Focus on progress, not perfection

By Amy M. Charland

When you set out to accomplish a new goal, you might start off with gusto and determination. You may be highly motivated, ready to make a change and confident it will go perfectly! But as time goes by, reality sets in, and your goal starts to feel harder and harder to reach. You struggle as you try to recapture the energy and excitement that started you on this path. When you can’t, you resign yourself to the idea that the battle has been lost. The glory you wanted to achieve is but a glimmer — a faint reminder of what could have been. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. As a wellness coach, I hear different versions of it again and again. The good news is I know it doesn’t have to be this way. I know there is an easier path to take toward achieving your goals.

The first step is changing your mindset. When attempting to reach goals, many people take on a perfectionist attitude, thinking it will lead to success. However, the opposite is often true. Perfectionism can, in fact, get in the way of achieving your goals.

How perfectionism gets in your way

Here are some ways that I’ve seen perfectionism stop people from realizing their wellness goals:

Why focusing on progress is key

Focusing on progress, instead of perfection, can make it much easier and enjoyable to reach your goals. Here are some benefits of focusing on progress:

Next steps

The next time you find yourself trying to be perfect, beating yourself up for each misstep, try a different perspective. Shift your focus from perfection to progress and celebrate your successes.

Then, take some time to reflect on what happened when you changed your focus. Did you feel more joyful? Did it make it easier to move forward? Did it help your motivation? These are important questions to ask yourself because the information you gather can be used to reach your goals.


  1. Identify one or two actions you can take to solve a problem you have.
  2. Reframe a past failure and see it as progress.
  3. Set realistic goals.

Copied and acknowledgment from Nov. 30, 2016.