Procrastination by perfectionism

I, by nature, am a big procrastinator.  Later is an often used word in my vocabulary and sometimes later comes and other times…well, it doesn’t.  I am trying to be better at getting things done right when I think of it – things like balancing my checkbook, folding the thousands of socks waiting in the laundry basket, and taking out the trash.  There are some things that I still dread and so I don’t get around to in a timely manner (read: I let weeks days go by before I do them), like mopping my kitchen floor, changing the sheets on the kids bunk beds (if you have never had to do this, you know not the torture it brings), or calling the insurance guy to change the deductible on our policy.  A lot of the reason that I procrastinate is because I have prerequisites that must be in place before I can do anything, for instance the entire kitchen must be clean and floor swept immaculately before I can mop.  The kitchen is rarely ever completely clean and most of the time I do a super quick sweep, so the floor usually doesn’t get mopped until I just ABSOLUTELY CANNOT STAND IT ANYMORE!!!!  Then it takes me all of 15 minutes to mop and I wonder why I waited so long to do it in the first place.  Go figure.


So what does this have to do with weight loss?  Well, for a long time I wouldn’t start a diet or workout plan unless all the pieces were in place. Here are some examples and tell me if any of these sound familiar:


·         I can’t start my new diet until I order the book from the internet.  It takes a week for the book to get here, but I have to read the book all the way through first, then I have to go to the grocery store and get all the necessary supplies, and only then can I start my new diet – so I’ll start in about 2 weeks.  (Heaven forbid I drive 30 minutes to the nearest bookstore and have my hands on a copy of the book in say, 30 minutes thus allowing me to go the store on the way home and start the diet tomorrow.)

·         I really wish I could start walking but a membership to the gym is too expensive and it’s too cold/hot/foggy/rainy/windy/warm/cool/outside to walk outside.  So I’m going to ask my husband to buy me a treadmill for Birthday/Mothers Day/Christmas – whichever comes last, and THEN I’ll start a walking program.

·         I’ve run out of diet food, and payday is still 5 days away, so when I get paid I’ll go to the grocery store and raid the produce section, but for now I guess I’ll just have to eat these Ding Dongs – oh that celery in the fridge? I can’t eat that because I’m all out of Laughing Cow Cheese wedges and I just can’t stand to eat celery by itself.  Peanut Butter? Don’t be silly – it’s full of fat and sugar!! (Hey, I never said my reasons for procrastination were logical!!) 

·         Well, now that I have my treadmill, I really don’t want to start exercising until I get some new shoes.  My old ones are so worn out that I don’t want to risk an injury walking in them, so I’m going to sit my fat-ass on the couch and wait for payday so I can go shopping next weekend and buy some new shoes, and then I can start walking on a regular basis. 

·         I just don’t have time right now to eat right and exercise because I’m so busy with this current work project/holiday/house project/raising kids thing going on, but when I’m done with that, I will totally start.  



Geez, looking at that list and all my crazy excuses, no wonder it took me 12 years to finally get serious and lose weight! 


My point in all this is, things are never going to be perfect.  There will never be a perfect time, there is always going to be some busy-ness that needs to be attended to, and there is always some holiday waiting in the wings. Find a way to make it happen, find a way to work with what you have instead of making excuses as to why you can’t.  There is always a way.  Let me repeat that, THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY.  You just have to be creative and find it. This is as much a reminder to myself as advice to you all.


So in addition to those I listed above, what are some excuses that you have used and how did you overcome perceived obstacles?  I’d love to hear! 



6 thoughts on “Procrastination by perfectionism

  1. I hear ya. I am a major procrastinator too. Hand in hand with perfectionism.

    And I get overwhelmed by big projects because there is so much to be done, and I’m not a natural at breaking things down into small tasks–oops, that’s an excuse, isn’t it?

    Good post, Jill. Hope your day is a good one!

  2. I had that happen to me just today! I thought to myself
    Me- “I could go to the gym after school”
    Counterme- “yeah, but you don’t have your cell phone so you can’t call your husband”
    Me- “okay, but he still wouldn’t mind”
    counterme- “aha! you didn’t bring your socks”
    Me – “crap.”

    I think I will learn to defeat myself by having socks in the car! As well as spare clothes.

    This is a wonderful post; it spells my life out with me! Thanks!

  3. I nearly fell out of my chair when I read the “face plant into cake” comment. I believe that one my issues is my lack of self-confidence. Your reply made me realize that even more. I know it’s okay to get stuff of my chest, but I shouldn’t dwell on the negative as much as I do!

  4. Oh, you said it, sister. What a great post and great insight. I think that’s why I’m finally making progress today. I don’t need the perfect plan, perfect supplies, perfect life, perfect timing. It doesn’t have to be the beginning of the day, week, month, or year.

    Oh, and if the kids are old enough for bunk beds, aren’t they old enough to be changing them? Or at least helping? It builds character! 😀

  5. Good post Jill. Procrastination is not a problem I have. No, that is not why I have waited until 9:00 at night to reply to your post. It wasn’t procrastination that made me wait 6 months to buy a new mop after the dogs ate half of the old one. Procrastination has nothing to do with me not making a hair appointment and my hair being 3 inches longer than I really like. And it is not procrastination that has a drip system only halfway in place so that I am still spending an hour hand watering the plants.

    Here is how I have solved some of the procrastination problems you still have:

    1. I don’t balance my checkbook anymore. Really.

    2. I decided not to have children, because the horrors of changing the sheets on bunkbeds was more than I could bear. Really.

    Hardeharharhar, Jill. I just love replying to your posts. So, really, because you wrote this, I restarted the 100 Pushup Challenge today. I printed out week 4, then thought, oh no, I’d better wait til Monday to start, otherwise I’ll get confused. But I started it today, just because of you! And I am very happy about that.

    Happy Friday, Jill. Your work week is ending, and mine is just starting…

  6. Alexia – they do help – a little bit. The have to help because I can’t get on the top bunk – there is just not very much room up there, so my 7 year old gets up there and helps as much as she can. The bottom bunk is occupied by my 3 year old and…well she’s just not that much help!! =)

    Debby – #2 made me lol – really. =)

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