Do you like to get things clean, really clean or immaculate and it doesn’t matter how long it takes? Are you someone who can’t stand the thought of having wrinkles in their duvet and have to iron them out to ensure a smooth finish? We all have standards, some are simple, like putting the top back on the toothpaste, others can push us beyond what’s required.
We all have inner standards we set for ourselves. How can we ensure these standards are realistic and not ridiculous? Well here are five ways to check:
- Would you expect your best friend to adhere to these standards? If the answer is yes, then maybe it is an acceptable level you’ve set for yourself. But if not and you have wavered even the tiniest bit then it probably isn’t realistic. At this point have a think about it. What is an acceptable level for your friend? Whatever it is you are doing, what can be relaxed a little? If you have high standards of clean, that’s not a bad thing, however, if you are cleaning every day and it’s starting to take over your life, then think what you would expect a friend to do if they were to clean your house? The likelihood is you wouldn’t have them on their hands and knees with a toothbrush cleaning your floors.
- What is the worst case scenario that would happen if you didn’t achieve your expected standard? Unless you are on ‘The British Bake Off’ or ‘Masterchef’ then I doubt it will involve being kicked out the tent of this once in a lifetime opportunity. You might know the standard hasn’t been reached, but can anyone else? Unless the worst case scenario is death or similar i.e. you are a surgeon so one snip to the right would cause uncontrollable bleeding. Then try to brush off the need for perfectionism. If we use the cleaning example from above, then if you didn’t clean your floor to sparkly clean, what’s the worst case scenario? Your friends would come in and notice and silently judge you? Well, I imagine they’ve not noticed, as most people I know aren’t in your house to see how clean it is or isn’t. They are there to see you and take you and your lot as they find you.
- Good enough – what does this look like in your case? What is stopping you from achieving this? Sometimes it’s great to go above and beyond. But if it affects how you treat yourself, then try to pull back. You want to feel good about what you’re doing, even if you are cleaning your house, so setting incredibly high standards which if you don’t achieve you will berate yourself, really isn’t ideal. Ticking something off your to do list always makes you feel good. But if you are ticking it off thinking you can do better then hold the bus! Good enough isn’t about letting yourself down, it’s about doing something to the best you can without overthinking it. There is no need to push yourself if good enough will suffice. Why not test it out? Leave cleaning those skirting boards and see how it goes!
- Why does it matter? Think about what it truly means to you. We want to improve, we want to be great, but at what cost to your own wellbeing? Why does it matter if your floor isn’t sparkling clean or the dust is maybe a bit too settled on your TV Unit? Now, I’m not saying you should stop cleaning or just not care anymore. Experiment. Take it slowly. Pick one thing today where you feel you put yourself under pressure to do perfectly. Then take a step back and ask yourself ‘Why does it matter?’ In the grand scheme of things, your life, does this really matter?
- Try not to take this so seriously. Ok, so this might not apply if you have a life or death job or if you work in Health and Safety. But by relaxing your standards a little, and having a bit of a laugh and writing ‘clean me’ in the dusty shelf, what harm can it do! Laugh at yourself, check in with yourself and think ‘it can wait one more day’!
I know this will be difficult, it always is to start with. Letting go of unrealistic standards can be very challenging, particularly if you have had then all through your life. So be kind to yourself when trying to be ‘good enough’.
The next time you are doing something and you have set yourself a standard, take a moment to run through these five points. This will allow you to note if you are being too hard on yourself or if you’ve got it sussed.
Have a great week and look after you.
Love Emma xx