How to Ditch Perfectionism- Desiree' Stapleton- Goal Accomplishment Made Easy

The Perfectionism Trap: How I Let Go and Built the Discipline I Needed to Succeed

Hello You Magnificent Being, You

Welcome to Goal Accomplishment Made Easy! I’ve had my fair share of battling perfectionism, and I’ve learned that it can be more of a hindrance than a help. It’s natural to strive for excellence, but perfectionism can lead to burnout and anxiety. So, I’d like to share how I overcame it and offer you some advice on how to do the same.

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    I. Why Perfectionism Doesn’t Work

    Perfectionism can be a two-edged sword, pushing you to achieve great results but also becoming a stumbling block. Here’s how perfectionism might be limiting you:

    1. Delayed Action

    Perfectionism often leads to procrastination because you’re waiting for the perfect moment or conditions to start a task. To overcome this, consider these strategies:

    • Set Time Limits: Instead of waiting for the perfect conditions, set specific time limits for tasks. Commit to spending a set amount of time on a task, and accept the results, even if they’re not flawless.
    • Embrace the “80/20” Rule: Recognize that you can achieve 80% of the desired outcome with 20% of the effort. Prioritize completing tasks to this level of quality, and if necessary, revisit them later for improvements.
    • Establish Milestones: Divide larger projects into smaller milestones or deadlines. This prevents you from endlessly refining one aspect and encourages progress toward the overall goal.

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      2. Endless Worry

      Perfectionism can lead to obsessive worry about even the smallest details, causing anxiety. Here’s how to address this:

      • Practice Mindfulness: Learn mindfulness techniques to manage excessive worrying. Activities like breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga can help you stay grounded in the present moment and reduce anxiety.
      • Set Realistic Standards: Recognize that perfection is rarely attainable. Set more realistic standards for yourself, and understand that minor imperfections are normal and often go unnoticed by others.
      • Use Positive Self-Talk: Challenge negative self-talk that fuels your worry. Replace it with positive affirmations and constructive thoughts. Remember that mistakes are opportunities for growth.

      3. Exhaustion

      Striving for perfection can lead to exhaustion as you pour too much time and energy into one task. Here are ways to prevent this:

      • Prioritize Self-Care: Allocate time for self-care activities like exercise, relaxation, and adequate sleep. A well-rested body and mind are better equipped to manage tasks efficiently.
      • Delegate Tasks: If you’re working in a team or have the option to delegate tasks, do so. This lightens your workload and reduces the risk of exhaustion.
      • Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries for work or projects. Determine when it’s time to stop working and take a break. Stick to your schedule to prevent overexertion.

      II. How to Ditch Perfectionism

      Ready to leave perfectionism behind? Here are some practical tips to help you get started:

      1. Acceptance

      The first step in overcoming perfectionism is acknowledging that it’s an issue. Here’s what to do:

      • Self-Reflection: Spend some quiet time on self-reflection. Journal your thoughts and emotions related to perfectionism. Recognize its impact on your life, both the positive and negative aspects.
      • Seek Feedback: Ask trusted friends, family, or a therapist for their insights. Sometimes, an outside perspective can help you understand how perfectionism affects you.
      • Affirmation: Repeat positive affirmations that acknowledge the issue and your commitment to overcoming it. For example, “I accept that I have perfectionist tendencies, and I am working on a healthier mindset.”

      2. Realistic Goals

      Instead of aiming for perfection, set your sights on realistic, achievable goals. Break down bigger goals into smaller, manageable tasks, and take one step at a time. By doing this, you’ll build momentum and discipline.

      What to do:

      • Goal Setting: Clearly define your goals and break them down into smaller, manageable steps. Use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) criteria to create goals that are realistic and attainable.
      • Prioritization: Prioritize tasks based on their importance and deadlines. Focus on completing one task at a time, without obsessing over perfection.
      • Progress Tracking: Keep a journal or use digital tools to track your progress on each goal and task. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how minor, as it reinforces the habit of setting realistic goals.

      3. Celebrate Success

      Focus on the progress you’re making, no matter how small. Count your accomplishments and learn from your mistakes. This will keep you motivated and focused.

      What to do:

      • Gratitude Practice: At the end of each day or week, list the accomplishments, even the small ones, that you’re grateful for. This shifts your focus to positive achievements.
      • Rewards: Treat yourself to a small reward after reaching milestones. This can be a favorite meal, a movie night, or any activity you enjoy.

      4. Failure is your friend

      Failure is a stepping stone to success. Use it as an opportunity to learn and grow instead of fearing it. Embrace the lessons and keep moving forward.

      What to do:

      • Reframe Failure: When you encounter setbacks or failures, pause and analyze what went wrong. Ask yourself what lessons you can extract from the experience. Embrace these lessons as valuable growth opportunities.
      • Growth Mindset: Cultivate a growth mindset by reminding yourself that success often involves failures along the way. Use affirmations like, “I grow through my challenges,” to reinforce this mindset.

      5. Just take action!

      The simplest way to overcome perfectionism is by taking action. Start small, one task at a time, and move forward. Avoid getting bogged down in the finer details and focus on the bigger picture.

      What to do:

      • Commit to Starting: Whenever you feel the urge to perfect something before starting, challenge yourself to take the first step, no matter how small. For example, if you’re writing, start with the first sentence, and don’t worry about perfection at this stage.
      • Set a Time Limit: Allocate a specific time for tasks and stick to it. This limits the time you can spend trying to make things perfect and encourages you to move forward.


      Perfectionism can hinder progress and cause unnecessary stress. By setting realistic goals, taking action, embracing failure, and focusing on progress, you can ditch perfectionism and build a winning attitude required for success. It’s time to embrace your imperfections, appreciate your progress, and let go of the need for perfectionism. Get started on this new path today, and you’ll find that success is more achievable and enjoyable than ever before.

      Key Takeaways:

      • Perfectionism can hinder progress and cause anxiety.
      • Delayed action due to the quest for perfection.
      • Endless worrying about details can lead to burnout.
      • Acceptance is the first step to overcoming perfectionism.
      • Set realistic and achievable goals.
      • Celebrate small successes and learn from mistakes.
      • Embrace failure as a learning opportunity.
      • Take action and avoid getting stuck in details.
      • Focus on progress and the bigger picture.
      • Embrace imperfections and focus on strengths to succeed.

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