'Cognition' is a word used to denote a thought or belief, and 'restructuring' involves challenging a cognition by looking at the evidence for or against it. The basic idea behind cognitive restructuring is that thoughts themselves are not facts; you need to consider whether the thoughts you are having are true and to consider whether there are any other ways to thinking about a particular situation. At first this can be a real challenge: we often believe what we think and don't question our own thoughts. However, often our thinking is biased, and with perfectionism it can be biased towards thinking too negatively and harshly about yourself.
What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is delaying or putting off a task until a later time, and is a common behaviour that results from perfectionism.
Perfectionism and Procrastination
To understand the relationship between procrastination and perfectionism, it is useful to understand how procrastination maintains self-evaluation which is heavily based on achievement.
The fear of not doing a task well is a powerful motivator for not getting started. This is because procrastination often happens as a result of perfectionistic predictions (e.g. I cannot do this task well) which are in turn strengthened or reinforced by procrastinating (e.g. completing a task poorly because it was rushed). Procrastinating, in turn, leads to the feeling you have failed at a task and therefore are a failure as a person before you've even started.
This way of thinking and behaving becomes a cycle whereby the tendency to avoid or procrastinate increases your belief in your perfectionistic predictions, which in turn makes you more likely to keep procrastinating.
Watch this School of Life video to learn more.