4 Helpful Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism

Everyone wants to be perfect. Always doing and saying the right thing sounds fun. Being perfect would make your life much easier. Right? Who wouldn’t want to try for perfection? However, going down that road is a slippery slope. 

Addiction to perfection is referred to as perfectionism. The trouble starts when you begin to disregard other things in your life for the pursuit of perfection. This can be tricky to unlearn, but you aren’t on this journey alone. Keep reading to learn some helpful tips to overcome your struggles with perfectionism. 

What exactly is perfectionism? 

Before we tell you how to overcome perfectionism, we should tell you what it is, exactly. Perfectionism is a personality trait in which you strive for flawlessness in different aspects of your life. There are a handful of different types of perfectionism, such as self-oriented and other-oriented. Sometimes you expect perfection from the people in your life, and other times you only expect perfection from yourself. Regardless, these standards are harmful and almost impossible to meet. 

There are some common signs of perfectionism you might recognize in yourself or a loved one. While this might look different in everyone, more recognizable signs include: 

  • Unrealistic standards for yourself or others
  • Tendency to procrastinate 
  • All or nothing thinking 
  • Harsh or critical of yourself or others

If one or more of these traits resonate with you, then you might be a perfectionist. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you. 

woman looking focused on computerTip One: Reflect within 

The first way you can begin to overcome your perfectionism is by realizing and acknowledging that you have a problem. Once you can recognize your triggers, thoughts, actions, and how they can be harmful, you can begin to overcome them. 

In situations like this, journaling can be very helpful. It will help you to keep a log of your thoughts and actions. This way, you’ll be able to essentially hold a mirror up to your behaviors. 

Tip Two: Become your own biggest fan 

After you have come to terms with your perfectionism, now is the time to become your own personal cheerleader. If you have a thought that does not perfectly adhere to your new, non-perfectionist practice, you cannot beat yourself up. Be gentle with yourself, and have self-compassion. 

Focusing on your strengths and restoring your confidence will allow you to stop comparing yourself to others. Additionally, this can improve your overall attitude towards life and others. This will make you happier overall and foster healthier relationships. 

Tip Three: Set realistic goals

Perhaps the hardest part of perfectionism to beat is your goal setting. To overcome perfectionism, you must be realistic. This will help you not only with yourself in your personal life but also with setting goals for your end to perfectionism. 

Growth is a spectrum. Some days might be easier than others to be gentle with yourself and restore your self-confidence. Other days might be harder. This does not make you a failure. 

Tip Four: Think bigger

This might seem redundant. You might think that perfectionists think too big, and that’s the root of the issue. But when you consider your actions in broader strokes, everything seems much more inconsequential. 

Gaining perspective will allow you to break the cycle of getting caught up on every minute action you take. In 20 years, it won’t really matter if you got an A+ on your class project, or if you got your promotion in one year instead of two. Life is bigger than you. 

Perfectionism can be hard to overcome without help. Remember, admitting you need an outside hand does not make you a failure. Different forms of therapy are proven to be extremely effective at treating perfectionism. If you’re interested in learning more or think it’s time to ask for help, contact me today to learn more about anxiety therapy.