How to beat perfectionism - and the anxiety it causes

If you are a self-confessed perfectionist and it is starting to ruin your life, here are three top tips on how to get this damaging behaviour under control.

Not feeling good enough is both the major cause AND symptom of that limiting belief  – so between these two issues, round and round you can go.

So let’s start breaking that cycle for you…


Us perfectionists can find it tough to distinguish between achievable ones and fantastical ones that will only lead to loads of angst and self-punishment when we don’t reach them (which we inevitably won’t because they were way out there in the first place).

Going for really up-there unachievable goals can also lead to pushing yourself beyond healthy sustainable levels and paralysis – we can’t actually get anything done – because of the amount of pressure we are putting onto ourselves, and this in turn leads to more beating-up of ourselves.

Practice & celebrate failing

One of the most effective ways of beating perfectionism is to learn a new skill or to do something that takes a lot of patience and trial and error – and yes screwing up along the way!

Taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zones IS going to mean we make mistakes – get used to it, as it’s an essential part of the learning and development process.

So every time you do mess up, you don’t hit the mark – celebrate it – it means you’re growing and learning!

Accept who you ARE

Probably the best antidote for perfectionism (and the most challenging I know), is to be brave enough to just be our unpolished selves – with all of our flaws and faults and limitations. 

By accepting who we really are, with some self-compassion we actually can free ourselves up to be our best and to succeed.

As with any disruption of old thought patterns and behaviours, its all in the doing and practicing. So my request is that you pick one of these (remembering not to push yourself too much) and do it consistently for the next 30 days.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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London EC1A & W1G
Written by Sue Belton, Leadership & Career Coach, PgD, CPCC, PCC
London EC1A & W1G

Sue Belton works with people who feel unsatisfied with their lives and careers. She helps them get clarity about what will make them truly happy and fulfilled and then helps them create more meaningful lives. Sue has been working as a life coach for ten years.

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