You know the struggle if you're a perfectionist. You strive for perfection in all that you do, but it sometimes appears that this goal is unattainable. And when you cannot achieve this ideal outcome, you feel like a failure. The issue is that perfectionism is not about being perfect; instead, it is about receiving an A+. It involves ensuring that everything you do is flawless and devoting all your energy to providing that nothing goes wrong. How can you live a happy life if this mentality obstructs your path?
Start with the end in mind.
Starting with the end in mind is one of the most popular and practical techniques for teaching perfectionists how to be happy. It is a simple but effective technique that can help you get out of your head and concentrate on what matters most.
The first step of this strategy is to determine your goals. This step may seem obvious, but it can be challenging if your objectives need to be more transparent and specific. How will you know when or if you've attained your goal if you have yet to understand what you want? It is essential to be clear about your priorities so that there is no ambiguity regarding whether or not something fits within them. For instance, "I want better revenues this quarter" differs from "I want a 10% increase in sales for our new product line by December 31st so that we can finish the year with a profit." The second objective is superior because it provides us with more information and a date by which we will know whether we've succeeded!
Measure Your Success
The adage "You can't appreciate what you don't know" reminds us that we must measure our success to appreciate it. However, more is needed to set objectives and work toward them. You must also ensure that these objectives are attainable so that your efforts are rewarded.
The first step in measuring success is establishing manageable and attainable objectives. You should always be able to see how achieving one goal will bring you closer to attaining others, as well as the ultimate goal, which is happiness!
Get Really Specific About Success
It is essential to be specific.
It would be best if you defined success in a personally meaningful manner. This clarity necessitates writing down your definition of success so that it is clear and concrete rather than remaining a mental construct. At least three specific goals should be listed: "I want to lose five pounds this week by eating healthier foods" or "I want to gain more clients for my business by spending more time each day promoting myself on LinkedIn." You can also set smaller goals along the way (e.g., "After dinner on Tuesday, I will take a 30-minute walk around my neighbourhood").
Get Comfortable with Mistakes
For perfectionists, the idea of committing errors is troublesome. They believe that errors indicate failure, and since they do not wish to fail, they avoid errors at all costs. This mindset can render them paralyzed with fear.
Errors are inevitable in any endeavour. If you want to be successful in your field, you have no choice but to accept them. Mistakes are not merely evidence that you are doing something incorrectly; they are also opportunities for personal development!
Stop Focusing on the Wrong Things
It can be easy for a perfectionist to focus on the wrong things. Perfectionists need to remember that they cannot control most things in life, such as the weather and the actions of others. Instead of focusing your energy on something beyond your control (such as how others react or behave), concentrate on what you can influence:
What are your strengths?
What do other people admire about you?
Things that will please you:
What activities bring you pleasure?
How can you engage in these activities more frequently?
Those who are most important to you:
How does making another person happy make YOU happy?
It's Time to be Okay with Being Imperfect
Perfectionism is a set of beliefs that can harm your mental and physical health. Accepting that imperfection is inherent to the human condition is the first step toward overcoming perfectionism. Perfectionists think they are insufficient until they reach some arbitrary standard.
Why? Because perfection is impossible to achieve. It does not exist in our universe. Not only do perfectionists have unrealistic expectations of themselves, but they also judge others based on rigid standards, such as weight or appearance. If someone is not thin, handsome, or wealthy, they are deemed "less than" by the perfectionist's standard of success or social acceptance. Because we are all flawed, this way of thinking creates an environment where everyone focuses on their flaws rather than their strengths and talents. We all have imperfections! Why should these flaws make us feel bad about ourselves when each individual has many other positive qualities?
If you're ready to start letting go of perfectionism and focusing instead on happiness, consider the following suggestion:
Be extremely specific about your definition of success. Instead of thinking, "I want to be happy," consider the precise steps you can take to achieve this objective, such as setting aside time each morning for exercise, meditation or journaling.
Get used to making mistakes. It's okay if something doesn't go according to plan; keep going!
It will help to keep things in perspective if you evaluate your progress based on how well you meet your expectations rather than comparing yourself to others who may be more successful at any given time.