When Perfectionism Becomes a Problem

Dear Daughters,

Being self-aware is an important skill to have. However, being too critical can be harmful to your productivity and self-confidence.

Common Signs of Perfectionism

Commons signs of perfectionism include:

  • Overthinking simple tasks that take only a few minutes to complete.
  • Focusing on what you can do in the future instead of what you can do in the present.
  • Worrying about what other people think of your goals and progress.
  • Feeling like you are never succeeding enough.
  • Procrastinating until the “time is right” or the conditions to work are most ideal.
  • Feeling depressed when you do not achieve your goals.
  • Frequently feeling critical of yourself and others.
  • Feeling an extreme fear of failure.
  • Taking copious amounts of time to make sure most things are absolutely error-free.

Constantly working to improve your overall lifestyle can be beneficial, as long as you are able to focus on growing in a healthy and constructive way. Keep the following tips in mind when striving and working towards self-improvement in all areas of your life.

Break Long-term Goals into Steps

Change, unfortunately, does not occur over night. Consider breaking a big goal into manageable daily goals. For example, if you want to get into better shape, start with 30 minutes of daily moderate exercise. Planning to complete an hour-and-a-half workout everyday may sound enticing to the over-achiever, but there are other factors to consider. If you work out too hard or too fast without proper training, you are more prone to injury and burnout.  Once you have established a routine, try gradually increasing the intensity and duration as you see fit for the most enjoyable results.

Focus on the Positives

Often times, pessimism is a side-effect of perfectionism. Even though it may be hard to think positively when you are feeling critical, try writing down a list of the accomplishments you are most proud of. Boosting your morale can motivate you to continue to focus on your goals.

Switch Activities

If you have many projects that you would like to complete, try rotating between them. For example, you can do one activity for an hour, then the next for another hour. This strategy will prevent burnout and keep your interest piqued.

Meditate or Exercise

For perfectionists, it can be difficult to stay focused with so many projects to handle. Mentally refresh yourself to prepare for you next task by stepping away from your project for a while. When you begin to experience burnout or frustration, try closing your eyes with the intention of clearing your mind from tension and worry. You may also want to try taking a mental break by engaging in physical activities such as jogging or biking. Exercising regularly will give you the endorphins you need to get back to work.

Stop Procrastinating

Overthinking can be detrimental to your productivity. Remember that you do not have to be the best at something right off the bat. Focus on the excitement of trying and learning new material. Many activities take years to perfect, so aim for  consistent progress rather than immediate progress. Instead of planning to start doing something in the future, focus on what you can begin now.

Think Realistically

No matter how hard you try, sometimes you will experience unproductive days. There will be times when you feel unfocused or doubtful, but those feelings will pass. Remember that setbacks are natural and are crucial in building the resilience you need to achieve your biggest goals.

As Always,

Love Mom

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