Someone once told me that I’m a perfectionist. That didn’t resonate with me because I don’t believe that’s true. In my mind everything that I do doesn’t have to be perfect, good enough works for me, although I do strive for excellence in the things that I do.
Does that make me a perfectionist? No, it doesn’t. I don’t work at something to the point of perfection so that it causes me distress. There are however, people that do this very thing which causes unhealthy issues for them.
The actual definition of a perfectionist, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is as follows – “a disposition to regard anything short of perfection is unacceptable.”
When I started to research this subject, my findings were interesting. There is a lot of good information about perfectionism on the internet, mostly in terms of psychology. Being a perfectionist is not a psychological disorder, but it can cause mental health issues.
Those that feel the need to be perfect in everything they do, are striving to achieve something that is unrealistic, and unattainable. Because of this mindset, some never really do anything to completion. The thought is that if I can’t do it perfect, I don’t even want to try.
As mentioned above, the perfectionist may develop mental health issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. A shift in mindset can avoid these consequences. It may not be easy for those with these ingrained belief’s, although not impossible.
Check out the strategies below to see if any of them resonate with you. If so, you can shift your mindset from perfectionism to good enough. It will take some time, but the end result will help you to avoid mental health issues, and move you in the right direction to live your best life.
Getting to Good Enough
Recognize that you have a perfectionist mindset. This is the first step in the process of change. When you know you have a particular behavior that’s not working for you, you’re in a better position to change that behavior.
Think about the tasks, or projects you’ve done in the past that caused you distress to accomplish. Then think about where the distress came into play.
Was it not finished because you couldn’t get it right?
Did you not turn it in at all because it wasn’t up to your standards?
When you were working on something, did you re-do it over and over again until you were completely stressed out?
Any of these things may indicate that you are a perfectionist.
Lower your standards
We all have self-imposed standards that we strive to achieve, and that’s not a bad thing. It becomes an issue when those standards are so high that we, or actually anyone, could never attain.
There’s nothing wrong with striving for excellence. But not everything you do needs to be done to the nth degree. Determine what the standard is for the task at hand and work toward that level of doneness. Give yourself a break and accept a ‘good enough’ attitude.
Set time limits and rewards
It’s always a good idea to create boundaries in terms of time limits to complete a task. Work deadlines come into play here. That may be the encouragement you need to accept the level of work you’ve done in a pre-determined amount of time.
Figure out some way to reward yourself when your time is up and you achieved the ‘good enough’ goal. Rewards are a good motivation tool.
All of us have that niggling inner voice that creates self-doubt about our abilities. It can derail us if we aren’t careful.
When you’re working and a negative thought pops into your head, turn it around to focus on a positive note. Maybe focus on how much you’ve gotten done so far, or the reward you’re getting when you’ve gotten to ‘good enough’.