Do you wish sometimes that you could be more laid back? Not care as much about all the little things? Perfectionism comes from both nature and nurture. If you’re ready to start working on it, here is how to stop being a perfectionist!

Where does perfectionism come from?

Before we get into how, it’s worth knowing where it came from in the first place! You may have had perfectionist parents, so it’s the only way of living that you know. If you’re naturally a more detail-oriented person, perfectionism will come easily. In some cases, it’s a great strength to have! Imagine if we were all so laid back that we just didn’t care about doing a good job or turning up on time for an appointment! 

But often, perfectionism goes much deeper than being conscientious and having attention to detail. It can get out of hand by making you feel like everything has to be perfect all the time. You may be worried about disappointing the people you love. Or you could suffer from OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder). Maybe it’s stemming from people-pleasing? 

You could also have anxiety. When you feel unable to control the world around you. When you feel threatened by life itself. Perfectionism gives us the ability to have control over something – keeping everything in order makes us feel like we have control. But when things aren’t living up to your expectations, it can really get you down.

1) Focus on de-stressing

Sometimes when you’re stressed, perfectionism creeps in to help you feel more in control of your situation. But actually addressing the stress itself will make a huge difference! Take breaks to do things you enjoy. Spend some time simply being in the moment. Mindfulness is very helpful with this. What activities help you to de-stress? Here are some ideas:

  • Walking in nature
  • Watching a comedy
  • Putting the music on full blast and dancing
  • Reading a book
  • Doing a meditation
  • Doing some form of exercise – yoga or even kick boxing!

Find what helps you de-stress and do more of it! Once you’ve done that, how else can you stop being a perfectionist?


2) Practise making mistakes (or allowing others to)

A great way to figure out how to stop being a perfectionist is to actually force yourself to do the opposite! Or at least learn to be comfortable when you do make a mistake. There are different types of perfectionism, so it really depends on which one you tend to do the most.

Self-oriented: This is when you’re never happy with your own work and have a harsh inner critic

Practise pausing and think to yourself ‘if I had to hand this in now, would it meet its purpose?’ or ‘does it really matter, in the whole scheme of things, if this isn’t straight?’ Also think about it from the perspective of your time. ‘Do I really want to spend my precious moments on this earth doing this right now?’ or ‘can I learn to love it, just the way it is?’ So love that slightly ruffled bed sheet, just as it is. If we can love a tree, with its asymmetry, why can’t we love some uneven books on a shelf?

Socially prescribed: This is when we want to live up to others expectations, to please others

Practise saying ‘so what?’ So what if there’s just a bit of paint missing from the corner of the room? If there are people in your life that criticize every little thing you do, start turning it into a joke. Have a bet on what they’ll say. Then be prepared with your answer: ‘I like it this way’.

Other-oriented: This is when we’re strongly critical of others – always correcting their mistakes.

Practise allowing them to make mistakes and bite your tongue! Don’t correct them. Just let them figure it out for themselves. Yes, even spelling mistakes! Constantly pointing out other people’s mistakes makes them feel like you’re judging them and that they are not good enough. Too many people feel like this already, they don’t need you adding to their low self-esteem! 

3) ‘Done is better than perfect’

 What a great motto! If you’re someone who struggles to get things done on time because whatever you do is never enough (in your opinion), then following this motto will help you! I used to take longer than planned to complete essays at school. The answers I gave in exams were mainly waffle, because I didn’t have time to get to the point before the time ran out! At work if I didn’t have a deadline, I’d spend way too long on something, because it wasn’t perfect. 

If only I’d known before that done is better than perfect! If you have a ‘to do’ list of 10 items, wouldn’t you rather get them all ticked off than only do three perfectly? And 7 not done at all? Surely that’s an imperfect outcome?

So take that list, order them by priority, and if you really need to, put a star next to the ones that need a little more care. The rest don’t need any special attention. Following this motto also helps you feel really good about yourself- you achieve so much more! And it stops the procrastination too!

4) Ask for help

You’d be surprised how many people are perfectionists! Or how many used to be! Reach out for help. Tell your friends and family that you’re struggling. Ask them for support. Maybe they can tell you what they’ve done to tackle their perfectionism? It might seem like something that’s not really significant. But it is. It’s HUGE! Imagine all the time you’ll have and how relaxed you’ll feel when you can finally let it go….

There are professionals out there who can help too. Head over to the Counselling Directory to find a qualified counsellor or to the Hypnotherapy Directory for a certified Hypnotherapist.

How I can help you stop being a perfectionist

If you’re happy to have online hypnotherapy sessions, I can help you there. With hypnotherapy, we help you to feel more laid back in general. More calm and relaxed. So you don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. We can also access the trigger of your prefectionism and help to tame it. Now you have tips on how to stop being a perfectionist, will you give them a try?

To find out more about how I can help you, head over here: