If perfectionism is holding you back, say goodbye to these 9 habits

Perfectionism can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it drives us to strive for excellence, but on the other, it can cripple us, preventing progress.

The problem lies with the unhealthy habits that perfectionism fosters. They can keep you stuck in a rut, unable to move forward.

Kicking these habits to the curb is key to releasing the shackles of perfectionism. In this article, we’ll explore 9 habits you need to bid goodbye to if perfectionism is holding you back.

Ready to break free? Let’s dive in.

1) Overthinking every decision

Perfectionism can often lead to a state of analysis paralysis, where you spend so much time considering every possible outcome that you struggle to make any decision at all.

And this isn’t just about big life decisions. It might be as simple as spending an hour deciding what to eat for dinner. When every choice carries the weight of needing to be perfect, even the smallest decisions can become debilitating.

The key is to recognize when good enough is actually good enough. Not every decision needs to be perfect, and often, making any decision at all is better than remaining stagnant.

So if you find yourself overthinking every choice, it might be time to step back and say goodbye to this perfectionist habit. It’s not easy, but it’s an important step towards overcoming the shackles of perfectionism.

2) Waiting for the perfect moment

This is a trap I’ve fallen into more times than I can count. As a perfectionist, I used to constantly wait for the ‘perfect’ moment to start a project or take on a new challenge.

But here’s the thing – that ‘perfect’ moment? It never arrives. Life is unpredictable, and waiting for everything to align perfectly usually means never taking action at all.

A personal example: I once postponed starting a fitness routine because I wanted to wait until I had the perfect workout gear, the perfect training plan, and enough free time to devote to it.

Guess what? That ‘perfect’ time never came. Instead, I realized that I just had to start with what I had and adjust along the way.

So if you’re always waiting for the perfect moment, it’s time to let go of this habit. Start where you are, use what you have, and remember that progress is better than perfection.

3) Setting unattainable goals

Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself and aim for progress. But as a perfectionist, it’s easy to set the bar so high that it becomes impossible to reach.

Consider Mount Everest. Standing at a staggering 8,848 meters, it’s the highest mountain on Earth. Many climbers aspire to reach its summit, but only a few succeed.

The reason? It’s not just about physical strength or endurance. It’s about setting realistic, attainable goals. Trying to climb Everest without proper training or acclimatization can be fatal.

The same principle applies to everyday life. If your goals are always out of reach, you’re setting yourself up for constant failure and disappointment.

Instead, aim for smaller, attainable goals that lead towards your ultimate objective. It’s better to take one step forward than to stand still because the leap seems too large.

4) Fear of making mistakes

Mistakes are a part of life. They help us learn, grow and improve. But for a perfectionist, the thought of making a mistake can be paralyzing.

The fear of doing something wrong can stop you from trying new things or stepping out of your comfort zone. It can keep you stuck in a cycle of self-doubt and anxiety.

But here’s the truth: nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. What sets successful people apart is not that they never make mistakes, but that they learn from them and keep going.

So if fear of making mistakes is holding you back, it’s time to let it go. Embrace the possibility of failure as a chance to learn and grow, rather than something to be feared.

5) Constant comparison with others

In this era of social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with others. We see their highlights and compare them to our behind-the-scenes, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy.

As a perfectionist, you might find yourself constantly measuring your progress against others. But remember, everyone is on their own unique journey, with different starting points and different challenges.

What matters is not how you stack up against others, but how you’re progressing compared to where you were yesterday.

So if you’re in the habit of comparing yourself to others, it’s time to say goodbye. Focus on your own growth and progress instead. It will be a lot more rewarding in the end.

6) Neglecting self-care

In the pursuit of perfection, it’s easy to put ourselves last. We push ourselves to the brink, ignoring our well-being for the sake of achieving more.

But this is a dangerous path. Neglecting self-care can lead to burnout, health problems, and even impact our relationships. It’s like running a car without ever changing the oil or checking the tires. Eventually, it’s going to break down.

Remember, you are your most important asset. Taking care of your physical and mental health is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

So if you’re neglecting self-care in your pursuit of perfection, take a step back. Start prioritizing your well-being. It’s not only essential for your health, but also for your productivity and success.

7) Being overly critical of oneself

There was a point in my life when no matter what I achieved, it never felt enough. I would always find faults in my work, nitpicking every detail. This constant self-criticism took a toll on my confidence and happiness.

The root of this issue? Perfectionism. The desire to get everything right, every time, can lead to an unhealthy level of self-criticism.

Being critical of your work is one thing, but when it becomes a habit to always find faults in what you do, it’s time to reassess. It’s essential to learn how to celebrate your wins, no matter how small they may seem, and not dwell solely on the negatives.

Life is a journey of constant learning and improvement. So next time you achieve something, give yourself the credit you deserve.

8) Procrastinating due to fear of imperfection

Procrastination is often a side effect of perfectionism. The fear of not being able to complete a task perfectly can lead to delaying or avoiding it altogether.

But here’s the thing: procrastination doesn’t help us achieve perfection. In fact, it often leads to rushed, last-minute efforts that fall short of our high standards.

The key is to start. Break down tasks into manageable chunks and tackle them one at a time. Remember, progress is more important than perfection.

So if you find yourself procrastinating because you fear your work won’t be perfect, it’s time to let go of this habit. Start small, make progress, and remember that done is often better than perfect.

9) Believing perfection is the only path to success

Success comes in many forms, and it rarely looks like a perfect straight line. The belief that perfection is the only path to success can limit your potential and hold you back.

The truth is, success often comes from learning, adapting, and growing through our imperfections. It’s about resilience, determination, and the ability to bounce back from failures.

So if you’re holding onto the belief that perfection is the only route to success, it’s time to let go. Embrace the perfectly imperfect journey towards your goals. Remember, it’s the journey that shapes us, not just the destination.

Embracing the beauty of imperfection

The heart of human experience lies in the art of embracing imperfection. In fact, the Japanese have a concept for this known as “Wabi-Sabi,” which sees beauty in the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

Perfectionism, while it may drive us to strive for excellence, can also be a barrier to our growth and happiness. It’s a cage that confines us within the walls of unattainable standards.

But it’s essential to remember that our flaws and failures don’t define us; rather, they contribute to our unique narrative, making us who we are.

Letting go of perfectionism isn’t about settling for mediocrity. It’s about finding freedom in accepting that we are works in progress and that it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s about valuing effort and growth over flawless outcomes.

As you reflect on these habits and consider how they may be holding you back, remember this: you are enough just as you are. Your worth is not contingent on attaining perfection. Embrace your imperfections, for they make you uniquely you.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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