How to Overcome Perfectionism

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Location: Ios, Greece

Overcoming Perfectionism

Are you one? A perfectionist?

I was never that bad. Not until it came to blogging, at least. Perhaps it’s because this is something I really care about so every detail always needs to be on point, which makes things impossible sometimes. People have told me that being a perfectionist is a good thing, and I guess in some ways, it is. There’s a great attention to detail with everything you do and you don’t ever settle. There is a healthy version of perfectionism, but I’m talking about when it gets taken to the extreme that it becomes dangerous. It’s when you aim for high standards at the expense of everything, from your relationships to your health.

The core of perfectionism is not to do your best. It’s not about self-improvement, it’s about trying to earn approval and acceptance from others.

When you take a risk, your self-worth is on the line, and stakes are always set extremely high. Being a perfectionist is anxiously staying up all night because of finicky details that have been left undone, or it’s choosing something perfect over progress.  It means you’re always focusing on what’s wrong, instead of focusing on what’s going well and building on that. Your best is never good enough and you’re programmed to find the flaws in your own work.

Did you know most people that suffer with perfectionism also deal with anxiety? It does make sense. Perfectionism hinders your productivity and growth, which leads to procrastination and self-doubt, which then leads to anxiety and depression. It’s sort of like a downward spiral.

It’s almost ironic to think a big downside to being a perfectionist is procrastination.

Why? Because a perfectionist tends to conjure up an immaculate vision of how things should be and wont settle for anything less. You start to obsess over everything and become weighed down by every problem. Over time, the frustration of such intricate attention becomes too much, which subsequently leads to putting it off. You can’t progress or move forward.

Being a blogger means I’m in a creative line of work and constantly being compared to others, which is quite the challenge when you’re dealing with perfectionism. Really though, I feel like my anxiety levels have reached an all time high this past year. But it’s also taught me A LOT about dealing with the pressures, and that’s what I want to share with you. If you feel a constant pressure to be perfect – with anything in life – I hope these tips can help you too.

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Focus on progress

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”

This quote has always seemed to resonate with me because I understand how much my need to be perfect has hindered so many potential opportunities. Every single time I’ve found myself at a wall, whether it be writers block, procrastination, or starting something new, I’ve come back to this quote and shifted my focus towards progress. The progress that happens each and every day, with each and every workout, and each and every blog post. Focus on the journey, the steps along the path, instead of the destination.

I used to put off things until the last minute because I was obsessed with making it just right. I think most of us are obsessed with instant gratification and sacrifice improvement over a chance at more. So let’s try a different approach. Focus your efforts on small steps, on small improvements, every single day, instead of focusing solely on the need to be perfect straight away. Celebrate every little victory. Real success doesn’t come overnight. A few examples of this?

Amazon: It launched in 1994, but only incorporated book reviews in 1996, and CD’s came in 1998. Oh and they didn’t make any profits in the first seven years.

Pinterest: Took 4 years for anything to happen & almost went bankrupt. It only gained 200 users in the first 4 months.

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Stop Comparison

Comparing your work, your results, your appearance and your life with others will NEVER work out in your favour. It will only leave your feeling inferior. The best thing blogging has taught me is that everyone is unique and they bring a new set of skills to the table. Everyone has something unique to offer. And this is relevant to life outside the blogging world too. Your set of skills, strengths and weaknesses are completely different from another persons, so how can you possibly compare them? It doesn’t make the other person inadequate, it just makes each person unique.

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is like to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” – Albert Einstein

So compare yourself to yourself. Stay in your own lane. Adapt your mindset to focus on your improvements and see how far you’ve come.

Start before you’re ready

If there’s anything that has become apparent over the past year, it is to start BEFORE you are ready. Don’t wait until the perfect moment because there is never a perfect moment. Better still, don’t wait to make something perfect before you launch. If you want to start a blog, START. Don’t waste time trying to perfect everything. Once you start, then you can start gaining experience and improve whatever it is that you’re doing. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith, even if you don’t know where you’re going to land.

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Look at the big picture

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

Perfectionism thrives in the minute. It picks apart faults and imperfections in every little part of your work. It makes you stress over something as small as what font to use in an email. By looking at the bigger picture, we can avoid hovering over the little cracks. Ask yourself if what you’re stressing over will really affect the overall goal. It’s better to get something done, than to leave it unfinished.

When I redesigned Sunday Chapter, I was so particular about every single detail that it almost drove me insane. I’m fairly certain my web designer wanted to stab me with a knife…? But anyway, the point is, don’t lose yourself too much over the small details. In most cases, you’re the only one who will notice.

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Wearing: ASOS Shorts, Factorie Top (sold out, similar here & here), Forever 21 Sandals (sold out, similar here)

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SO. What are your thoughts on this? Perfectionism is something I’m definitely still struggling with. It’s a hard trait to ditch but I’m a work in progress. Is perfectionism something you deal with or have in the past? Please share your tips – they’re always best!