Perfectionism is a mindset and a set of self-sabotaging behaviors that can cause a person to act contrary to their goals. Even though it seems like perfectionism is their pathway to success, it is truthfully a detour and can block their success.
There are certain characteristics that perfectionists possess that often make success more elusive than attainable.
Overcoming Perfectionistic Tendencies
Perfectionism can be a hindrance and an ultimate block to achieving success, all because of self-sabotaging behaviors. This is when you need to learn how to overcome your perfectionistic tendencies so it doesn’t harm you emotionally.
Don't Compare Yourself with Others
It's difficult to appreciate your own value if you are constantly comparing yourself to others. You may be comparing yourself to friends, other family members, or even people you don’t even know personally.
If you are looking on social media at everyone else's so-called ‘achievements’ and then thinking you have inadequacies, think again! The people on social media are only sharing what they want you to see. They may not have achieved anything at all for all you know. If you compare your success with high-profile figures, you are doing yourself an even bigger disservice.
Comparing ourselves to other people is unnecessary and only a burden that'll keep us off track.
Set SMART Goals
Goals are great, but not executing your goals will not lead you to progress. Try setting ‘specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound’ goals. If your goals are excessively unrealistic, they can overwhelm you with anxiety, doubt, and fear. So be smart and make smart goals!
Aim For Progress Not Perfection
Start challenging your thoughts about yourself. When you do, stop any negative self-talk that's making you procrastinate and not take action. Being a perfectionist can hold you back from progressing, as it keeps you bound by fear. You may be overthinking everything until your thoughts consume you with fear.
So be aware of your thoughts. Chances are it's the reason why you're not progressing towards your end goals. Progress is more important than perfection. There's usually no such thing as ‘the right time.’ Don’t wait for there to be one.
You may have had tasks to complete for days, months, or even years. Start that project that is holding you back from moving forward today. You may surprise yourself with how quickly it is done with a little bit of action. Remember it doesn’t need to be actioned perfectly!
Don't Be Afraid of Making a Mistake
If there's been something you've been planning to do for a while, and all that you need to do is take action, is it that you are afraid to make a mistake, or make a decision that could result in failure? Not taking action may not create any mistakes or failures, but it will definitely keep you standing in the same place.
"Never hold back from firing the arrow if all that paralyzes you is the fear of making a mistake." – Paulo Coelho
Cultivate a Growth Mindset
One of the most important mindsets to cultivate when overcoming perfectionism is a mindset geared towards growth. A growth mindset strives for progress, regardless of your natural talents and abilities.
It's putting all your judgments about yourself in the backseat and allowing positive action to determine your future. Believe that you can, and take action that reflects this positive belief in yourself.
Unlock Your Full Potential: Explore our Personal Development Checklists
Ease Down On Being Perfect
To summarize, if you realize that you are a perfectionist and that you are damaging your chances of being happy right now, here is what you can start doing.
• Stop being too hard on yourself and avoid negative self-talk.
• Accept your mistakes and don’t think of yourself as a failure.
• Know that not everything can be completed perfectly. You are human after all. Accept less than perfect outcomes.
• Accept that you cannot control everything. You don’t want to be a control freak as well as a perfectionist!
• Stop stressing about what other people are doing. Know that they are doing it to the best of their ability. If they’re not, that’s their problem, so try not to make it yours!
• Tone down your perfectionism by making realistic and achievable goals.
• Don’t expect too much from yourself or others.
• Admit that being perfect is next to impossible.
• Start overcoming your perfectionism right now with a little test. Do one thing you have procrastinated on lately for fear of failing or making a boo-boo. Remember you don’t need to get a perfect score.