5 Things You Need to Know About Perfectionism in Your Twenties
posted on June 22, 2017 | by Sam Brown
I’m a perfectionist, but it might not look like it at first. I don’t have amazing attention to detail and I’m definitely not a neat freak (just ask my boyfriend). But I do tick all the other boxes – people pleasing, procrastinating and putting an absolutely insane amount of pressure on myself to have everything figured out.
And it was only once I realized perfectionism had been running (and ruling) my life that I could finally start doing something to change it. So here are 5 things I wish I’d known about perfectionism WAY earlier. Plus, some things you can do today to change your perfectionist mindset.
1. It’s fear.
Yes, we’re ambitious. But those insanely high standards we set for ourselves isn’t ambition talking. It’s fear. Fear of rejection, fear of judgment, fear of criticism, fear of failure. We constantly try to do more, achieve more and be more in order to protect ourselves from ‘what other people will think’. It’s no wonder we constantly burn ourselves out but still never feel like we’ve done enough.
2. It makes us achieve less, not more.
While we can be fooled into believing that perfectionism helps us achieve our goals, it actually does the opposite. For one, it makes us downgrade our goals because we’re terrified of disappointing ourselves (yet again). Secondly, we take forever to get started because we want everything figured out before we begin. And once we do start, we abandon our goal at the first sign of failure! So please trust me when I say that letting go of perfectionism does not mean letting go of achievement.
3. It makes us procrastinate.
Perfectionism and procrastination are a match made in heaven. And that’s because the standards we set for ourselves are so high and feel so out of reach that we feel like there’s no point even trying. This is why perfectionists love pretty stationery, writing endless to-do lists and bullet journals—at least we feel productive while we’re procrastinating on our goals! It’s also why we leave things (like assignments) until the last minute. As the deadline gets closer we’re forced to drop our standards and can finally start getting shit done! If you struggle with procrastination, this might help!
4. It looks like laziness.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that perfectionism can easily look like laziness and a lack of motivation. And that’s because perfectionism makes us shrink our world so we’re only doing things we’re good at. Which means we abandon healthy habits the moment we slip up, we struggle to stay consistent and we spend way too much time planning. The good news is we’re not actually lazy, we just need to learn how to do things we aren’t good at (at least in the beginning).
5. It isn’t ‘who you are’.
Perfectionism is a mindset and, like any mindset, it can be changed! I’m not going to lie, there are times when I find myself right back in my old procrastination habits. I become paralyzed by the familiar fear that my best will never be good enough.
But once I realized perfectionism was the only thing stopping me from getting my shit together, I made it my mission to figure out how to get out of my own way. And I’ve learned SO much about how to change my perfectionist mindset that I decided to share everything in a free 7-day challenge for perfectionists.
Are you a perfectionist?
Do you have any advice to share?