Being motivated is great. But there’s a big difference between healthy motivation and aiming for perfection. Healthy motivation looks like self-focus, self-compassion, and having a growth mindset, while perfection is more about people-pleasing, fear, and control.
Perfectionism can also be learned by growing up around perfectionist parents. Maybe you used to hear them openly criticize themselves, or second-guess their choices, or blame themselves for your missteps. If so, it’s easy to see how you could pick up those behaviours yourself.
To-do lists can help perfectionists move past our paralysis. They may find making a list to be a reassuring guide to their day.
But there's also a risk: to-do lists can backfire if they become yet another report card we perfectionists use to evaluate ourselves too harshly.
Try to identify things you avoided due to fear of failure and situations where your perfectionism wasn’t worth it or moments where you did well despite being uncertain.
Your objective here is to learn where perfectionism has a positive impact and where it does not.
If criticism makes you defensive, an attitude change can help.
Constructive criticism can show you how to improve, making your less-than-perfect performances into steps towards excellence. If the criticism you’re receiving is pointed or harsh, it’s okay to remind others and yourself that mistakes are a great way to learn.
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