How a positive mindset can help defeat perfectionism

High standards are important, but overextending yourself can lead to burnout.

For writers, it’s essential not to let perfect be the enemy of good.

Alive With Ideas’ infographic, “How to let go of perfectionism,” breaks down where to spot the effects of perfectionism in your day-to-day habits—and it offers ways to end the cycle.

Perfectionism (like the dementors in “Harry Potter”) sucks up self-esteem, relaxation time, the ability to process change and confidence in your capability to complete a task. A perfectionist mindset often causes people to set unreasonable goals for their work, which snowballs into feelings of guilt, failure and inadequacy—leading to poor mental health and burnout.

Long-term, perfectionism can also result in depression, poor management or leadership, and putting others’ needs before your own. Unyielding, unrealistic standards aren’t conducive a happy, healthy and rewarding life. Instead, the obsession with control controls you.

This infographic offers five exercises to help change your perfectionist mindset and allow mental flexibility:

  • Picture yourself completing a task well. Allow yourself to relax with that image for some time, noting three good qualities you possess that helped you succeed.
  • Visualize success in a disaster scenario. Think about what has gone wrong, and visualize a path to a better outcome before imagining the disaster completely resolved. Talking through these obstacles with trusted peers can be helpful.
  • Positive reinforcement. When you grow self-critical, write down three to five reasons why you can complete the job, and imagine yourself persevering.
  • Change your perspective. Ask yourself how you can approach an issue pragmatically. Give yourself a choice besides a perfect outcome.
  • Find a new task. If you’re struggling with letting go of something you see as imperfect, think of what else you need to achieve with your time, and move on to completing those tasks.

Working through perfectionism allows you to let go of unnecessary stress and mental burdens, resulting in a happier and more self-forgiving lifestyle. By establishing healthy expectations, you can find more fulfillment and satisfaction with work, life and the balance of the two.

Read the full infographic on Alive With Ideas.

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