I am a perfectionist, and I know very well how exhausting and difficult that can be. If things don’t go exactly as planned or the vision I see in my head doesn’t match reality, I have trouble accepting that and moving on. I’m sure many of you can relate, and, like me, you might be looking for ways to stop this detrimental behavior. While I’m still working on it, here are a few things that have helped me.
- Intentionally do things badly. Whether it’s something you know you can do well or something you absolutely cannot do, no matter how hard you try, permit yourself to mess up. Have fun with it because there are no stakes. You’ll see that if you fail, the world won’t end.
- Learn instead of lament. Instead of feeling down or beating yourself up if it didn’t go as planned, figure out what went wrong and try to find ways to work around that for next time. Never give up—learn from your mistakes and use them as stepping stones to success.
- Highlight the little successes. For me, this means journaling every night and recording what I did that day. This helps me because I always start the day with ambitious plans and rarely accomplish them, so when I write down what I did do, I usually see that I still achieved a lot, even if it wasn’t everything I had planned. Maybe journaling will work for you too, or maybe you like celebrating the wins as they come, or maybe you just set small goals for yourself that you know you can meet.
I know these tips won’t work for everyone, and I know there are times when failure has consequences, but that’s not always the case. Give yourself a break when you can, and allow yourself to give less than 100%. Your future self will thank you for it.