Episode 250: 3 Reasons To Ditch Perfectionism When Setting Goals For 2023

December 7, 2022

There is so much pressure we feel when it comes to setting goals for a new year, but what if you ditched perfectionism as you gear up for what’s to come in the new year? In today’s episode, I’m sharing three reasons that you should consider ditching perfectionism when setting goals for 2023.

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3 Reasons To Ditch Perfectionism When Setting Goals For 2023

If you’ve felt that pressure or anxiety when you think about all that you’re supposed to accomplish in 2023, I want you to step back and end your year in a way that serves you. There is nothing magical about January 1st—you can change your life and set goals whenever you want to.

Perfectionism is an unrealistic measure of success that is impossible to achieve.

Perfectionism is not actually your friend when you’re setting your goals for the new year. It’s crippling and limiting—especially when you’re listening to other’s and not doing what’s best for you. Let’s explore three reasons to ditch perfectionism.

1. Perfectionism costs you.

In your business, if you’re so focused on one thing, like launching your website and perfection creeps in—you will be editing and re-editing that thing for forever. Believe it or not, the perfect website does not exist. The design and web industry change so often that what is in style and popular one year, won’t be the next. Trying to design a perfect website is like chasing a moving target.

By chasing perfection, you are delaying the success you could have by offering your services, earning revenue, and building your business. Perfectionism is costing you more than you may realize when you let it take over, it’s up to you to decide if that is worth it for you to lose. Take a look at how perfection is holding you back—what is that costing you?

2. Perfectionism is a Self-Delaying Tactic

Have you considered how perfectionism is delaying you? Similarly to how perfectionism is costing you, it’s also a self-delaying tactic you’ll want to avoid as a business owner. With every project you work on in your business, there are multiple layers of creation and decision making, which leaves room for perfectionism to creep in. That perfectionism can actually hold you hostage from ever making moves in your business, creating an excuse not to move forward, while also becoming a self-delaying tactic.

3. Perfectionism is Not What it’s Cracked Up to Be

When we look at adjusting things in our business, perfection tells us that if we can get everything right in our offers, people will buy. If you’ve bought into that idea and are waiting to create the perfect thing—you’re not creating opportunities that inspire connection, conversations, or revenue around that product to get the feedback you need to make it what your audience needs.

Look for a level of excellence, not perfection.

We live in an online business space that preaches the message of curated authenticity, which influences our concept of perfect. I want to empower you to identify goals in a way that feels free and possible for you.

Stop delaying the impact that you can have in order to do it perfectly.


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Hi, friend, and welcome to the Brand Strategy Podcast, a show created to equip you with the inspiration, encouragement, and clarity unique to build a brand of your dreams. I’m your host, Bonnie bti, brand designer, strategist, and founder of the Illumina Tree, from sustainable strategy to heartfelt encouragement. Each episode is designed to equip you with the tools you need to chase after your dreams, because you deserve a brand that empowers you to do what you love, connects with your dream clients, and offers a deep sense of fulfillment along the way. So, grab cup of coffee and join me on this journey, won’t you?

Hey, friends. Welcome back to the Brand Strategy Podcast, where today we are talking about three reasons to ditch perfectionism when setting your goals for the new year. So the new year, 2023, which is just like wild to think about, is literally right around the corner. And with that, there is so much pressure on the online business base to set big, beautiful, bright goals for the new year. There’s so much pressure to think about the impact that you wanna have in your business through your business in the new year. There’s just, gosh, like there’s just so much. There’s, you know, like all this pressure for us to like make 2023 the best year yet and your most profitable year yet. And to go through this like elaborate, like multi-step goal setting process or to use fancy planners and the workbooks and things to, to do it all.

And like, you know, honestly, there’s like no shame. And in any of those processes, uh, for so many years, I, I like used the workbooks. I, you know, focused on how I could make each year better or like more, more profitable, more efficient, more whatever than the last. But something that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older and as I’ve been in the online business space longer and longer is that, um, this time of the year like this, this kind of, you know, sweet slow time in December where there’s the possibility to still create impact through the work that you do with the last couple of weeks of the year and gear up for what’s to come all the goodness that awaits you in the new year. Like, there’s a lot of possibility, there’s a lot that we can explore. Um, but it, it doesn’t need to be done in any certain way.

It doesn’t need to be like, you know, done in this really elaborate multiple step goal setting process. You don’t need to go out and like buy the planners unless the planners and the workbooks and the worksheets really do serve you well. I think that, like, what I really just wanna share with you before we dive into today’s episode is that, you know, there is an entire industry that specifically benefits from this time of year when we are looking towards starting a new year and all of the promise and potential that that offers. And so with that, a lot of the language around marketing can be really like, like anxiety inducing for some of us. It can make us feel a whole lot of pressure. It can make us feel like we need to do things a certain way, and if we don’t, then we’re behind or that we’re doing it wrong or whatever.

And yeah, if you can like, relate to any of that, then just like take this as your like little verbal permission slip to like, just do you just honestly end your year and the way that serves you best start your new year and the way that serves you best. We’ve seen it, you know, all of our social media, but it bears repeating. There’s like nothing magical about January 1st. You don’t need to wait until January 1st to change your life and you can change your life on January 20th. You know, like you can change it on June 21st. You can change it literally whenever you want to. And so don’t feel this pressure to get caught up in this narrative that you need to have all of your goals, your personal goals, and your professional goals and how you’re gonna make them happen mapped out like before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.

Like for a lot of us, that’s simply not realistic because we have kids, we have partners, we have maybe aging family members that we’re responsible for, we have friends, we have lives, we have, you know, all these things. And so when we think about setting your goals for 2023, there’s just, yeah, there’s just a lot that can come up for us. And so I wanna just, you know, take this moment to encourage you to pursue this season in a way that works for you if that’s, uh, you know, this like really intentional beautiful process where you like carve out an entire afternoon for yourself and you bust out your, your paper planner and your highlighters and your post-it notes and all the things, and you’re like mapping out all the offers that you’re gonna launch and, and, you know, put out into the world in the new year.

Like, do that. But if you’re like, feeling this call to do it maybe a little bit more like low-key this year, or a little bit more gently, or a way that’s a little less, you know, pressure fueled, then do that just, yeah, just focus on doing it in a way that works for you. And that actually kinda brings us to like what we’re talking about today, right? Like reasons that perfectionism is not actually your friend when you’re setting your goals for the new year. And this is coming to you from the perspective of a recovering perfectionist, someone who honestly has been crippled by years and years and years of my life, life spent pursuing perfection when perfection was never attainable. And perfectionism can still pop up in so many sneaky ways. And when I look at, you know, my incredible branding clients when they’re kind of setting targets and they’re creating goals for a new quarter or a new year, and even when I like have this conversation with some of my students inside the brand strategy school, I see perfection show up in this way of like, well, this is what I want to do, but I know it’s not how I should do it.

Right? And that should is holding us to this, this like kind of hidden secret sort of unknown standard that we believe somewhere out there there’s some higher power or some, you know, like group of people who who you know is doing it right? And if we veer off that path, then we’re doing it wrong. And if we do it wrong, well then, like, how, how can we, like, how dare we, like how can we ever, you know, pretend to make it? And so like when we think about perfectionism showing up in our lives, this is, this is kind of like a, just a, a look at how this is something that might not be serving you in the way that you thought. Like maybe you’re the kind of person where perfectionism has been this kind of like this way for you to exert control about how you’re showing up or what you’re creating and how you’re putting it out into the world.

Maybe perfectionism was this coping mechanism that you used to keep you so on your a game. So I ran on all cylinders so high performing that, you know, nobody could say a bad thing about you. Nobody could think any less of you, right? People could only ever see you as as amazing as credible as, you know, talented, right? Perfectionism can show up for us in a lot of different ways, but I would actually challenge what perfectionism is and why it’s something that none of us really need to be pursuing. And that kind of starts from this, this reckoning that I think some of us will need to have at one point or another, that perfectionism is not actually something that is here to help you. It is not some beautiful shiny standard of, of goodness or like a high level of achievement or anything like that that is meant to encourage you or propel you to aim higher, to do better, to, you know, show up at higher levels.

Perfectionism is actually an unrealistic standard of success that is by definition, impossible to achieve. And the way that we as humans keep teaching other people to pursue perfection, the way that we as humans keep ourselves in this like, endless loop of chasing after perfection, when I think on some level we all know that it’s never achievable, is damaging for us because it is constantly setting us up for failure. So when you are sitting down and you’re looking at setting your goals for a new year or a new quarter, or even like a new week, if you are allowing perfectionism to, to kind of color the language that you’re using, if you are allowing perfectionism to influence the decisions you’re making, then my question, and this is genuinely a question, are you actually unintentionally setting yourself up to fail in some way because the target that you’re setting isn’t realistic in the first place.

So when we look at perfectionism, the three reasons why I’m an advocate of like, just not letting it be a part of the conversation when you’re going through any kind of like year end review or looking towards creating your vision for the next, the next season is, you know, really it’s, it’s simple perfectionism. It looks pretty, it looks shiny, it looks like this vision that’s worth pursuing, but actually it’s always costing you something. When we look at perfection, it is actually not this like aspirational motivational, like, like way of being or level of achievement. It’s actually a really shiny self delaying tactic. And lastly, it’s literally not what it promises you, it is not what it’s cracked up to be. So let me kind of break down those thoughts a little bit more. When we are looking at perfection, when you are consistently holding yourself to that standard, which like I said earlier, a lot of us know is not achievable, is not realistic.

When you’re holding yourself to that, that high impossible level, you are costing yourself something. You are, let’s say, in your business, if you are, um, focused on, you know, like launching your new website so that you can connect with your ideal clients, you can generate more money, you can finally have an online home for your brand that you’re so proud to share with your potential clients. Like if you’re going in that direction, then if perfection, if the perfect website is your aim, you are gonna be editing that thing, or your designer is gonna be editing that thing until you both no longer exist on this earth because the perfect website. Ooh, and as a designer, I know that this might be a hot take. So fellow designers, please don’t come for me over this, but the perfect website does not exist, right? Because design as a whole is an industry that is constantly growing, constantly evolving websites as we know them, user behavior as we know it, constantly evolving and changing.

So what’s the perfect website in 2015 is not what the perfect website is in 2023, right? The perfect website in 2023 is not gonna be the perfect website in 2026. Do you see what I’m getting at here? So when we focus on creating, you know, oh, I can’t launch the website until it’s perfect. I can’t launch until the, the images are perfect, until the layout is perfect, until the copy is perfect, well, you’re chasing perfection that’s attached to a moving target. So that’s problematic. And then also by chasing perfection, you are delaying the success that you can have by helping people with your service or your product. If you just launched your imperfect website, how much faster could you get your message out there? How much quicker could you start booking sales calls? How much faster could you start seeing sales come through? Right? But what we have to do is we have to trade perfection for imperfect action.

We have to be willing to let perfection take the back burner to stop getting so fixated on something that doesn’t actually exist. And instead choose to, to, you know, like take the messy action. When I say that perfection is costing you something, I promise you that even though perfection seems like this, like really beautiful and shiny and attractive thing to experience, there is always some trade off. And what is that trade off? And is that a trade off? That’s actually something you’re willing to lose, right? As a recovering perfectionist and as a designer, and I think that for so many of my fellow designers, like y’all can relate to this, we are so hard on ourselves when it comes to our design work. Like we’re so, so, so critical of what we’re creating. And I’ve actually had to get to this point where like, I publish design that I would argue isn’t actually that great, not for my clients.

I need to clarify not for my clients. I’m, I’m still dedicated to a level of excellence and I say excellence, not perfection with my design clients because they are hiring me for my expertise and they’re hiring me for that high level, high value result. But in my own business, I cannot hem and haw and like, like, you know, waste my time sitting at my computer computer like pushing a couple pixels around on my screen to try and create the perfect Pinterest graphic or to create the perfect, you know, like, like Instagram, uh, real cover or whatever I need for it to just be good enough. I need for it to be good enough. Because if it’s good enough, I can put it out into the world and I can share that content with people who need to see it. I can share that message with people who need to hear it.

I can show up and I can use my good enough design to help people, and in some cases, to help myself by making money. And so when I look at that trade off, if I were pursuing perfect social media graphics every single time, I would never post anything. I literally, there would be no, if you went on Pinterest, there would be no content , there would be nothing on my blog. And it’s the same thing with like my blog content, right? Like the words, if I were waiting until they were perfect, they wouldn’t be there. And so what is perfection costing you? How is perfection holding you back? Which then kind of leads me to my next point, perfection. You know, we like think of it as this like beautiful desirable, like, like state of being or you know, like, like thing that we’ve created, but actually it’s this shiny self delaying tactic.

So like I was just saying, if I always was waiting to have my, my social media graphics perfect and my blog content perfect, even my podcast content, like if I, if I were waiting to record the perfect podcast episode, there would be absolutely like no episodes on this feed. Like you, you would not have anything to listen to because I would still be overthinking it here in my office by myself. And so with that being said, perfection is actually kind of like low key holding you hostage, but like it’s super sneaky. It doesn’t like actually look like it’s holding you. Like you don’t, you don’t see it right? At first it’s like, oh no, I’m just, I’m putting the finishing touches on this so I can like launch, you know, I can launch that, that like blog post and publish it and it’s like the, the best, most valuable, most high quality content.

Oh, no, you know, like I still, I still need to, you know, go through and like, um, add a little bit more to my outline and you know, oh, I need to like go through and check it for grammar and okay, so like I’ve written the blog post, but now I wanna like, create a whole bunch of different graphics so that people have a lot of different options to like, you know, cross pin on Pinterest. If this is sounding familiar, it’s, it’s because like, this is you and this was me too. And so when we look at that, right, those shiny self delaying tactics, they look beautiful. But if we look just a little bit closer, it’s actually holding you hostage. It’s keeping you from taking action because you are constantly in this state of pursuing a level of, of being a level of doing that just isn’t realistic.

And even if it were realistic, is it a good use of your time? Is it a good use of your energy? I’m, I’m not convinced on that one. I, yeah, I don’t, I don’t think it is. And then the third and kind of final point that I wanna make on this is like, it’s, it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s not actually something that that serves you. So when we are looking at taking action, when we are looking at, you know, setting our goals and maybe launching a new offer or revamping an existing offer so that we can serve more people through it, or so we can raise our prices, perfection tells us that if we can just get it right, if we can just make it the best it can ever possibly be, then people will want it, then it will be irresistible.

People won’t be able to pass it up. But if you are, are buying into that and you’re waiting to create the perfect thing, or you’re, you know, spending another couple weeks perfecting your offer, you know, are you creating opportunities to inspire connection, to inspire opportunities for you to actually serve people through that offer that you’re creating? Are you creating the opportunities for you to generate the revenue that you want and that you deserve through that offer? Or are you so focused on perfecting that offer that you haven’t even started thinking about having conversations about it yet with people? You haven’t even started really reaching out to your potential clients or our potential customers to tell them, Hey, I am creating this thing. Are you interested? So yeah, it looks beautiful. It looks like something that is, is, you know, super desirable. But actually, if we look at what the actions are that are gonna move the needle forward in your business, it’s messy action. It’s imperfect action. It’s not beautiful polished, like, you know, inaccessible kind of action. It’s, it’s, you know, making the mistakes. It’s, it’s learning from those mistakes. It’s taking a couple steps in this direction thinking that that’s what you wanted. And then as you’ve taken those steps, realizing, whoa, I wanna course correct because this was not what it promised it would be. And then you learn from that, and then you move in a direction that feels more aligned for you.

I realize that I am talking a lot about, you know, like how perfection is something that is, is not actually serving us. And that’s because we live in a really a society, but honestly we exist in an online business space that preaches this message of like curated authenticity. And so we have kind of this skewed view of what we think reality is, and that can influence what we think is doable and what we think is realistic and what we think is perfect. So when I’ve been, you know, kind of talking about like how perfectionism is, is really not, not, not it for any of us and how that fits into setting goals, it’s coming from a place of like, I want to encourage you and I want to empower you to identify goals for the new year or for a new quarter, or for whatever, you know, stretch of time works for you.

I, I want you to feel the freedom to do that in a way that feels free, that feels full of possibility, that feels doable. And I’m not saying I need to be very clear here. I’m not saying that you should like have all these like super low , like low hanging goals, like no, stretch yourself, challenge yourself. Go for the thing that feels like that beautiful blend of scary and excited, so you can do it scared, sided, . Do it in a way that, you know, feels like, oh, just a stretch. But don’t, don’t do it based on someone else’s definition of success. Don’t do it based on, you know, a level of perfection that you hold for yourself that you’ve never been able to achieve. And that will only keep you feeling depleted and feeling like you’re not measuring up. Don’t let perfectionism be this voice that like is whispering in your ear of like, well, this is how you, you know, could do it because of something that you heard on a podcast or something that you read on a blog or something that you saw on someone’s like TikTok or Instagram.

Like, and I understand I need to take a mo a minute to like acknowledge, I appreciate the pure irony that is me sharing this with you right now on a podcast. But I think if you’ve been a long time listener, I think we kind of have the relationship where you know that I trust you to make decisions that are good for you. I trust you to take an information that serves you and that resonates with you and to leave whatever does not serve you and what does not resonate with you. And so today I’m getting a little preachy about perfectionism because I’m so sick and tired of watching people delay the impact they can have because they’re waiting to do it perfectly. I am so fed up with people delaying the transformations they can create for their clients through the work that they do, because they’re waiting to record the perfect Instagram reel or TikTok video.

I am like, honestly y’all, I am so done with it because I see all the possibility that’s out there. I see so much possibility for what your business can create, what you can bring to life, the growth, the transformation, the business and life changing, like things that you can bring into fruition through the work that you are capable of doing. But you cannot bring those transformations to life. You cannot experience all of that goodness that awaits you. You cannot see your bank account grow in response to the impact that you’re having if you are waiting for it to be perfect, if you’re waiting for your website to look perfect, your brand to be perfect for your offer to be perfect. And honestly, at the time of recording this is, this is kind of landing for me too in a way where I am, I am doing something different in the sense of I’m like super fed up with the like kind of traditional like live launch method or even the evergreen launching method that we see in the online business space where, you know, like we see people do a lot of, like, they go live a lot, they do a lot of videos, they maybe will host a webinar or training.

There’s gonna be this like sophisticated email, um, you know, email sequence that’s created. There’s gonna be a really big sales page, right? Like, we see these things and I’m just in this space where like I am wanting to do it differently. I want, I want launching a new offer. I want it to be really cozy and full of ease, and I want it to be low key, and I want it to be as easy as me inviting people and saying, Hey, I’m creating this, this offer and I think you’d be a good fit for it. Do you wanna talk about it? Would this help you? And so, right, there’s a lot of stories that perfectionism is telling me right now. There’s a lot that’s coming up for me right now where perfectionism is telling me, but Bonnie, that’s not how you launch something Bonnie, that’s too simple.

It’s, it’s so simple that like, how could it work, right? I’m telling myself, you know, like that, how are people gonna take you seriously if you don’t have like the complicated, you know, chemo sequence is set up and this big like launch plan and you’re like not going live to talk about it on Instagram every other day, but like, you know what, if I waited to do everything perfectly, I would never do it. And so when I look at how I’m setting goals for the new year and for the new quarter, I’m not letting perfection have a seat at my table. I am committed to showing up and doing it in a way that feels genuine to who I am that honors my values, that allows me to take action that, yeah, might be like not super sophisticated, might be kind of messy, messy, but you know what?

I’m gonna learn so much from doing it messy. And I think that there’s so much connection that can happen when we choose to do something messily like perfection. I don’t know about you, but when I see people like posting perfect content on social media, it doesn’t grab my attention the way that someone’s like super messy, you know, kind of behind the scenes content does. Because I can relate to the messy, I can relate to the chaos that’s happening. Like behind the scenes I like my life is, you know, like is me like constantly muting my microphone when I’m recording for the podcast because like one of my like go dogs is, you know, barking at the UPS person. Like that is my life. And I don’t wanna pretend that it’s something that it’s not. And when I share those experiences or when I’m like having a conversation, you know, here on the podcast with a guest and my, you know, Quinn, my youngest golden, she goes bonkers in the background like my guest and I can laugh about it and it’s like this like, you know, funny thing that we can bond over versus, um, you know, if everything is like super polished and like nothing goes wrong, right?

Like, yes, we appreciate that, we’re grateful for those, for those like chaos free recordings, but we don’t have that opportunity to connect over something. And like, I’m sure that you can relate, like when you think about the relationships that you have with your biz besties or with your industry friends, or even with your clients, what do you connect more over? Do you connect with each other more over your shared imperfect human experiences? Or do you connect with each other more over some unrealistic standard of perfection? And, you know, genuine question. So the next time you’re feeling that pressure to let perfection, you know, sit on your shoulder and like whisper in your ear about all the things you should do and how you should do it, and how you should not take that action until it’s perfect, ask yourself, if I do this imperfectly, what kind of impact can I have?

How many people can I help? How would it feel? How would it feel to get this out into the world and start using this as a tool to bring more good into the world? Right? Something to consider. Friend, thanks so much for tuning in to today’s honestly, somewhat preachy episode about perfectionism. If you can’t tell, this is something that I am like just willing to kind of call it out for what it is because I don’t want to see perfection cost you one more thing. I want for you to move through life and through business feeling the full, wild, uninhibited freedom to be all of who you are to show up exactly how you want to, and perfection is not part, part of that equation. So when you’re looking at how you’re pursuing life and business and goals in 2023, you know, if anything, do it in the way that feels good for you.

Do it in a way that feels fun, that peaks your curiosity, that stretches you enough for it to be something that’s a little bit scary, but mostly exciting. Do it in a way that creates the opportunity for this to be a life giving season for you. You know, I, I’m a big believer in all of the potential that New Seasons can hold for us, but I want us to be focused more on experiencing those new seasons in business and in life, versus trying to engineer that season to live up to some unrealistic standard of perfection and then missing out on all the imperfect goodness that that season could hold for you. So whatever you have coming up in 2023, whatever you have coming up in q1, whatever you have coming up this holiday season, I hope that it feels expansive. I hope that it feels life giving.

I hope that it gets you so excited, and I hope that it just like gets you so fired up to go out there and use the work that you do, no matter what your industry is to serve your clients and your customers, and as a result, should generate the revenue and the income that you deserve. As always, my inbox is open, the dms are also open. You can always find me on Instagram if Bonnie Joy Marie, if something resonated or maybe there’s a conversation that is sparking for you based off of this and you wanna chat with me about it, feel free to send me a message. I’m just grateful for you being a part of this podcast community, and I’m incredibly grateful for you tuning in today. So thanks for being here. Thanks for being you as always. I’m cheering y’all on from Waco.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Friends, before you go, I would be so grateful to receive your feedback on the Brand Strategy podcast. If you enjoyed this episode or the podcast in general has helped you grow your brand, I’d really appreciate it if you left us a review in iTunes. Your positive reviews enable the brand strategy podcast to continue to grow and reach like-minded creatives just like you. Thank you for all your support and encouragement as together we pursue building brands with purpose and intention. Until next time, I’m cheer you on from Waco.

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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