We all want the best for ourselves. Whether it's a job, a relationship, a material possession, or anything — we want it to be "just right." But sometimes our high standards can get in our way of happiness, and our desire for everything to be perfect can become our own worst enemy.
Perfectionism can be defined as setting impossibly high criteria for yourself that can lead to frustration, disappointment, exhaustion, and feeling of failure. While there is nothing wrong with aiming and working for the better, but, having a mental state where you're never satisfied with the results can be detrimental for your mental health and success.
Overcoming perfectionism is essential for us to be content with our lives. Let's have a look at the top 10 tips that can help you overcome perfectionism.
1. Recognize Perfectionism
The first step towards solving a problem is understanding that the problem exists in the first place. Are you doing too much? Are you aiming for all or nothing? Are you highly critical of yourself and others? Are you thinking in extremes?
Is there any room for mistakes in your life? Is your success never enough? Being honest with yourself and rationally assessing your situation will help you understand where you're wrong and why you need to correct yourself.
2. Set SMART Goals
Setting unrealistic goals is one of the most significant flaws of perfectionism. "I want the best and best only." A goal that is forever out of your reach will only make you frustrated, destroy your self-confidence and increase your stress levels. Instead set SMART goals.
A SMART goal means that your aim should be Specific, your expectations should be Measurable, your goal should be Attainable and in reach, Relevant to your task and you should be able to Track your progress along the way. Going through this checklist will help you see where you're heading off and how you can set more realistic and attainable goals.
3. Lower your Expectations Instead of your Standards
It's easy to say "Lower your standards," but if it were that easy, you wouldn't be a perfectionist in the first place. You can keep your standards high and lower them with time, but you need to lower your expectations right now. Expectations are the beliefs that what you want is going to happen in the future.
So, if you are developing a new project, you might have expectations that it will be an overnight success and it will quickly change your business and life straightaway. This is wrong. You have to keep your expectations realistic and understand that things take time, and you will achieve success in a step-by-step manner.
4. Learn how to handle criticism
Criticism is a hard pill to swallow and no one likes to be criticized. Especially if you have perfectionism, criticism can seem like an insult or even a personal attack. You have to understand that although toxic criticism is bad, sometimes criticism can be constructive and actually help us see the flaws about ourselves we were unaware of.
The same goes for self-criticism. You don't have to be too hard on yourself. You have to understand that all humans, no matter how successful are flawed in some ways. Accept your flaws and have some room for improvement all the time.
5. Don't Follow the Crowd
Often our extremely high standards are not set by our own self, it's rather set by the world that influences us. Society, Social media, TV shows and movies can make us yearn for things that are normally not that easily achievable.
We may not even want those things in the first place, but the people and society that influence us can make us develop goals that are more focused to please the world rather than please ourselves. We have to see where we're blindly running after a tradition and whether what we're working so hard for is even really worth it for us or not.
6. Recognize the Must Haves, and Nice to haves
A perfectionist may want to have everything, and right NOW. Often the things that we are working that hard for are not that necessary in the first place. You have to prioritize what goals are necessary for you to achieve and what goals will feel nice to achieve but aren't that important.
Getting a sports car is nice but it's not as important as getting your own house. Working hard and stressing over an objective that is not really that significant is not always important. Prioritize your goals and see what you're working so hard for is even that necessary in the first place or not.
7. Accept "Good Enough"
You don't always have to be the best. Always striving for more and more can be a never-ending journey. More does not always mean better, in fact, having too many high standards of living often only adds to your stress and worries instead of making your life easier.
This does not mean you slack off and try to become content with something you're not happy with. It means to balance your life and know when things are good enough to stop.
8. Realize you may hurt yourself and others
Your high standards may not only add stress to your life, but to the life of people around you. It may sound good and wonderful to you, but not exactly as good to people that are associated with you. So, you might be adding difficulties to the lives of those people too.
When perfectionism takes over your life, it can even cause serious harm such as breaking off relationships, projects, jobs, etc. and damaging your mental and physical health. Your perfectionism might because of unnecessary pain to both you and the people around you.
9. Reduce the Sources inducing Perfectionism in You
Observe your life and see why you are having such extreme tendencies in the first place. Is it because of magazines, TV shows, your friend circle or something else? Sometimes, there are factors pressurizing us to have such goals and identifying these sources can help us break the cycle.
See where your motivation is coming from and see what you can do to avoid or reduce such sources. When you get rid of your motivation, you won't feel as much pressurized to go after these goals and it will help you focus on living a content life.
10. Enjoy the Ride
Perfectionism is always focused on the destination. Finally achieving a goal is not always the best part, it's the fun you have along the way that counts.
Appreciate and enjoy the small achievements you have during the process. You should learn to enjoy even the small things life has to offer and overcome your perfectionist tendencies. You will feel less stressed, enjoy life more and allow yourself to have fun along the way.
Perfectionism is a mental trap we often put ourselves into. Although some people think of perfectionism as something positive that pushes us forward, in reality focusing on too much perfect robs us of our joys and makes even a good life less enjoyable. Going through these tips will help you understand and cope with perfectionism so you can live more happy and satisfied lives.