Here’s my number one tip to boost your personal productivity – Stop being a perfectionist!
Are you a perfectionist? If so, you’re not alone. Many people strive for perfection in their work and personal lives. But while perfectionism can have some benefits, it also has many downsides. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to stop being a perfectionist and start living a more relaxed and productive life. Read on to learn more!
"Focus on progress - not perfection." - Bill Phillips
Is it possible to stop being a perfectionist?
Yes, it is possible to stop being a perfectionist. However, it’s not going to be easy – perfectionism is a deeply-rooted habit that takes time and effort to overcome. But with patience and perseverance, you can do it.
According to research, perfectionism is on the increase. In fact, recent generations perceive that others are more demanding of them. Additionally, recent generations are more demanding of both themselves and others (Curran & Hill; 2017).
Steps to stop being a perfectionist
Here are some tips to help you overcome your perfectionism and achieve your goals:
- Challenge your beliefs about perfectionism
- Make a list of your accomplishments
- Recognize that perfectionism is unattainable
- Acknowledge the negative effects of perfectionism
- Set realistic goals
- Don’t compare yourself to others
- Let go of your need for control
- Accept that mistakes are part of life
- Be mindful
- Practice self-compassion
- Seek professional help
- Enjoy the journey
1. Challenge your beliefs about perfectionism
Often, perfectionism is based on irrational beliefs.
So it’s important to challenge these beliefs and replace them with more realistic ones.
For example, you could believe that “making mistakes is bad” or “I have to be perfect.”
But, these beliefs aren’t based in reality, and they’re actually quite harmful.
So try to replace them with more positive and realistic beliefs, such as “mistakes are a part of life” or “I can be good enough without being perfect”.
2. Make a list of your accomplishments
Perfectionists often have low self-esteem, because they’re always focused on their mistakes. So try to counteract this by focusing on your accomplishments.
Make a list of all the things you’ve done well, and all the things you’re proud of. This will help to boost your self-esteem and make you feel better about yourself.
"Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order." - Anne Wilson Schaef
3. Recognize that perfectionism is an unattainable goal
This means that perfectionists will always be chasing something that they can never achieve.
In fact, the quest for perfectionism will always leave you disappointed and frustrated. So try to relax; you’ll be much happier for it!
4. Acknowledge the negative effects of perfectionism
Undeniably, perfectionism can lead to a lot of negative consequences. It’s important to be aware of these so that you can stay motivated to defeating perfectionism.
This is especially true if you were someone that prided yourself in being a perfectionist.
5. Set realistic goals for yourself
Because perfectionism is an unattainable goal, it’s important to set realistic goals for yourself.
This way, you’ll be less likely to feel frustrated and disappointed.
Personally, I’ve spent so much time rechecking, reevaluating everything that it ends up being time-consuming and mentally exhausting. But, overcoming these perfectionist traits weren’t easy at first, so I had to be intentional.
Want to know what I started with?
That’s right, I send lots of emails everyday and I would recheck every detail several times before I sent it. And, even after I sent the email I would think about if I forgot or made an error.
So, I made a plan to check once, check twice and then just hit send. And, once I hit send, I forget about it because the deed is done.
It may seem simple, but it was a significant start.
6. Don’t compare yourself to others
One of the main causes of perfectionism is comparing yourself to others. So try not to do this, and be happy with who you are.
7. Let go of your need for control
Perfectionists often have a need for control. As such, t’s important to let go of this. This way, you’ll be less stressed and more relaxed.
8. Accept that mistakes are part of life
Because perfectionists often find it difficult to accept anything less than perfect, they are often terrified of making mistakes. So try to accept that mistakes are part of life, and are nothing to be ashamed of.
In fact, I’ve come to believe that since I extend grace to others when they make mistakes, I should be allotted the same when I do as well.
The time and energy I spent trying to avoid mistakes was not productive or remotely healthy. I needed to realize that giving up on perfectionism didn’t have to come at the expense of quality work.
9. Be mindful to stop being a perfectionist
If you have perfectionist traits, your thoughts will continually torment you to keep editing and “improving.” As such, it’s important to be mindful.
Being mindful means being aware of the present moment and your thoughts and feelings. This will help you to relax and let go of perfectionism.
10. Practice self-compassion to defeat perfectionism
Perfectionists are often their own worst critic. So it’s important to practice self-compassion.
This means being kind and understanding to yourself, even when things don’t go as planned.
11. Seek professional help
If you find that you’re struggling to let go of perfectionism, it might be a good idea to seek professional help.
In fact, a therapist can help you to understand the root cause of your perfectionism and give you strategies for overcoming it.
12. Enjoy the journey
As mentioned before, perfectionism is an unattainable goal.
So, try to focus on enjoying the journey and being your best self. This way, you’ll be much happier in life.
"Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination." - Michael Hyatt
Final words on how to stop being a perfectionist
These are some steps that you can take to overcome perfectionism. It won’t be easy, but it’s definitely worth it! Just remember to be patient and take things one step at a time. Good luck!
Do you have any other tips for overcoming perfectionism? Let me know in the comments below.
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Curran T, Hill AP. Perfectionism is increasing over time: A meta-analysis of birth cohort differences from 1989 to 2016. Psychol Bull. 2019 Apr;145(4):410-429.