The Quest For Perfection

Welcome to week 4 in the 4-week series on Self-Sabotage. The first 3 blogs in the series are available on my blog page at

Do you let your need to be perfect keep you from ever properly finishing anything?  Do you let the fear of starting something & not doing it well enough stop you from even starting it? If so you’re actually sabotaging yourself.

This is so easy to do and many people don’t realize that their perfectionism is often masked as attention to detail. In fact, it is a common form of self-sabotage.

When you put so much emphasis on a perfect result, or all the ducks lining up, or all green lights how do you ever find the motivation to get started?

And the negative self-talk that comes with it all is even worse than the pressure of the task itself.

Your Self Talk Matters

Do you constantly put yourself down?

Do you ruminate and find fault in everything you do?

Do you let go of past mistakes? Do you replay everything you did wrong, in a horror movie highlight reel of all your past failures, and just confirm things to yourself that mightn’t even be true.

The belief that everything needs to be perfect, can take a serious toll on your mental health, causing depression, low self-esteem, and feelings that you are a failure.

Not to mention, it paralyzes you when it comes time to take any productive steps ahead, and achieving the success that you want.

When you analyze perfectionism it is a need to be in control, which is ironic because it often removes your control by incapacitating you with fear and reluctance to do anything.

But there are ways that you can banish your perfectionism…

1. Do a Stocktake  – Look around and model others on how they accomplish similar tasks.

Are they getting the job done well enough and moving forward? Don’t let the quest for perfection bog you down from getting stuff done. 

Does your overzealous attention to detail really help if it eats away at your precious time and keeps you from completing things?

2. Look at Your Standards – I’m not saying be half-assed or sloppy in your work, but maybe you don’t need to color coordinate your sox and underwear or alphabetize your kitchen pantry.

Use the SMART method with your tasks and goals, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

3. Time to Get Real Don’t compare yourself to others and be a little self-compassionate when you put pressure on yourself. As long as you’re motivated and doing your best work, and moving towards you’re goals or life aspirations you are doing fine.

‘Perfect’ is really an unattainable standard, remember you are as human and imperfect as the rest of us.

Take joy and meaning in the journey and not always the result

Lastly, repeat this when you feel the need to be perfect creeping up on you, “Finished is better than perfect!” …because perfect rarely gets finished.

“The seed of your next artwork lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece.”

– David Bayles

Self Compassion

Remember to be self-compassionate. Old habits die hard and you will most likely find yourself falling back into old patterns.

If you are a total weirdo like me you will say “stop” out loud when you find yourself talking trash about yourself. Then recognize that you’re trying to remedy your old patterns and move to more positive self-talk.

Remind yourself of why these limiting patterns didn’t actually work for you in the past – then give yourself the opportunity to do better and achieve what you really want in life.

Live life