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Perfectionism, Pots of Gold, and Unicorns

Updated on April 28, 2017
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The standards that accompany perfectionism do not produce attainable goals nor do those standards promote a healthy relationship with oneself. The need to be perfect or for things around you to be perfect can hinder personal growth and development and reduce confidence levels due to a constant feeling of incompetency.

Perfectionism is that proverbial pot of gold or that unicorn. There is an indescribable feeling associated with the thought of what "perfect" looks like and the happiness that it would bring, if it could only be reached. Perfect is subjective and while the standard of perfection still yields the same unhealthy habits and feelings of angst, we still follow rainbows for pots of gold and dress up horses and unicorns.

If your goal is to improve your quality of life through personal development and growth, perfectionism is a trait better left for those who plan to ride into the sunset on their unicorns with a trail of gold coins behind them. You don’t want to simply dream about being better or doing better, you want to take actionable steps to get where you want to be. Three steps that you can use to help combat your need to be perfect include:

  1. Set S.M.A.R.T goals: A method of goal setting that allows for the standardization of how you go about setting and eventually reaching your goals. There are several articles dedicated to goal management and methods, like the method mentioned, that can get you started.

  2. Pay Attention: Give the task at hand your time and attention. Perfectionist tend to have a habit of physically working on a task, but mentally working on the next. Try your hand at attention management. It is a method that promotes being in the moment and dedicating not only your time, but also your attention to your goal or task.

  3. Acknowledge your accomplishments: “Done is better than perfect.” “Progress not perfection.” Both are quotes, maybe even affirmations or mantras, that you can incorporate in your efforts to kicking your perfectionistic habits. The steps that you take to reach your goals are just as important as the goal itself. Let your milestones or steps taken to reach your goal be a major part of your “hooray”!

Please note that these steps are just a few that can be utilized as a foundation to start living a life that is focused on constant improvement rather than perfection.


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