Perfectionism refers to self-defeating thoughts and behaviours associated with high and unrealistic goals.
Strict perfectionist attitudes actually interfere with success. By never allowing yourself a sense of satisfaction for your achievements you may achieve far less than people with more realistic goals.
The first step is to realise that perfection is unattainable.
The next step is to challenge the self-defeating thoughts and behaviours that fuel perfectionism.
Set realistic and reachable goals based on your own wants and needs and on what you have accomplished in the past.
Set goals in a sequential manner. As you reach one, set your next goal one level beyond your present level.
Experiment with your standards for success. Try for 90%, 80%, or even 60% success. You will realise that the world does not end when you are not perfect.
Concentrate on the activity, not just the end result. Evaluate your success not only in terms of accomplishment but also in terms of enjoyment.
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Recognise and challenge negative thoughts constructively.
Challenge common thoughts such as "I'm not good enough" by asking "Did I set an impossible expectation for myself?" You can then reassess what you have achieved and how to set better targets in future.
Many positive things can only be learned by making mistakes. Ask "What can I learn from this experience?"
Learn to discriminate between high priority tasks and those that are less important to you. On less important tasks, choose to put in less effort.
Set goals based on your own wants and desires, not the expectations of others.
Goals should be realistic, internal, and attainable.
Workshops and groups
If you're struggling with perfectionism you might find it helpful to attend one of the following workshops:
See our Workshops and groups page for other workshops that may help with your wellbeing.