How To Stop Being A Perfectionist

Being a perfectionist could be difficult for any person. Where you may think a high-achiever and a perfectionist are the same, high achievers are usually motivated to do their best.

In contrast, perfectionists are motivated by the idea of failure. Perfectionism can greatly damage a person’s self-esteem and enjoyment of life. So, how can you stop being a perfectionist?

1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

Most perfectionists constantly battle feelings of inadequacy, making them more prone to comparing themselves to social groups.

This may lead to focusing on what other people of their age group do and convincing themselves they are falling behind. 

Instead of comparing yourself to others around you, challenge your negative judgments towards yourself by finding your purpose and using it to cultivate a sense of meaning in your life. 

When you look at your life from a broader perspective, you may be able to create a more compassionate outlook toward your life and yourself.

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others (The 5 Questions to Ask Yourself)

2. Become Aware Of Your Tendencies

The most important step to stop being a perfectionist would be to become more aware of your perfectionist tendencies and destructive thoughts.

Spend time to pause your life, and pay more attention to your thought patterns regarding perfectionism. 

You could try to write your thoughts down, which may help you to understand them better.

Once you are fully aware of how you allow perfectionism to control your life, you may be more able to alter your self-talk around what may be causing the issue.

3. Make Changes

Start your journey of stopping to be a perfectionist by making the smallest changes that could challenge your way of thinking.

Slowly ease yourself into new habits. 

Approach each change as little experiments, and evaluate each result of every habit you try to break. 

For instance, if your tendencies as a perfectionist cause you to overthink every time you need to type an email, try to make a note only to spend a few minutes outlining your thoughts and proofreading them once before sending them. 

You may also want to consider timing yourself as you complete each of your daily tasks and create smaller goals to limit the extra time you spend debating the quality of your work.

woman typing on a laptop

4. Avoid Negative Influences

Any perfectionist must monitor how certain things influence them, such as books, podcasts, social media, movies, and TV.

These things can glamorize perfectionism, which should never be done. 

A perfectionist should be especially cautious of how all social media platforms promote a narrative of “hustle culture” and perfectionism in any field of work. 

If you feel you need to delete or limit your exposure to such channels, this could help you significantly in your quest to stray from perfectionism.

5. Know Your Strengths

If you feel like you are constantly battling your perfectionist tendencies, you probably spend most of your time only focusing on your limitations and setbacks. 

Instead, it would help you to identify and learn your strengths. This would include things you do well in your life, especially in your field of work and with your friends, family, or romantic relationships. 

If you learn to identify your strengths, it will increase your resilience and build your confidence.

These things will also point directly at you as a person, which means your success won’t influence them.

6. Create Reachable Goals

Setting goals can help you to shift your focus on the things that matter most in your field of work, and it could help you to motivate yourself.

However, setting unrealistic goals in an unrealistic timeframe could have the opposite effect, leaving you helpless and unmotivated. 

If you want to work on setting goals to stop being a perfectionist, it would be best to set realistic goals.

Make sure you know you can achieve these goals without burning yourself out or that will have no negative consequences if you do not achieve them. 

Using SMART goals to set realistic goals and achieve them will benefit everyone who wants to stop being a perfectionist. 

This means you need to create goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based
Setting SMART Goals - How To Properly Set a Goal (animated)

7. Embrace The Possibility Of Failure

As a perfectionist, you may find it challenging or impossible to move on when things don’t go as planned.

When something isn’t perfect, you may have difficulty accepting it. 

The fear of failure is the most frightening prospect for a perfectionist, as they put all their weight on the results, causing them to be crushed by any task that is less than perfect. 

In addition, it could be difficult to start with something unfamiliar to new, as anything less than ideal is seen as a failure. 

While it may not be in your hands to determine the outcome of your work and efforts, it is in your hands to learn from your mistakes and develop a positive mindset that will help and allow you to rise above the things you see as failures.

8. Say “No” When You Need To

Most perfectionists are also opportunists and try to embrace every opportunity they get.

However, if you agree to every opportunity and task, you can easily become overwhelmed with too much work you need to complete perfectly. 

Instead, it might be best to turn down any extra task that may be different from your core passions. 

Learning how and when to say “no” will allow you to control your workload much better and invest in yourself and your best skills.

It would also allow you to spend more energy and effort on your most important work.

man saying no with raised hand

9. Look For Support

Perhaps the best thing about trying to stop being a perfectionist is knowing that you are never alone in your journey.

Overcoming your perfectionism will be a long and gradual process, and it could be next to impossible to cope with this process on your own. 

Try to develop a support system or seek help from a life coach or therapist.

Professionals will be able to help you target your beliefs and thoughts and the limitations you may have placed on yourself.

They can also give you much-needed pointers to help you to stop being a perfectionist.

If you are healing from perfectionism, it’s important to realize that you are not giving up your ambition or settling for less. 

It will teach you that you can reach your goals without being perfect and without breaking yourself down by negative self-criticism.

Take it one day at a time, reminding yourself of all the things that bring you joy along the way.

10. Accept Yourself

A perfectionist’s inability to accept the flaws in others and themselves is the primary trigger for their behavior, which could hinder them from letting go of certain things.

The best approach to accepting and helping stop your behavior would be to talk to yourself about your weaknesses and strengths. 

Make it a habit to praise yourself for your little accomplishments instead of being hindered by all the things you have not achieved.

If you accept yourself, you will know where to improve on your road to quitting perfectionism.