Being a perfectionist is someone who refuses to accept any standard short of flawless. Although that sounds like a great attribute to have, it can actually be extremely negative as you can’t always reach your perfect standards. Perfectionism can be hard to tackle but here’s some tips on learning how to defeat it.
If you’re a perfectionist, anything less than perfect can be a daunting thought. This can lead to taking any form of constructive criticism badly. However, rather than being defensive of your work, you need to take the criticism as advice and room for improvement to be able to reach your goals. For example, you could be working on a project at work and a colleague could mention a few areas to improve. Being defensive could worsen your relationship with the colleague and affect the quality of work. They’re only trying to help you produce the best work you possibly can!
Procrastinating is consistently delaying a task to do other tasks. Although it doesn’t sound like something a perfectionist would do, procrastination and perfectionism go together hand in hand. This is because a perfectionist would fear potential failure on a task and then delay it as they don’t want to do the task if it isn’t up to their standards. One way of getting around procrastination is to put a reward in place for doing the task at hand, this then gives you a bit of extra motivation to hit your goals.
Fear of Failure/Depressed by unmet Goals
The fear of failure is the largest trait linked to perfectionism. In short it means, you may not even attempt the task as you’re scared of failing or not achieving your standard of work. This can take a toll on a perfectionist as it can lead to tasks at work to pile up as they’re too scared to complete them. To work around this, it's key to think positively about your goals and know that even if you don’t hit your goals, it isn’t the end of the world. Many success stories start from failure such as Steve Jobs & Walt Disney. Similarly, being depressed by goals you may not have reached can stop you from moving onto your next task or trying new things. There is no harm in not meeting your goals on the first attempt, if anything it allows you to improve your abilities and smash your goal in future!
Setting your standards too high can link to all of the traits mentioned above. If you’re setting your standards too high, you may not meet them which leads to procrastination and also being depressed by not reaching the goal. When setting standards or setting a goal for yourself it's important to have smaller manageable goals within the big dream. The best example of this is someone who has never ran in their life wanting to run a marathon in under 4 hours. They wouldn’t start on Day 1 and try to run a marathon! They’d start with smaller manageable distances of a few miles, then try to improve their speed over time, then increase the distance until they hit marathon distance and hit their goal time.
development perfectionism self-improvement self-talk