Simple Ways Start to Overcoming Perfectionism & Procrastination

[Are fear and procrastination keeping you stuck? Discover simple ways to start overcoming procrastination so you can thrive.]

Hi, Soulful Mama perfectionism can hold us back from being our authentic selves and truly enjoying mom life. When we are able to shift from this place of perfectionism, we also give our kids the beautiful gift of knowing that it’s okay for them to live authentically as well. And knowing that they are worthy just as they are. Today I am joined by Justine Cochrane, a Mama who as struggled with perfectionism and anxiety. She shares her journey as well as helpful and actionable tips on how you can manage anxiety and overcome perfectionism.

If you have ever felt anxious or like you set unrealistic and unattainable goals for yourself, you are going to want to listen in on this episode of the Soul Care Mom podcast.

Hi there Soulful Mama. Welcome to the Soul Care Mom Podcast. I’m Catherine Wilde of SoulCareMom.com.

I’m a mom of three amazing kids a Soul Care Mom Coach and a yoga and meditation teacher. I’ve helped hundreds of women, and I’m here to help you feel calm and find your unshakable confidence as a mom. If you are ready to stop living in survival mode and you’re ready to drop the mom guilt and overwhelm, this podcast is for you. Think of this as a lunch date with a girlfriend, grab a cup of tea and get cozy. It’s time to get honest and vulnerable and shift the traditional mindset around motherhood.

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[Disclaimer: we are not health professionals. This chat is solely based on research and personal experience. If you have any concerns please seek out the help of your trusted health professionals.]

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Catherine Wilde

Hi, Justine. I’m so excited to talk with you today. Thank you so much for joining me.

Justine Cochrane

Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Catherine Wilde

So I love the topic that we are going to dive into so today. But before we jump in, so all of your amazing tips on overcoming perfectionism, could you share just a bit about your personal journey of you struggle with perfectionism and managing anxiety?

Justine Cochrane

Absolutely. Yeah.

So I’m a mom of two. I have a two and a four year old. And I’ve really found my perfectionism started so pop up in those early years of motherhood. And I struggled with having really high expectations for myself and always wanting to get more done than it seems like I had time to do.

And that created a lot of anxiety for me. So it’s something I work with clients on. It’s something I’ve coached myself on, and I’m just so excited to be here today and talk all about perfectionism and procrastination and give you guys everything I have, so help you deal with it.

Catherine Wilde

Yes. I’m so excited. So for me perfectionism me as trying to be something that I’m not. It means and keeping myself from living in a state of ease and flow, trying to attain this sort of unattainable goal.

And so it ends up like you and it causes me a lot of anxiety. So live in that sort of state as well, because it feels like I’m just not good enough. I can’t get all the things done. I can’t do them perfectly.

And so when I began to understand how much stress that as causing me, I started to be able to release that a little bit and show up from this more authentic place and in turn model that for my kids because I want them to feel enough, just as they are.

With everything there’s a balance. And I love that you talk about how you find the strength underneath your perfectionism. So can we talk a little bit about that and what that means.

Justine Cochrane

Absolutely, yeah. So I really think we have enough pressure as moms already. We don’t need to be adding more pressure by overcoming perfectionism. I think as although perfectionism isn’t a great thing, adding those additional layers of shame and guilt around it is just not helpful.

So I really focus on leveraging the attributes that tend to come up for perfectionists and use those in a different way that’s going to serve you better. So usually that’s around having really high expectations for yourself, which can actually turn into a great sort of spark for evaluating.

So when you take the emotion out of it and you take away like, so I wasn’t good enough at this. And this is why. And instead look at, like, the systems and processes that you have in place and use that same critical eye to evalute the more concrete things. That can be so valuable.

Because we are willing to put the time in and we’re willing to try and make things so which can just make our family lives so much smoother if we can find that balance and come from that space of how can I evaluate and make this better. Instead of I’m not doing it right, therefore, it means something about me or my abilities. Does that make sense?

Catherine Wilde

Absolutely. I love that. I love that. I love shifting that perspective from “I’m doing this wrong. I’m failing at this.” To “What can I do to make this better? Where are my strengths in this?” I love that perspective.

Ways to Overcome Procrastination

Justine Cochrane

Yeah. And the same procrastination. So I think that comes up a lot, right? Like we don’t even want to get started because we feel like we are not going to be able to do it to the level that we want. Especially we’re working around kids schedules and maps and all those things.

So I think they are instead of worried about getting started, focusing on the process. Instead of getting as stuck in that procrastination. So I have an exercise where I ask clients to think about what they need, so stop doing what they want to start doing and what they want to continue doing to get the result that they want.

And that can be a really simple way to break it down and to those three things. So something to stop, something to start and something to continue. If you are looking at getting started on something, but you are struggling with procrastination and even getting into that first step.

Catherine Wilde

Yeah. Those are great tips. I feel like procrastination and perfectionism are really closely linked. A lot of times we don’t even want to start because we so have that fear of “What if we don’t do this right?” There are so many layers there. I love those tips. Thank you.

Perfectionism & People Pleasing

Catherine Wilde

So another thing that I think we as women and mothers often struggle with is people-pleasing. We’re nurturing and we want to care for and help others. But finding that balance is important too, right? We can end up getting into this place of just saying yes to everything and everyone so we please everyone.

Do you have any tips to help us shift back into balance and create more space for ourselves and self care and just finding the balance between that?

Justine Cochrane

Absolutely. And I think what you said earlier about so thinking about what we are modeling for our kids, it’s so critical when it comes to this one.

Because if we are showing them the way to so get value from the world or be valuable for the world is to say “yes” to everything, they are going to have a really big uphill battle. Right?

So I think that what I do for myself and what I ask my clients to do as think about why there’s wanting to say “yes”.

So are they looking for approval from somebody else? So they think this is going to make them a better parent in the school as they say yes to that opportunity.

Becoming Aware of Your Thoughts around Perfectionsim

Justine Cochrane

Or they’re going to be seen as a better spouse if they say yes to this thing with the in-laws. And just so to be really critical about why am I saying yes? What feeling am I trying to get by saying yes to this opportunity?

And then evaluate if the trade-off is worth it? So could I get that somewhere else and my life just by spending time with my kids and having that connection?

Is that gonna make me seem like a better mom to myself or is spending time one on one with my husband’s going to make me feel like a better spouse?

And just being really careful about how we’re spending our time and resources where we are trying to create those feelings and seek approval? Because as we know, time is not unlimited, right? We can’t just create more of it.

So just being really careful and checking in with

“Why am I saying yes?”

“What do I want to feel from this sort of transaction with time?”

Justine Cochrane

“And is that worth it for me right now?”

Because if you say so, that doesn’t mean no forever. Right?

Your first year and elementary school. If you’re not like the President of the PTA doesn’t mean you can’t do that later on.

So just gauging where you are and being realistic about your time. And then also really evaluating, like, why you’re saying yes and what you’re looking for in the process.

Catherine Wilde

I love that. Yeah. That’s a beautiful way to look at it.

I also think of it as when you are saying “yes” to something, you are also saying “no” to something. And a lot of times when you are saying “yes” to the outside world, you are saying “no” to something that you need and something for you. So that’s a great way to find that balance.

The Origins of Perfectionism & Procrastination

Catherine Wilde

So often this idea of perfectionism and needing to be perfect comes from the outer messages that we get all the way from our childhood and culture and social media. And these things have kind of created this picture or this belief of what women and mothers should look like, how we should behave.

And as moms, we have a million thoughts running through our minds all the time. How come we start to notice what thoughts and beliefs aren’t serving us and ways of thinking that are keeping us from embracing our worthiness and just loving ourselves for the amazing humans we are? How can we shift from that to a more empowering place of self love?

Justine Cochrane

So yeah, for sure. So it’s really interesting because I think we have, like, 600 thoughts a day. And I feel like, for Moms, that must be higher, right? Because we got to drop off people here. We’ve got to return library books. There’s a lot of things to manage.

And something that I do as a daily practice is what I call thought work. So when I wake up in the morning, I literally clean my brain out. So I write every single thought I have down on a piece of paper.

Justine Cochrane

And I think of it a lot as tidying up my brain, just like I would tidy up as the house. Right?

So I’m going to put everything down on paper. And then just take a critical eye and look back and be like, these things might be true or they might not be true. But are they serving me?

And from that space with my clear brain and just that space that I’ve created in my mind, being really intentional about what I’m choosing to put back into my brain for the day.

Justine Cochrane

So thoughts that might serve me are:

“This is a fresh day. This is a fresh start.”

“I get to choose how I want to spend my time today.”

“I’m going to be intentional with how I want to focus on my kids. How I’m going to connect with them.”

“I’m going to take the time to write a to-do list because that makes me feel less stressed.”

Justine Cochrane

But just being really focused on how we are spending our brain space because we don’t have to accept every thought that pops up and we don’t have to take it at face value.

And sometimes creating, like, the physical space between words on paper and being able to see them as just enough of a distance. So create a little bit more of that calmness and just intentionality that I think a lot of us are looking for.

Catherine Wilde

I love that. Yes for me writing things down does help me to let it go a little bit. I’m like, okay, it so there I don’t have to keep thinking about it. And I love that you said that it helps you to not have to believe every thought. Because a lot of our thoughts are not based in fact. We can shift and change those. And so those are beautiful. I love that you were talking about doing that first thing in the morning.

I think having so many routines, you know, flexible ends as moms for sure. But routines help to reduce stress and anxiety for both ourselves and for our kids and especially the morning routine. So I’d love to hear your thoughts and routines. And you have a morning routine. And what do you do?

Justine Cochrane

I do. I 100% agree. I think routines are beautiful ways to create space in our lives and be able to really focus on what we want to put our attention on. So I have a morning routine. And I love it. And I am a morning person. So I just want to preface it with that. But I do usually wake up around 5 am and I do that thought work first thing. And that doesn’t take that long. That usually takes me about 15 minutes or so to empty out everything that I have in my brain.

Justine Cochrane

And then I really focus on where so I want my brain to be today? How do I want to be feeling? And what thoughts do I need to be having to feel that way? And I always do that with just like, believable thoughts. Like, I don’t think “Oh, I’m going to love my today.” If I’m having a different weight day or something like that. But just keeping it really realistic.

And then once I’ve sort of done that thought work and I’m feeling like I’m going to really calm place. I do a quick meditation. And then I work on my business for a little bit before my kids wake up. I’m a certified coach and I have a private practice. So answering client emails, or just sort of checking in and that kind of stuff.

And then I’ll do a quick workout before my kids wake up and they usually wake up around 6:30 am or 7 am. And that way I just find like, I get everything that I want to do for me done first. And that sets me up for such a positive place to go through the rest of my day.

Justine Cochrane

So I work two mornings a week and my practice coaching clients and then do some other business around that. But the rest of the time I’m with my kids. And so it’s very full-on as I want to be focused on them, doing all the house things, running all the errands and stuff.

But I feel just so empowered, knowing I’ve taken the time for myself. I’ve got those things done first and then I can carry on with the rest of my day. Some days it doesn’t happen, but that is what I aim for.

Taking the First Step to Overcome Perfectionsim and Procrastination

Catherine Wilde

I agree. So that morning time, if you can. So it, you know, it’s really quiet and peaceful, and doing those things for yourself, fills your cup so that you can be present and hold space for your kids during the day. I love that.

So this journey of moving from perfectionism to a state of more ease and flow. It doesn’t happen overnight, right?

So if there is a mom listening right now and she is feeling anxious and overwhelmed with all of this, do you have any tips that she can put into practice, so help her? Where should she start?

Justine Cochrane

Absolutely. So the first thing I would say is, there’s nothing wrong with you if you are feeling that way. Nothing has gone wrong. Nothing is broken. It’s all going to be fine. I honestly believe that.

I think that for a lot of women that deal with perfectionism and anxiety, they just haven’t been taught the tools to really manage their mind so that they can think in a different way.

So I think the first thing I would do is just really encourage her to keep an eye out for what she’s thinking when she’s feeling anxious. Because usually, that’ll be a thought that’s just happening on repeat and our brain’s thinking it because it’s comfortable. We know it. So it’s easy to have that synapse pattern and think that thought over and over again.

Justine Cochrane

So for me, that thought used to be “I don’t have enough time.” I would constantly think “I don’t have enough time”, whether I was working on something in my business or if I was doing something with my kids. I would feel like “We don’t have enough time. We’ve got to get through this faster and we’ve got to get going.” And that created a lot of anxiety for me.

Justine Cochrane

But when I was able to identify that thought as the main culprit, it was so empowering because when it popped up again, I feel like, “oh, you are back. Hello. Nice to see you. We do actually have enough time here. I’ve taken the time to so plan things out accordingly. So I know I have enough time. And even if we run over, it’s all going to be okay.”

So I would really encourage her to try and identify the thought that’s causing those feelings of anxiety or overwhelm. And then just work to get to know that thought. And start looking for evidence to prove otherwise and then just move on from there. But I think awareness is the first step and any of those processes.

Overcoming Procrastination
Catherine Wilde

For sure. Yeah. All those thoughts we are having all the time, we are not aware of most of them. And so just becoming aware is definitely the first step. I love that.

So we’re always learning and growing on this journey and you’ve had quite the journey. If you could go back in time, what would you share with your younger yourself, when you first became a mom?

Justine Cochrane

That it’s all going to be okay. And I think there’s so much pressure to do it right when you are a brand new mom. But it’s such a learning curve. And I think every age as a learning curve, right?

At each stage, you are going to learn something different there as going to be different approaches that are needed. But I think that’s the beauty of the motherhood journey. And being able to walk through that process and have the ups and downs. That’s what we’re here for, right?

And to have that contract and really embrace it. Because we wouldn’t be able to experience the good as we didn’t know what the bad was like and vice versa.

Justine Cochrane

So just as much as you can try and be present and enjoy the moments and just focus on the process, not on perfection.

Catherine Wilde

I love that one step at a time, right?

Justine Cochrane

Yeah.

Catherine Wilde

And thank you so much. I have loved this conversation. Can you let us know where we can find you online?

Justine Cochrane

Absolutely. Yes. So you can just find me at justinecochrane.com. I’ve got tons of free resources on there that you can check out if you are struggling with perfectionism, and you just want a little bit of help to create awareness and get moving into a freer place.

Catherine Wilde

Is there anything else that you’d like to share with us?

Justine Cochrane

Thank you so much for having me. I love what you’re doing. And I just think, like self care and all those types of balance sort of elements in motherhood just helps us all to be better. So I love the community that you have and how you support that with women. It’s amazing.

Catherine Wilde

Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, your story, and your tips with us today.

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Thanks for joining me, Mama. I’m over here smiling from ear to ear and giving you a big virtual hug. I love spending this time with you. You are amazing for showing up and carving out this space to nourish your soul.

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Sending you so so much love, Mama!

Catherine Wilde - Founder of Soul Care Mom - Self Care For Busy Moms - A Mom Coach, Helping Busy Moms, Like You, Release Mom Guilt & Go From Anxious Mom To Calm Mom

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Join the Soul Care Mom Community and get Soul Care Goodness delivered to your inbox. Plus get instant access to FREE Self Care Morning Ritual so you can start your mornings Calm & Energized!