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Overcoming Perfectionism: How To Develop a Healthier Outlook

Learn to Be Perfectly Imperfect!

By

Updated November 08, 2007

Are You A Perfectionist? Perfectionism can rob you of your peace of mind, enjoyment of life, and self esteem. Though it’s a process that may take a little time, shedding the burden of perfectionism can greatly decrease the level of stress you feel on a daily basis. Here are some important steps you can take to maintain a healthier attitude:

Make a Cost-Benefit Analysis:

Take a closer look at your perfectionistic traits. You may think you’re more effective because of them (although according to research, this probably isn’t true), but at what cost? Perfectionism has many negative consequences, and you may be experiencing several of them right now. Make a list of all the ways perfectionism is hurting you (and those around you), and you’ll be more motivated to shed these tendencies.

Become Aware of Your Tendencies:

You may not realize how pervasive perfectionism can be. By becoming more aware of your patterns, you’re in a better position to alter them. If you’re able, it’s a great idea to record your perfectionistic thoughts as they pop into your head. If it’s impractical for you to jot thoughts down as they come, it’s a great idea to go over your day each night and remember the times when you felt you’d failed, or hadn’t done well enough, and write down what you thought at the time. This will help you become more aware of perfectionistic thoughts as they come to you in the future. (You can even journal about your feelings about these thoughts, but don’t feel you’ve ‘failed’ if you don’t have time to do this!)

See the Positive:

If you’re struggling with perfectionism, you probably have honed the skill of spotting mistakes in even the best works of others and of yourself. You may just naturally look for it, and notice it above all other things. While this habit may be difficult to just stop, you can soften your tendency to notice the bad by making a conscious effort to notice all that is good with your work and the achievements of others. If you notice something you don’t like about yourself or your work, for example, look for five other qualities that you do like. This will balance out your critical focus and become a positive new habit.

Alter Your Self-Talk:

Those who wrestle with perfectionism tend to have a critical voice in their head telling them their work isn’t good enough, they’re not trying hard enough, and they’re not good enough. If you’re going to overcome perfectionism, you need to work on changing this little voice! Negative self talk can perpetuate unhealthy behaviors and wreak havoc on your self esteem; by altering your self talk, you can go a long way toward enjoying life more and gaining an increased appreciation for yourself and your work. These tips can help.

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