• Heidi O

I Celebrate Progress Over Perfection (a FREE peek into my upcoming Affirmation course!)

Updated: Jun 30

Celebrating progress can be challenging. Perfectionism is a struggle for many of us, me very much included. Unfortunately, my shame and guilt regularly smother the flames of success I work to cultivate. I even had a therapist tell me once that my perfectionistic tendencies wouldn't allow me to become dependent on alcohol. HA!


When I was drinking, I tried hard to portray myself as a perfect mom, wife, daughter, friend, and woman who managed many folks at her military job. I needed to control other pieces and parts of my life since I was admitting, slowly and reluctantly, that my drinking was out of control.

When I stopped drinking, I tried to perfect that, too. I needed to do it just like the others I followed, podcasts, and books told me. I treated it like any other part of my life that I needed to do just right. My goal was total abstinence, and any setback on that path felt like a complete failure.


It took connecting with others on this journey to realize all of my work, regardless of what it looked like, counted as progress. All of the times I reduced my drinking was progress. When I thought I was about a drink and didn't do it, that was progress. All of it was progress. I continually learned that perfection isn't the goal, that celebrating any attempt was my new objective.


Progress can look like so many things. During a very trying time in my second year of sobriety, I brought a bottle to my lips and didn't drink. Although I didn't drink, I felt at that moment that I was a failure. The memory of it flashed red-hot all over me for weeks until I allowed myself to sit and dig deep at the reasoning behind my actions that day. I realized that I was hurting and scared, and at that moment, that bottle felt like the only relief. I'd been in this exact place too many times to think. Only this time, I hadn't taken that drink. I'd wanted to, but I stopped myself. I saw it as progress.


Today, I celebrate all of my progress, no matter how small or mighty. I celebrate a hot shower, a day with a few glasses of water, an attempt at meditation, and a day (okay, maybe an hour) without yelling at my kids. Every progression is a gift.


There is a quote in the book The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown, that has become a daily reminder for me: "Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn't change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging."


With all of my heart, I hope you remember this too!


Resources on Celebrating Progress + Perfectionism

  1. Listen to Beautiful Chorus Inner Peace

  2. Write out at least ten things that you are proud of yourself for this week. Tip: try doing this in the morning before your ego wakes up!

  3. Check out Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

  4. Here is a short guide with action steps on putting progress, not perfection, in play and how perfection may be hurting your productivity.

  5. What is one thing you can try this week to let perfection fall away and perform without judgment? (write, paint, dance, garden, sing)

  6. Celebrate your progress! I'd love to hear what you did to celebrate all the things you are trying below in the comments.

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