How to Overcome Perfectionism so you can Finally Take Action (5 Steps)

Have you been struggling with needing to be so perfect that you end getting stressed? In this article, you will learn how to overcome perfectionism so you can finally take action.

You are not alone! 

Perfectionists often hide from telling others because if they tell someone, they might need to admit that they are not perfect.  It is difficult and stress-inducing all around. 

This article will discuss some of the common perfectionistic thought patterns and the Five Steps to Overcome Perfectionism.

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Common Perfectionistic Patterns

  • Thinking you need to be perfect.
  • You need to be the best and do the best.
  • You think you need to be doing more.
  • You do not like making mistakes.
  • You strive for efficiency.
  • Your work must not have any mistakes.
  • You remind yourself that you are a perfectionist, and you like the high standard.
  • You think life would be great if everything in your life were perfect.
  • You think that if you don’t keep a high standard, you will fall into mediocrity.

Perfectionism is Not a One Size Fits All Trait

No two perfectionists are identical. While there are individuals that may have similar behaviors, everyone’ is different.  Likewise, the root of the thinking patterns varies as well. 

Perfectly Painful Performance Behaviors and Feelings

Some strive for the highest of standards and the highest quality performance.

They may often have an intense attention to detail, so much so that it takes them forever to complete a project.  This extra effort does not make the project better but requires excessive time. They need to check, and second guess themselves and review repeatedly. The toll this process takes can be unsettling, and the worry or anxiety over what others may think of their work can be painful. 

In addition, perfection looping or ruminating may even deplete one’s confidence and abilities.  They often doubt their expertise and knowledge.  They easily criticize themselves and have poor self-esteem.  Excessive criticism has an impact on one’s work, relationships, and nearly every area of their life. Some fear failure and avoid doing what they would like, only to criticize themselves for not doing it in the first place.  Sometimes the fear is so great; they are immobilized by it.  Think of Perfectionism as a self-imposed demand of high standards that causes stress and discomfort.

Five Steps to Overcome Perfection

  1. Be honest with yourself about the problem and the need to change.  The more aware you are of your thoughts and behaviors, the more success you will have in overcoming the patterns.
  2. Decide on one area of your life that you notice Perfectionism and work on this first.

Think about the areas you demand perfection?  Are you rigid in your demand that you must have tasks done perfectly? After you do a job, do you minimize the effort? Do you avoid or procrastinate to the point that you are immobilized? 

  1. Keep a journal

You will focus on this one area of perfection. You will want to review daily, preferably around the same time.

You will be journaling about your thoughts, your behaviors, and your feelings. Assess your thoughts, and your behaviors surrounding your thoughts, and how you feel about these thoughts and behaviors.  Then look for any insights you have gained; nothing is insignificant. Being aware and mindful will help you restructure the types of thinking patterns. Recognize a kinder and less rigid way. As you practice this skill, you will learn to think less like a perfectionist.

Be sure to focus on one area at a time and build on that one area. Allow yourself time to grow here; one small change in time will be more significant. Be patient, compassionate, and kind to yourself.

  1. Be mindful through out your day and keep an eye on your tendencies. You will want to monitor your thoughts and behaviors and be cognizant.  Being aware of your thoughts and behaviors that revolve around a need to be or do perfect will keep you on track with overcoming. 
  1. Pat yourself on the back for doing each step and acknowledging you are in the process of letting go of these behaviors.  Would you please not skip this step?  Research tells us that when we notice ourselves accomplishing what is challenging and then give ourselves credit, it reinforces this behavior, so we are consistent. 

Letting go of perfectionistic thinking such as needing to be the best and do the best will have more rewards than remaining in the loop of Perfectionism. Letting go of the need to maintain the highest of standards does will not propel you into mediocrity.

Review of Five-step process to overcome Perfectionism

  1. Be honest about your need to be perfect.
  1. Decide on one area of your life that you notice Perfectionism and work on this one area first.
  1. Keep a daily journal paying attention to instances by noticing your thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and what you have learned. 
  2. Stay mindful of the way you are thinking by being kind, compassionate, and patient with yourself.
  3. Give yourself credit and praise for continuing in the process.

Perfectionism Be Gone

Perfectionism can be rewarding when one receives compliments for seemingly superhuman qualities of doing extraordinary things.  The cost of maintaining this standard can be difficult and often leads to depression and anxiety.  Learning to let go of Perfectionism takes time, but it is not impossible.  This article discussed some common thoughts perfectionists often think and  Five-Steps to Overcome Perfectionism.  The most helpful advice is to be kind and compassionate with yourself as you go through the process.  How to Overcome Perfectionism so you can finally take action and five steps to overcome perfectionism

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