Top Ten Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism
by Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
When it comes to improving and managing PCOS symptoms, many women put an impossible amount of pressure on themselves to maintain their routines perfectly in an effort to meet their personal goals. We recognize visible progress and begin to think that, if we slip up, our efforts are all for naught. Taking control of our lives can be a wonderful and empowering decision, as long as control doesn’t keep us from living our fullest and happiest lives.
Overcoming perfectionism is no simple feat, but here are 10 tips to help you embrace your imperfect self and begin to love it perfectly—as it is.
- Step back and see the bigger picture. For perfectionists, it’s easy to hyper-focus on all of the specifics that seem important, but are actually quite trivial in the grand scheme of things. Don’t let the small things hinder you from reaching your goals in an effective and appropriate fashion. When you feel like you’re getting caught up in the particulars, remind yourself of the end goal and ask yourself if the thing you’re fixated upon will truly make a difference in achieving it.
- Develop faith in others. You trust your routine, your habits, and your work more than anyone else’s because you know you can get the job done right. By definition, perfectionists are detail oriented and painstakingly precise. Unfortunately, this attention to detail usually stems from a fear of our work being perceived as “sloppy,” “unfinished,” or “halfheartedly done.” When we delegate work to others, we often find that it isn’t up to par with our personal standards, and yet, on the other hand, placing all the responsibility on ourselves can be stressful and ultimately detrimental to our mental and physical health. Learning to let things out of our hands and trusting others to step in is difficult, but will prove to be a tremendous relief, and one that you’ll feel in every aspect of your life.
- Understand the value of making mistakes. Think about it—if we didn’t mistakes, we’d never learn much of anything. Our shortcomings are what shape us and make us stronger, so we need to appreciate them, learn from them, and move forward, rather than waste copious amounts of time mulling over what could have/would have/should have been done.
- Adjust your goals and expectations to be more attainable. Perfectionists have a tendency to view life as a series of goals that need to be met and checked off. Instead, try fine-tuning your mentality and start to visualize life as a journey. It’s not always about checking the box; sometimes it’s enough to know you’re progressing in the right direction. There isn’t always an absolute objective or endpoint. A huge proponent of a happier lifestyle is making goals that you know you’re capable of attaining.
- If you can’t control it, let it go. There’s no doubt about it, perfectionism is a constant internal power struggle. Stop fighting the things you can’t control and have no power to change. Redirect that passionate energy towards the things that are within your control. Recognize that your best is enough.
- Try to understand your perfectionism. Try to think about the reasons that you’re striving for perfection in the first place: are you seeking the approval of others? Are you unhappy with yourself? Is your perfectionism a means of coping? Remind yourself that you are worthy and surround yourself with people who see and value your worth.
- Acknowledge that if something isn’t perfect, it’s not always failure. There’s an enormous difference between failure and imperfection. As stated earlier, ideals shouldn’t be absolutes, but rather directions to work toward. If you become too attached to the goal, you fail to realize how far you’ve come from the starting point.
- Don’t dwell on your perceived shortcomings. We’ve all heard the saying “you are your harshest critic,” and this is especially the case for perfectionists. Nobody looks at you with as disparaging an eye as you do. Just because you didn’t execute something perfectly—or rather, up to your individual standards—doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone else perceived it it that way. Instead of getting caught up in the “inadequacies” of the past, think of them as lessons that will help you brainstorm new and inventive approaches to effectively meeting your goals.
- Don’t fear future mistakes. Perfectionism can be debilitating, usually because it is accompanied by an “all or nothing” mentality. There are so many things that we abstain from only because the fear that we can’t execute the task perfectly overcomes in our minds the reality of the benefits we might sow from it. The fear of failure will limit you from realizing your true potential by getting out there and doing it.
- Make time for the important things. Perfectionists get so caught up in the meticulous details of daily life that we sometimes forget to breathe and enjoy life for what it is. Overcoming perfectionism necessitates taking care of yourself, whether this means getting a full night of sleep, eating well, setting aside time to be alone, or incorporating some sort of relaxation tactics into our ever-stressful lives. You’ll begin to let go of the things that really don’t matter and better appreciate the things that do.
Once we begin changing our health goals and striving for perfection in an effort to reduce PCOS symptoms, we often forget that it’s a process, not an overnight transformation. Your best self is one that realizes your imperfections but continually works towards achieving the type of life you deserve, knowing it won’t ever be done perfectly. If there’s one thing we know about perfectionism, it’s this: perfect is boring. And you, PCOS Diva, aren’t meant to be boring!
Amy Medling, best-selling author of Healing PCOS and certified health coach, specializes in working with women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), who are frustrated and have lost all hope when the only solution their doctors offer is to lose weight, take a pill, and live with their symptoms. In response, Amy founded PCOS Diva and developed a proven protocol of supplements, diet, and lifestyle programs that offer women tools to help gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health, and happiness.