Are You Battling Perfectionism? – How to Come Off the Winner
For many of us, when we think of a perfectionist we imagine a person who has it all—a high-powered job, a pristine house, and an organized life.
However, for those with perfectionism, the reality is far less sweet.
The Truth About Perfectionism
Maybe you had a school friend or parent who liked everything a certain way. They may have even refused your help at times with a project or chore because they feared you’d do it wrong.
Or perhaps you are a person burdened by perfection yourself—constantly worried about every detail. You may feel isolated from others or exhausted by the pressure you impose on yourself to get everything right.
So, what drives some of us to become perfectionist?
The answer is: a deep-seated fear and anxiety.
Fear manifested by thoughts of failing, self-comparison, and coming off to others as stupid or unworthy, rolled into a giant snowball of anxiety. This anxiety morphs into self-doubt and self-loathing.
Sadly, negative perceptions about yourself ultimately deter you from accomplishing your goals.
Overcoming Your Perfectionism
Some days, the battle against perfectionism can seem exhausting. Projects and goals you’ve set for yourself have taken a back seat to the fear of failing, and you feel stuck in a place of doubt.
However, several positive mind tricks can help you win out over your perfectionism.
Assign each task values
We can accomplish more and stress less when we can measure the value of each task against the grand scheme of things. For many who suffer from perfectionism, getting absorbed in one project for hours and hours is a real problem. Those sufferers find difficulty in completing a day’s worth of to-do’s and start feeling they are slipping behind in both daily and ultimate goals.
To avoid this, start your days with a plan. Grab a planner or journal and list every task you’d like to complete for the day.
In addition, decide on a goal you have for that day and what are some big goals that you are working towards overtime.
Then, set an estimated time of completion number for each task and a number value between 1-5, 1 being not that impactful to your goals and 5 being very impactful.
You’ll find that setting these ETC’s and values for each task eliminates the pressure of having to do everything perfectly. Those tasks with low values don’t need that perfectionist’s eye. Likewise, setting an estimated time of completion for each task will help you stay on track.
Stop comparing yourself to those around you
We look to our leaders for an inspiration of where we’d like to get to in life. Modeling some positive behaviors after a person who has the job you hope to be promoted to someday is a great technique for moving upward. Additionally, a healthy competition now and then isn’t detrimental to your overall self-perception either.
However, when we become fixed on how we are measuring up to others, we lose sight of the individual qualities that we have to offer.
Ask yourself what your values are. Write them out and keep them as a guide throughout your day. For example, do you value honesty, hard-work, compassion, service?
These core values give you something positive to turn your attention towards. Rather than negative thoughts of self-doubt, your core values encourage you to strive for better and positive goals.
Turn your sideline critic into a sideline cheerleader
Have you ever played a sport and heard a parent (maybe even your own) yelling directions and critiques at their children from the sideline? The second voice in your head that is constantly questioning your efforts is the same as that noisy parent at the 6 am soccer game.
Change your negative thoughts and judgments into positivity by reversing the questions you might typically ask yourself.
Instead of saying “This isn’t working,” ask yourself, “What is working?”
Instead of saying “This is stupid, I should just quit,” ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? For what greater purpose? Am I enjoying this? How could I enjoy this more?”
Perfectionists often find themselves caught in an all-or-nothing mentality. Reversing your negative thoughts with positive open-ended questions encourages you to loosen up on the perfection and refocus on the project.
Clearly, perfectionism wears down your mental and emotional strength. As a result, you lose self-confidence and motivation. Yet, with a new set of tools and patience with yourself, you can win out over your perfectionism and begin moving forward!