Learn how to stop being a perfectionist and walk away from perfectionism for good. See what signs mean you're a perfectionist and the five steps to take so that you can let go and shift your mindset.

Walk Away From Perfection: Signs You’re a Perfectionist & How to Let Go

This week I’m talking all about perfectionism, signs of a perfectionist and how to let go of those tendencies. I go in depth about this mindset in episode 028 of the podcast, but I want to go over a few of the key points here, too.

Perfectionism is definitely something I used to struggle with. Once in a while I will still catch myself. Luckily I have my family there as accountability partners. I want to teach my kids the importance of having compassion not only for others, but for yourself as well. So when they see me beating myself up for something I could have done better, they’re always there to tell me it’s OK.

Some people may not even know they’re a perfectionist, so I want to go over a few key ways you will be able to tell if you are. Go through these points below and see if you exhibit any (or all!) of these signs of being a perfectionist. Then, we will work through how to let go of that perfectionism for GOOD!


Signs You May be a Perfectionist:


  • You feel weighed down by your goals with a sense or a feeling that you won’t succeed or do as well as you’d like.
  • You anticipate the perfect moment to do something, which means you really just end up procrastinating, and then you often just don’t get things done.
  • Obsessing with correcting small mistakes, even when they have no real impact on the big picture, and sometimes at the expense of your true priorities.
  • You maybe are extremely hard on yourself, especially when something goes wrong, no matter how big or how small.

Which of these signs do you relate to? It’s important to assess how you’re doing and feeling so that you’re not overburdening yourself with too much to do and with unrealistic expectations.


Your 5 Steps to Letting Go of Perfectionism


These are a few steps and tips that I took to get over my perfectionist mindset – and you can too! Letting go of perfectionism will boost your mood, productivity AND positively affect your relationships.

  1. Stop referring to yourself or others as perfect or not perfect. I work hard to avoid using this term now with my own children and before when I was a teach as well. I don’t want the kids to ever feel they have to live up to a standard of perfection. It’s not attainable, and I don’t want them to think it’s my expectation. This works because when they see me beating myself up, which happens, they throw my words about perfection, right back in my face. I like to think about it as accountability. We all have these little bits of perfectionism tendencies in us. We’re all human, so you never have to apologize or defend yourself. You don’t have to hold yourself or others to this unattainable idea.
  2. Practice self-compassion. This allows you to give yourself the same understanding and kindness, you give to others. Having compassion means you offer understanding and kindness when someone fails or make a mistake, and it’s okay to offer that compassion to yourself. Realize you are not alone. You are not the only person suffering or making mistakes. Having self-compassion is recognizing that this is a shared human experience. So try to think of your mistakes as lessons. Allow yourself to make mistakes because they give you opportunities to grow and learn at the same time.
  3. Let go of the mindset, “I am what I accomplish, and how well I accomplish it.” Authenticity is a practice that you choose every day by letting go of what other people think. Many times this is the thing that keeps us from trying new things because we know that when we start we may not do so well right of the bat. So treat new opportunities and new experiences like a rough draft. Everyone stinks at something the first time they try it. It’s very rare for someone to go and try something and do it extraordinarily well the first time. But trying something is the first step at being good at it.
  4. Do a reality check. Ask yourself these questions: Are my expectations attainable? Are my thoughts factual or are they interpretations? Am I jumping to conclusions? Is this situation really as bad as I’m making it out to be? Spoiler alert … It’s probably not. Ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that could happen? How likely is that to happen? And here’s a great one – Will this matter in five years? At a pivotal moment in my life, will this moment actually matter? I’m guessing that a lot of times, you’ll answer no.
  5. Keep note of your accomplishments. Write down what you get done at the end of each day. You’ll start to feel more accomplished regardless of whether those things turned out perfectly or not. You want to keep track of your wins and celebrate them!


What’s Next?


Now that you’ve gone over the signs that you may be a perfectionist and review the five ways to let go of perfectionism, I hope you will keep up the work! As I mentioned before, I used to really struggle with this, but now I’m much better. That’s due to changing my mindset and having the right people around be supportive and hold me responsible.

Comment below what your experience is with perfectionism and how you’re going to start fighting it TODAY! Listen to episode 028 of Productivity Paradox on iTunes for more details and in-depth examples of how you can walk away from perfectionism forever.

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton