Ever felt like you need to make sure that everything is to the point and everything needs to be done in a very precise manner? Whatever you do should be perfect, and there should not be any mistake? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
"Perfect does not exist. Accept it. Strive for excellence instead." Kate Surala
Unrealistic expectations prevent people from seeing their work objectively and impair their ability to assess its worth. Perfectionism brings about feelings of failure, guilt, and self-esteem. So, how can we shake off this never-ending desire for perfectionism and accept that excellence is sufficient? Here’s how:
Choose Your ‘Perfection’ Wisely
The notion of perfection is based on the belief that you need to constantly criticise yourself to fulfil unrealistically high expectations. It means that you need to be better than the best rather than the rest. It’s that toxic companion of yours that belittles and drains you emotionally, physically and mentally. Instead, you should strive for excellence.
Excellence means you’re investing 100% and are satisfied with the results, while perfection means you’re giving 175% and yet remaining unsatisfied with what you’ve achieved. Excellence means focussing your attention on the overall result rather than being bogged down by small mistakes. If you want the best in your life and career, pursue excellence!
Switching from the perfectionist attitude to the excellence attitude isn’t as easy as switching the flip. It’s a long and continuous process of bringing about change in your mindset and understanding that it’s okay to not to micromanage every single task of yours.
Being overly goal-driven can be harmful and prevent you from living in the moment. Therefore, it’s essential to find a balance between having goals to guide your life and rushing after a dream that prevents you from embracing the here and now. We discuss more tips on love habits in Step Five of our book Unleash Today.
Establish SMART goals
While it’s important to not beat yourself up for not being ‘perfect’ enough, it’s important to understand that well established and simple goals do, in fact, assist you in bringing about a shift in your ‘perfectionist’ mindset. For this, we recommend using the well-established SMART method for goal-setting, which stands for:
Specific: well defined, clear, and unambiguous
Measurable: specific criteria can measure your progress towards your accomplishment
Realistic: within reach and relevant to your purpose and values
Timely: a clearly defined timeline, including a start and target date to increase urgency
Intrinsic motivation works the best. So, constantly remind yourself of your WHY, your values and ethics while fulfilling your goals. Remember, it’s okay to commit mistakes rather than punishing yourself. Using the SMART method and asking yourself these questions will help you to accomplish the right and concrete goals, aligning with your excellence standard, purpose, and values.
How to uphold your motivation to pursue your goals in the long run? Create your personal vision board! Visualisation is one of the most powerful methods that can help you to define your goals. By creating an inspirational collage, your future goals will feel more tangible and easier to define. Depicting your goals in this way will stimulate your emotions, which is especially important as many people’s minds respond better to visual stimulation than to words.
In sum, let us remind you that there is no ‘perfect standard’ - although everyone talks about it! Hence, we recommend everyone striving for excellence. Excellence means achieving your goals and being satisfied with them.
These are just a few tips of ours. If you’d like to read more, we highly recommend reading our book Unleash Today. Make sure you get a copy to have a complete self-help guide at your disposal and unleash your full potential at any time! You can get your copy on the launch date of 30 March 2021 or pre-order it on Amazon (UK, DE, FR) today. In case you can’t wait for the official launch, our YouTube channel Unleash Today provides for various webinars already now!
Shivani Nair is Unleash Today's Content Strategist based in Ahmedabad, India.
MindTools (no date) ‘SMART Goals: How to Make Your Goals Achievable’ (https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm).
Wade, D.T. (2009) ‘Goal setting in rehabilitation: an overview of what, why and how’, Clinical Rehabilitation, 23, p.293-294 (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0269215509103551).