Striving for perfection can rob you of your peace of mind, enjoyment of life, and self-esteem. Its focus is less forgiving. Perfectionists beat themselves up for anything that appears to be lacking and this cheats them of satisfaction and pride of accomplishment.
One of the most significant problems that perfectionists face is the fear that if they stop shooting for perfection, they will become low achievers and they won’t accomplish their goals. Perfectionists actually achieve less than those with healthier mindsets. Their focus on perfection robs them of time and motivation and leads to procrastination and other self-sabotaging behaviors.
The biggest difference between perfectionism and high achievement is where your focus lies. If you strive for high achievement, you can be happy about your accomplishments, pat yourself on the back, and learn from your mistakes.
Awareness of perfectionistic tendencies is the first step in removing this roadblock that hinders you from reaching your goals. Below are some additional steps in working toward shedding perfectionism and maintaining a healthier attitude:
- Make a list of all the ways perfectionism is hurting you (and those around you).
- Become aware of your patterns. Consider recording your perfectionistic thoughts. This will help you become more aware of future perfectionistic thoughts as they pop up.
- Soften your tendency to notice the bad by making a conscious effort to notice all that is good with your work and the achievement of others.
- Alter your self-talk. Perfectionists tend to have a critical voice in their head telling them their work isn’t good enough. Work on changing this little voice to speak positively.
- Take baby steps. Perfectionists tend to set goals of unreasonable excellence with no learning curve. Set small goals and reward yourself when you achieve them.
- Enjoy the process. Focus more on the process of reaching toward a goal rather than just focusing on the goal itself.
Shedding the burden of having to be perfect allows for the potential of high achievement and greatly reduces stress.