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Perfectionism, Procrastination And Preparing A Plan For Your Life

How will you know that you’re ready to start? Once you’ve planned and perfected and plotted all your goals on a graph, like we’re so often encouraged to do. How will you know you’re ready?

It’s an important question, whatever change or dream or hope you might be facing. (And, life being what it is, it’s pretty rare not to be facing one of these sorts of things…)

So how will you know you’ve done enough preparing and perfecting of the plan – and when it’s time to just take the plunge?

Does the perfecting have a use-by date?

Or is it something you could get lost in the safety of and languish in forever if you wanted to?

Something comfortable, even?

Something that perhaps beguiles you with the promise of being able to predict and resolve almost any problem that may arise – before they appear, of course. (And in a universe of potentially infinite possibilities and permutations, is that even possible?)

Of course, some level of planning can be helpful. But how much? When does it pass that cusp of usefulness and become just another excuse not to start?

Churchill apparently saw it this way:

“Plans are useless, but planning is invaluable.”

So maybe perfecting your plan – as a static template – isn’t necessarily the answer. Maybe perfection is more fluid anyway…

As someone – rather wisely, I think – recently told me:

“Perfection is simply doing it.”

And perhaps there’s something vibrantly alive in that very momentum of “simply doing it” that unfolds your plan in ways that can’t even be seen or measured from a stationary point… Maybe even something as bold as the idea that you can:

“Leap, and the net will appear.”*

Or that you might:

“Throw your heart out in front of you, and run ahead to catch it.”#

What do you think?

Maybe you can plan to take the perfect step all you like. But the planning isn’t the stepping.

And maybe there’s actually some beauty in that limitation… And also in the idea that you only need to take one step at a time anyway.


Just one step.


At just one time…


Are you ready for that?



*Quote attributed to John Burroughs
#An Arabic saying


Text copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She was the former editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
Perfectionism, Procrastination And Preparing A Plan For Your Life

Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar

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APA Reference
Gawne-Kelnar, G. (2011). Perfectionism, Procrastination And Preparing A Plan For Your Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2019, from


Last updated: 6 Nov 2011
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