Five steps to overcome perfectionism

Last updated on May 02, 24

Posted on May 02, 24

2 min read

Perfectionism is often thought of as a desire for excellence. It is in fact a complex personality trait defined by very high standards and an inability to accept anything less than perfect.
Perfectionism can drive high achievement, motivation, and efficiency. But it can also result in stress, low self-esteem, and strained relationships.
Unhelpful thinking habits and behaviours, our interpretation of the world around us, and the high standards we set for ourselves are part of perfectionism. Recognizing and challenging these patterns is important for good mental health.

Here are five steps to loosen the grasp of perfectionism:

Recognize Perfectionist Tendencies
The first step in overcoming perfectionism is self-awareness. Reflect on the following questions: Do you constantly feel anxious or frustrated when trying to meet your standards? Do others perceive you as excessively hard on yourself or others? Acknowledge these tendencies with kindness and without judgment.

Change Your Thoughts

Our thoughts impact our feelings, which impact our behaviours. Incorporate realistic thinking to offset perfectionistic behaviours: “Nobody is perfect, everyone makes mistakes.” It’s important to adjust our perspective by considering the bigger picture and the inevitability of mistakes. Learn to compromise and embrace imperfection as part of the journey towards growth.

Confront Perfectionist Tendencies

Combat the fear of failure by deliberating making small, insignificant mistakes and learn to accept that not everything needs to be perfect all the time. Sometimes “good enough” really is good enough. This helps to build resilience in a powerful way. Overcome procrastination by setting realistic schedules and breaking down large tasks into manageable chunks. Do not personalize failure and shift your focus from outcomes to progress. This will help you to embrace the journey of learning and growth.

Prioritize Self-Care

Amid the relentless pursuit of perfection, self-care often takes a backseat. However, it is a cornerstone of emotional and mental wellness. Integrate self-care practices into your daily routine, prioritizing your well-being to avoid burnout.

Cultivate Self-Compassion

We are often our own biggest critics, especially perfectionists. Instead of self-criticism, practice self-compassion. Celebrate your efforts and small victories. This will serve as motivation to carry on without being overwhelmed. Offer yourself grace and credit when possible – you deserve it!
Overcoming perfectionism is a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. Through this transformative process of accepting and embracing imperfection, we create a life of balance, fulfillment, and overall wellness. It’s not about achieving perfection, but about embracing our humanity and the beauty found within our imperfections.

Woolwich Counselling Centre is a nonprofit counselling agency that creates awareness and provides education to promote emotional and mental wellness for individuals, families, businesses, and others in Woolwich and Wellesley. Check out their upcoming small group therapy sessions and workshops at

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