How to Overcome Perfectionism
Let’s talk about perfectionism. Do you suffer from it? Does it seem to rule your life?
You’re not alone.
It can be a real problem for some people.
The dictionary defines it as: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable.
And if you are a perfectionist – or know someone who is – you can understand why it could be an issue.
So what’s a person to do? Luckily there are some steps you can take so that perfectionism doesn’t rule your life.
- Acknowledge It: You may not want to say the words out loud, but acknowledging you are a perfectionist is the first step to take. When you can take a realistic look at your perfectionist tendencies, you’ll be able to recognize when they’re on overdrive – and hopefully, take steps to correct it.
- Figure Out Why You Have It: The next step is to figure out why you have it. Do you worry about failure? Suffer from anxiety? Fear disapproval? Do you worry that people will think you’re not valuable unless you do everything perfectly?
- Whatever the reason may be, once you’ve figured out why – know that the behavior can be changed.
- Recognize the Worst-Case Scenario: What is the worst possible thing that could happen if you’re not perfect? Will your boss be upset? Will your friends be mad? Sure, it COULD happen – but it’s not likely. And when you recognize this – you will see that most worst-case scenarios don’t happen and that everything is going to be just fine.
- Set Clear Standards and Expectations: You always have clear expectations and standards set for those you work with or contractors you may hire, but do you set them for yourself? If the answer is no, it’s time to start doing that.
- And yes, you want to make sure your expectations are reasonable – or else you’ll wind up still fighting those perfectionist tendencies.
- What Are the Costs of Perfectionism?: Do you know what your perfectionism is doing to you? Is it causing you to work crazy hours? Become angry or snappish? It might be making you sad or cause you to have low self-esteem.
- And what about those around you? Are you driving them crazy? Do you find yourself being short-tempered?
- Perfectionism can have some negative consequences for you and for others – so be sure you know what the costs are.
- Be Careful of Negative Self-Talk: Are you always trying to help your friends or family by speaking to them in a positive manner? Do you do that with yourself? Often, perfectionists are great at lifting others up, but they let negative self-talk overtake their own lives.
- Be conscious of how you talk to yourself and work to stop saying negative things about yourself. It’s definitely not helping.
- Remain Positive: In addition to getting rid of the negative self-talk, it’s a good idea to remind yourself to stay positive – especially when things aren’t going exactly as you’d like. A little positivity can help you make the most of any situation.
- Make Changes Slowly: Understand that you are not going to change your ways overnight. You will need to make changes slowly. Start with small projects or tasks and work your way up.
- Learn to Handle Criticism: And yes, there may be some criticism along the way. After all, people may only know you as a perfectionist. Learn to handle it with grace and use feedback to move forward.
Don’t let perfectionism control your life. Use these steps to make changes so you won’t experience burnout and lead a less stressful life.