5 Situations Where “Good Enough” Is Enough

At some point or another, we all get caught up in perfection. We’re so engrossed with the idea of doing something perfectly that we don’t enjoy ourselves, or worse yet, may never finish what we set out to do!

Now, take a deep breath and relax….I’m here to give you permission to do a “good enough” job in the following situations.

You’re welcome. 🙂

Hosting a Party

No one gives a zip-a-dee-doo-da whether you made the bean dip yourself or if you bought the jalapeño poppers from Costco. Your guests are there to enjoy your company, and you won’t be good company if you’re too frazzled about hosting to enjoy yourself. And don’t you dare think about cleaning the house before the party! No one will notice the crumbs on the kitchen floor, and I guarantee someone will drop a plate of food or spill wine on the couch anyway. Clean up after the party and take your sweet time about it.

Sending Thank You Notes

I think people stopped sending thank you notes because they thought it took too much effort—but they don’t! It’s important to express your gratitude, and it’ll make someone’s day. When you receive a gift, you don’t have to write some 600-page testimony about how much it meant to you. Two sentences work: “Uncle Billy Bob, thank you so much for the new chainsaw! I’m sure it will come in handy once the zombies break through the barricade.” Stop whining, buy a pack of notecards, and start sending your thank yous!

Naming Your Kids or Pets

I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this but honestly, people, naming your kids and pets is not that important. Just pick a name that sounds nice to you and be done with it. Who knows what the future will bring? In 5 years, a serial killer on the news might have the same name as your son. A “good enough” name is fine. The name “Michael Jackson” is actually quite plain and run of the mill, but the man with that name led an extraordinary life. Take it from me, a woman named Sage (definition, wise person) who makes mistakes all the time: names don’t need to be perfect.


This is embarrassing but true: sometimes, when I was running late and knew I’d miss the first 5-10 minutes of my aerobics class, I would end up skipping the whole thing. I thought that it wasn’t worth going if I couldn’t be there the entire time. So self-sabotaging! A 50-minute workout is “good enough” and so much better than moping on the couch. Just do what you can and be proud that you’re making any effort at all!

Finding a Romantic Partner

Again, not to sound condescending, but we all need to get over ourselves if we want to have love in our lives. A “good enough” partner could be a better choice than someone who meets a laundry list of qualities (needs to be 6 feet tall, blue eyes, drives a Ferrari, makes more than $100,000 a year, etc.). You’re no spring chicken yourself, so don’t pass someone by for superficial reasons. Would you rather be happy with a “good enough” partner or alone with your standards?

So, there you have it. If anyone gives you grief about only doing a “good enough” job in those situations, just tell ‘em the all-knowing Sage gave you permission.

But…um…I can’t let you go just yet. I don’t want you thinking “good enough” applies to everything!

3 Situations Where “Good Enough” Doesn’t Cut It

  • Keeping up with personal hygiene. Do I really have to say this? You can’t do a half-assed job with keeping yourself clean. If I floss my teeth every day, then you have to make an effort too. I’m talking to you, chick in my dance class who doesn’t wear deodorant.
  • At work. Seriously, your job depends on it. No one promotes the employee who turns in a report that’s only “good enough.” You’re smarter than that.
  • Deciding what to wear. If you have the internet, then you have access to thousands—if not millions—of personal style consultants. I’m talking about the amazing style bloggers who post outfits of the day to show you how to remix the contents of your closet. I don’t care if your sweatpants are comfy—you deserve to look your best, even at the grocery store.

Still not convinced that “good enough” can be enough? You gotta watch this video about the creative process (it’s about storytelling, but it applies to everyone). You might not be satisfied with what you put out into the world at first, but by staying with it, everything will improve dramatically.

In what situations do you take a “good enough” approach? What tasks will you never compromise on?

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  1. Karen C L Anderson on September 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Awesome post and I agree with all of it. I find that the older I get, the more things are "good enough."

    • Cathy Wilke on September 14, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Love it Sage! And it's so true about exercising. Something is always better than nothing.

    • Maureen Kilgour on September 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      Karen C L Anderson I SWEAR you read my mind from 2,000 miles away! Because of your inspiration (to not worry about failing) I have been working with my dog, Gus since this past spring to test him to be a pet partner — therapy dog that would go with me to visit in hospitals, nursing homes, rehab, etc. They have 4 levels: Fail, not ready, 1 and 2. Fail would be epic since they can never take the test again, but it would have to be disatrous. I was so intent on a 2 (hardest facility to get into, hardest to pass) that I overlooked A)it's ok if we get a not ready since it helps me with test anxiety B) it's really ok if he gets a 1 since MOST facilities are a 1 and he can re-test for a 2. I finally decided to go for the test and risk the not ready since I seriously doubt he would fail and I will go for a 1 because if he passes I can start working with him sooner rather than later … Good Enough!

  2. Tinfoilstiaras on January 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Yes, yes, yes and yes- I agree with all of these points. Hosting parties stresses me out because I tend to be a perfectionist about everything and try to clean everything within an inch of its life- thank you for giving me the permission to be more relaxed! Also, romantic partners aren’t fairy-tale characters. Whenever I complain about my man, she states all his great qualities and how unrealistic it is to find that ‘perfect man’.

  3. Ki on January 10, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Sage! I missed you and your posts! I think because you got a ‘.com’, I’m not getting updates when you post! Great post – I like to keep my house clean and tidy, bur sometimes I just let it be ‘okay’ instead of ‘super duper clean’! 😛

  4. Shybiker on January 9, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I find myself agreeing with all of your points. Which means that one of us is really smart. 🙂

  5. Megan Gann on January 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Really great post and one I agree with. I am very big on the thank-you note thing. I always try to send one if someone gives me something or does something for me.

    My “good enough” is making up my bed. I at least try to pull up the covers all the way, but I don’t make hospital corners out of my sheets or anything. Actually it would be better to leave it completely unmade since unmade beds discourage dust mites and that is better for people with asthma (according to a study I read, but it might have been on cracked.com soo yeah).

    I also don’t stress too much about my diet. I try to get in as many fruits and veggies as I can, but I don’t beat myself up over it. As a person with OCD, it’s hard to have numbers on how many “servings” and number counts attached to my food. I purposefully don’t count because if I did it would become an obsessive thing to count – and I love food too much to let delicious meals boil down to numbers. So my diet is “good enough” for me.

    • Sage on January 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      I don’t stress about making the bed either. I adjust the comforter and call it a day. And I’m pretty sure cracked.com is a reliable medical resource. 🙂

      A “good enough” diet is something I struggle with. I have a weakness for vegan baked goods, candy, and soy ice cream.

  6. Anna on January 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    My philosophy in finding a life partner is based on several essential traits/behaviors without which a relationship is impossible. One a man has met those basic requirements the rest is all about the 80% happiness rule: does he make me happy 80% of the time? Luckily Tom is an angel from heaven in this regard – my perfect man. So there it is: perfection by *my* standards.

    I completely agree with the advice for throwing a party – ultimately no one cares that you didn’t catch and roast those fish with your hands. It’s about friends and having a good time. You’re also dead on about exercising – some is ALWAYS better than nothing at all. It’s a great post, Sage – it’s always a pleasure reading what you write 🙂

    • Sage on January 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Your 80% happiness rule makes a lot of sense. I wish I had heard of it in high school when I had a loser boyfriend.

      Thanks so much for the nice comment about my blog being a pleasure to read! I’m trying something new, and it means a lot to me that you like it. 🙂

  7. xvavaveganx on January 9, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Interesting post! I totally agree with you about this. I’m a bit of a perfectionist (oy virgos!) but there has to be a point where enough is enough and you just let it go. The anxiety that perfectionism causes is far more damaging that a slightly less than perfect card, or name, or workout, etc.

    Have a great day Sage!

    • Sage on January 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      I almost didn’t publish this post because I didn’t have a photo or 2 to go with it. Chris said to me, “Maybe it’s good enough as is.” Talk about needing to take my own advice.

      Thanks for stopping by! I love reading your blog–it makes me hungry!

  8. Bryce Christiansen on January 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Hi Sage,

    I just got done finally getting to the Thank You cards for the holidays. I ended up throwing away 4 of them and starting over because of the perfectionist in me.

    Now I am regretting I didn’t read this earlier 🙂

    Have an awesome Monday,


    • Sage on January 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Oh no! I’ve thrown out thank you cards too because I screwed up and didn’t want to cross out my mistake. I’m glad you finished them, even if you had to start over. I love getting thank you cards in the mail.

  9. Cara on January 9, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Once again, you are spot on with this post. I stressed out so much over hosting Christmas that it took most of Christmas day for me to settle down enough to enjoy it. I am saddened that sending thank you notes is not an automatic response for people anymore, as you said it takes so little time to say thank you but the note is always appreciated! I wish I could pass the finding a mate advice on to some of my friends with laundry lists a mile long! For me “good enough” applies to my lackluster sewing skills. If the button stays on, it’s good enough! 😀

    • Sage on January 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

      Thanks, Cara! Too bad hosting Christmas was so stressful. 🙁 I’ve had many parties like that. I would love to learn how to sew. If the hem if my pants came out while I was at work, I would just staple it closed. Not exactly a high point for me.

      I am always so happy when I get a thank you note because so few people send them anymore. I’ll even accept a nice e-card. Anything’s better than nothing.