

If you want to become a better musician, then it’s not enough that you practice every day and read music books diligently. You need to take action by learning new songs and studying music theory.

This will help put more effort into practicing so that when it comes time to play in front of people, it will be easier for you!

Doing something difficult is a great way to make progress.

And if you’re afraid to take the first step, then you might as well not even attempt to take action.

So, don’t settle for what’s easy – keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. This will make you a more fulfilled person, and it will help you achieve your goals.

3) Don’t use visualization to achieve success

Let’s be honest.

How many times have you tried to use visualization to imagine your future success?

You know the drill:

You close your eyes, see yourself achieving your goal, feel happy and excited about it, and then… nothing happens. You’re still where you started.

And this is what I mean when I say that “visualization doesn’t work.

I know. Visualization, mediation, self-help techniques… You can find these trendy techniques literally everywhere but the truth is that when it comes to self-improvement, they just don’t work.

But is there anything else you can do instead of using visualization?

Yes, there is – you need to focus on finding your purpose in life!

You need to connect with your past and present and empower yourself to develop your own formula to achieve success.

I learned a new way to discover my purpose after watching Ideapod co-founder Justin Brown’s video on the hidden trap of improving yourself. He explains that most people misunderstand how to find their purpose, using visualization and other self-help techniques.

In this free video, Justin Brown teaches us that there’s a new way to do it, which he learned from spending time with a shaman in Brazil.

After watching the video, I discovered my purpose in life, and it dissolved my feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction. This helped me to strive for progress and stop thinking about perfection.

Watch the free video here.

4) Celebrate your achievements

And here’s another great way to strive for progress instead of perfection.

It’s important that you celebrate every achievement in your life. And what are the things that you achieve in life? Well, they’re all the things that you accomplish with time and effort!

For example: If you want to become more successful, then it’s important that you celebrate the small accomplishments along the way too!

Why is this?

Well, because those smaller accomplishments will add up over time and help build your confidence and self-esteem. And when it comes time for you to celebrate an accomplishment, you’ll be able to enjoy it more without feeling bad about yourself.

That’s progress!  That’s a success! That’s progress over perfection!

But hang on a second.

How do you celebrate your achievements? This is another tricky topic for us.

Should you write a blog post about it? Snap a selfie with your trophy? Post to social media and let everyone know what happened?

Not at all.

Personally, I think the trick is to find something that motivates you and then do it with passion!

Be proud of yourself and don’t let anyone else put a stop to your motivation. If they do, then start working on something new!

By celebrating your small achievements and milestones, you’ll be able to see progress, and you’ll also be able to celebrate your achievements as you move forward.

Trust me. It’ll all be worth it.

5) Accept that bad days will come

Sometimes you may experience a bad day.

And why is that? Because sometimes, your life can get really stressful.

You may have problems with your finances, or you may be struggling to get a promotion at work.

And what do you do when you have a bad day? I mean, it’s tough to see the good in everything! Right? And so we start thinking about the bad and how bad it is.

We start thinking about all the things we wish were different and how much better it could be if only… But then we just end up feeling down and disappointed in ourselves.

But that’s not necessary. You see, when you’re experiencing a negative day (or even for some people, an everyday life), there are two things we can do…

  • We can try to find something good in every situation
  • We can accept that this is just part of life and there will be other days where

Why?

Because sometimes bad days just come – that’s just part of being human. And that’s perfectly okay.

If we can’t accept that sometimes life will get tough, then we’ll never be able to enjoy the good things that life has to offer. We’ll always be looking for the bad in everything and blaming others for our problems.

But how will accepting bad days help us strive for progress?

Well, I believe that the concept of “progress” is significantly related to “failure”. And accepting the fact that sometimes things won’t go the way we want them to, will help us accept failure.

We’ll be able to see failure as a stepping stone and not as a roadblock. Failure will become another step towards progress, and we’ll be able to move forward without getting stuck in a negative pattern.

The result?

You’ll start to strive for progress, and you’ll be able to enjoy the journey.

6) Ask for help when you need it

Are you sick and tired of handling all your problems on your own?

If so, then I’m going to tell you that you don’t have to take care of everything by yourself. In fact, there are people who are willing to help you.

I’m sure that there are people who would like to help you, and they would be more than happy to do so. And if you ask them for help, they’ll be happy to help you. If only you let them know!

You see, when we’re faced with a problem or need help, we tend to think about how we can solve it by ourselves.

But there are people out there who are willing and able to help us – if only we ask them. They’ll be more than happy to give us a hand in solving our problems and help us achieve our goals.

And what do you do when you’re in need of help? Yes, that’s right, it’s tough to ask for help. Right? And so we end up feeling ashamed and embarrassed about asking for help from other people.

Believe it or not, asking for help doesn’t mean you can’t strive for progress and achieve your goals.

7) Don’t compare yourself with other people

Can I be totally honest with you?

Comparing ourselves with others won’t help you progress or achieve your goals.

Even if you think that social comparison is a great way to understand how well you’ve progressed, actually you don’t need to do this at all.

Why?

Because comparing yourself with others will only make you feel bad about yourself and you’ll be unable to enjoy the good things that life has to offer.

Instead, it will only cause you to feel frustrated and disappointed.

And what’s the point of that?

You see, when we compare ourselves with others, we tend to think that we can’t measure up to them. We end up feeling inferior, insecure, and inadequate.

The result?

We’ll be unable to progress, achieve our goals, and live a happy life.

But what if you could stop comparing yourself to others and get free of society’s influences?

Whether you like it or not, the truth is that we’re conditioned by society, the media, our education system, and more.

As a result, we rarely realize how much potential of the progress we have within us.

The result?

Our reality becomes distanced from our consciousness.

I learned this (and much more) from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandé. In this excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can lift the mental chains and get back to the core of your being.

A word of caution – Rudá isn’t your typical shaman.

He doesn’t paint a pretty picture or sprouts toxic positivity like so many other gurus do.

Instead, he’s going to force you to look inwards and confront the demons within. It’s a powerful approach, but one that works.

So if you’re ready to take this first step and strive for progress without social comparison, there’s no better place to start than with Rudá’s unique technique.

Here’s a link to the free video again.

8) Make small steps towards your goals every day

Want to hear a secret?

The moment we start to feel that something is impossible, it becomes so.

When you feel like you can’t do something, your ego will tell you that you’re not good enough, or that there’s no way for you to succeed.

But what if I told you that all the things that seem impossible are actually within your reach?

When we think of our goals as being out of reach, we tend to get discouraged and give up on them quickly. This is a mistake!

The truth is that there’s no limit to the things we can do once we set our minds to them.

If we just try our best every day, then even the most difficult tasks become easy and simple.

At first, it might seem like a lot of work because it will be different than what you’re used to doing. But as long as you keep at it every single day, eventually, these small steps will add up and lead to big achievements.

So, rather than trying to make massive changes all at once, take baby steps towards your goal every day.

The smaller your steps are, the more likely you are to reach your goal within a reasonable amount of time. It makes it much easier to stay on track and avoid feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.

Remember: if you want to make a change, start by making small steps towards your goals every single day.

And don’t forget to take the time to reflect on the progress you’ve made. You’ll be surprised by how far you’ve come and how much better you feel about yourself as a result.

9) Accept your mistakes instead of faking perfection

It’s easy to become discouraged when we fail at something. We blame ourselves, beat ourselves up, and feel like we’re not good enough.

So many people believe that there’s only one way to do things and that if you mess up even once, then you’re a failure. They also believe that they need to be perfect in order to be successful.

But this isn’t true at all!

The truth is that we are all human beings with the same amount of potential and the same amount of flaws.

We will all make mistakes along the way, but this doesn’t mean we’re failures as people or as individuals. It just means that our road is filled with challenges and obstacles.

The best way to deal with failure is to learn from it instead of beating yourself up for it. You’ll learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible by seeing what went wrong and what could have been done better in the future.

This will help you to become a better person in the long run and as a result, your progress will be much more sustainable.

So, when you’re faced with failure, accept it instead of pretending like it didn’t happen. You’ll learn more from the experience and come out stronger on the other side.

10) Be open to new ideas and try new things – even if they’re scary

Do you have a fear of heights? Do you have a fear of snakes? Do you have a fear of spiders?

We all have fears, but it’s important to not let them hold us back. By being open to trying new things, we can learn more about ourselves and our fears.

For example, I used to be afraid of heights. I used to think that I wouldn’t be able to do something because I was afraid of falling off the edge.

But then one day, I climbed a tree on my family’s farm, and I had the most amazing experience! From that moment on, I was no longer afraid of heights!  I realized that it wasn’t about the height itself but about how close the ground was.

But it’s just a simple example.

My point here is that if you want to progress, you shouldn’t be afraid of trying new things.

You have to be open to new ideas and try new things, even if they’re scary. If you don’t, then you’ll never learn anything and it’ll prevent you from progressing.

So, don’t strive for perfection. Try new things, make mistakes, and learn from your failures. That way, you’ll progress without any effort.

In conclusion

To sum up, it’s crazy how much pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect.

From the clothes we wear to the way we raise our kids, there is no way to get it all right every time. But that doesn’t mean that we should give up trying. We can still strive for progress, not perfection.

Remember: striving for progress will always be better than chasing perfection.

And don’t forget to keep these 10 tips in mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a reminder that trying is enough!

Written by Nato Lagidze

Nato is a writer and a researcher with an academic background in psychology. She investigates self-compassion, emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and the ways people make decisions. Writing about recent trends in the movie industry is her other hobby, alongside music, art, culture, and social influences. She dreams to create an uplifting documentary one day, inspired by her experiences with strangers.

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