How To Overcome Perfectionism

Perfectionism involves a tendency to set standards that are so high that they either cannot be met or are only met with great difficulty. Perfectionists tend to believe that anything short of perfection is horrible and that even minor imperfections will lead to catastrophe or greatly disappointing others.

Making mistakes isn’t meant to be so scary. Trying to be perfect is also likely to make you feel stressed and maybe even disappointed with yourself much of time because you are not able to meet your standards easily or at all. Over time, you may even start to believe that you are not as capable as others.

It’s worthwhile to consider loosening up your standards a bit to ease the stress and anxiety you may feel from trying so hard to be perfect.

  • With this helpful, how-to PDF, you can learn the steps to help you overcome perfectionism. The resource covers how to recognize perfectionism and high standards. It also highlights the importance of realistic thinking and looking at the big picture, as well as addressing the root of your perfectionism and identifying how high standards get in the way of your daily life.

Perfectionism affects how one thinks, behaves, and feels. If you have difficulties with perfectionism, the following examples may be familiar to you:

  • -Feeling depressed, frustrated, anxious, and even angry, especially if you constantly criticize yourself for not doing a good enough job after spending a lot of time and effort on a task.
  • -Black-and-white thinking (e.g., “Anything less than perfection is a failure”)
  • Catastrophic thinking (e.g., “If I make a mistake in front of my coworkers, I won’t be able to survive the humiliation”)
  • -Probability overestimation (e.g., “My boss will think I am lazy if I take a couple of sick days”)
  • -Should statements (e.g., “I should never come across as nervous or anxious”)
  • -Chronic procrastination, difficulty completing tasks, or giving up easily
  • -Overly cautious and thorough in tasks (e.g., spending 3 hours on a task that takes others 20 minutes to complete)
  • -Excessive checking (e.g., spending 30 minutes looking over a brief email to your boss for possible spelling mistakes)
  • -Constantly trying to improve things by re-doing them (e.g., rewriting a work document several times to make it “perfect”)
  • -Agonizing over small details (e.g., what movie to rent)
  • -Making elaborate “to-do” lists (e.g., when to get up, brush teeth, shower, etc.)
  • -Avoiding trying new things and risking making mistakes

Use this resource to find helpful tips to overcome perfectionism, ask for help when you need it, set realistic goals, and reward yourself.

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