Don’t Worry About Perfection… Just Move Forward

posted by Andrea | 02/21/2018
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Our 2017 photo book arrived in the mail last week and we’ve enjoyed looking through all the pictures together.

The photo book got me thinking about the fact that almost every time I mention my digital photo books on my blog or in real life conversations, someone makes one of the following comments:

  • “I wish I would have started digital books when my kids were little.”
  • “I could never find the time to digitize all my old photos, so there’s no point in starting now.”
  • “I’d never be able to keep up with doing this for each child year after year, so I don’t even want to start. “

Honestly, I AM really glad I started my digital photo books before my kids were born, and I’m thrilled that all of Dave and my childhood photos are now digitized and printed in a book so we can actually enjoy them.

However, even if I hadn’t started making these books before Nora was born, I definitely still think there’s value in making books now with our current photos. Our kids will enjoy any books I make, even if they all don’t get the same number of books. 

If you’re like many people I talk to, you don’t have the time or energy to make photo albums for past years, BUT there’s most likely nothing stopping you from starting one NOW!

If digital photo books have always been something you’ve wanted to try, but you’ve felt overwhelmed by the thought of going back through ALLLLLLL your old photos, simply push the old photos aside and start your first digital photo book right now (seriously, just start in February of 2018, and move forward!)

Don’t worry about making them pretty, don’t worry about adding anything extra, don’t even worry about putting the photos in chronological order. Just dump a handful of photos into a book, add a few more as you go along, and eventually print the book at some point! See, doesn’t that sound much less overwhelming!

You might hate it and never make another book, or you might love it and continue making books in future years.

Whatever the case, there really isn’t any harm in giving it a try (if it’s something you want to try).

Of course, the point of this post is NOT that everyone should create digital photo albums for their families (although we do love our photo books!)

Rather, I hope to encourage you to stop worrying about doing everything perfectly, and instead, focus on what you can do right now and just MOVE FORWARD!

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The concept of pushing the past aside, starting fresh, and moving forward can easily be applied to so many areas of life — exercising and eating right, keeping your home neat and organized, getting involved in your community and church, creating special family times, and yes, making digital photo books.

I’ve heard all sorts of crazy stories and “excuses” for things that make no sense to me…

So many people think they are too overweight or too unhealthy to start any type of diet or nutrition program — but we all know we aren’t going to magically drop a bunch of weight without simply getting started and putting in the work now. And if you fall off the healthy-eating bandwagon, don’t worry about it… just hop back on again the next day.

Others want to simplify and get their homes more organized, but they continually do nothing — sometimes because they don’t know where to start, and other times because they honestly think their homes are too messy and cluttered for their efforts to make any sort of a difference. No, you won’t see results overnight, but don’t worry about your lack of organizing in the past and just focus on making better choices and continually purging from here on out.

I get countless emails from people saying how excited they are to compile their important papers into one, nice, neat binder like I have… but they are always waiting for something. They want to buy the exact binder I use, they want to fill out the forms I used for my binder before they gather their paperwork, they want to get their will created first, they want to file their taxes first, blah, blah, blah. My answer for people who come to me with questions about my binder is usually, “don’t worry about having every single detail in place, but rather, JUST GET STARTED. Something is always better than nothing!”

Someone even shared with me that she purposely purged the hat their newborn wore home from the hospital (even though she really wanted to keep it) simply because she didn’t keep the hat for her first 2 children and she wanted things to be “equal”.

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Just because you’ve stopped exercising for a while, doesn’t mean you can’t start up again.

Just because you aren’t currently eating a balanced diet, doesn’t mean you can’t make a few healthier choices from here on out.

Just because your home is completely disorganized, doesn’t mean you can’t start working to get it more organized.

Just because you did one thing with one child, doesn’t mean you need to do the exact same thing with each child.

Just because you haven’t digitized any of your past photos, doesn’t mean you can’t start now!

As I mentioned above, there really isn’t anything stopping us from starting whatever we want to start RIGHT NOW — except maybe our own perfectionistic tendencies that make us feel like we can’t even get started until we have every detail in place.

Don’t worry about perfection… and just move forward!

Filed under: LifeKids StuffPaperCraftsPhotographyDaily Life

 
 

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19 comments

  1. Sonya

    02/21/2018

    This post is exactly why your blog is one of the few I subscribe to. Although I’m in a different stage of life than you are and not all of the posts apply to me, your message of simplifying life in general really comes through for me. I often struggle with not starting tasks/projects because I get stuck on the idea that it has to be “perfect”. But it feels so much better to actually get something started in the first place!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Sonya!
    Getting started is often the hardest part (even for me sometimes) so you are not along in the struggle!

    [Reply]

  2. Kristin

    02/21/2018

    This post reminds me of the saying “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good”. Also, what really is perfect anyway? Is perfection obtainable?

    For those us that take to heart the saying “Always do your best”, it can be difficult to be ok with just doing ‘good’. Sometimes it is easiest to not do something if you think that you can’t do your best. But really, sometimes ‘good’ is really good enough… or atleast better than before.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, exactly!
    I definitley have a “good enough” personality, so that helps — but there are times when I consistently have to remind myself that doing something is always better than nothing!

    [Reply]

    Shan Reply:

    Agreed: Doing something is always better than doing nothing!

    [Reply]

  3. Shelly Smith

    02/21/2018

    Andrea, I think you have shared that you used PicMonkey for photo editing in the past (as have I.) Do you still use them since they started charging a monthly fee, or have you found a suitable alternative? Just curious if you have found another “free” option!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I still use PicMonkey.
    I actually switched to the pro version about 4 years ago, so I didn’t realize they did away with the free version until a few months ago when someone else mentioned it.
    I can write it off as a business expense, and it use it so regularly that it’s worth the $30 or so a year!

    [Reply]

  4. Cindy

    02/21/2018

    Thanks for this post today. Really hits home!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you’re welcome 🙂

    [Reply]

  5. Amber Davis

    02/21/2018

    Hi, who did you print yours with!

    I have been wanting to do this for years, and finally threw all of my 2017 pictures randomly sorted into a Shutterfly book. I loved the results but $140 to print it leaves me unable to print on our tight family budget!

    Also, I’m going to go through it with a scrapbooking pen and handwrite in details/info for a more personalized touch. Just an idea!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I use Blurb — I always wait until they have a 45% off coupon code to print my books (but even then, it’s about $50 for our big family book).
    And yes, I have thought about writing in the book, but my handwriting is pretty bad so I haven’t actually done it yet!

    [Reply]

  6. shan lao

    02/21/2018

    Andrea, wisdom beyond your years! You’re always so encouraging to those struggling in the areas you excel in. Your thoughts on just starting to do some things right and not agonizing about the past apply to relationships too!!
    Love you and your sweet family.
    Shan

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ah — good point. I never even considered relationships with this concept before.

    [Reply]

  7. Kate

    02/21/2018

    This is good advice…just keep moving forward and you’d be amazed at the progress you’ll make over time. On a side note, I decided to try making a family photo book last year with the intention of doing digital photo books from here on out. (I felt inspired seeing yours!) I worked on it throughout the year so it wouldn’t be too much work at one time. I like how the book turned out but I didn’t enjoy the process at all. The main reason is because our internet is not the greatest so it ended up taking a lot of my time. So this year I decided to go back to my old way of organizing photos which is just to print 4x6s via the Walgreens app and slide them into a photo album. I save some to a flash drive kept in the safe. So sometimes we can look at others and want to do things exactly the way they’ve done it but really the best thing is just to do what works for you. I know you’d agree wholeheartedly!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yeah, if you don’t have good internet, you definitely won’t want to do digital books! I spend 10 minutes inputing pictures for each month and then I’m done. It’s definitely a good investment of my time as I DO enjoy it and I LOVE the finished product.
    But yes, I would definitely agree that you shouldn’t do digital books just because I do them 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Kristina R

    02/21/2018

    Where do you store your photo books? My living room shelves have so many that I know I’ll run out of room in the future.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    in our game closet (https://andreadekker.com/game-and-puzzle-storage/)

    [Reply]

  9. E L

    02/21/2018

    Yes! Thanks for this post Andrea. Really, it resonated so deeply with me today. Your wisdom is always right on the nose!

    [Reply]

    Michelle Reply:

    This is exactly what I was about to comment.

    Well said Andrea….and E L.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    [Reply]