Steps to Conquer Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a common trait that affects individuals across all walks of life. It is an overwhelming desire to obtain perfection in everything one does, leading to unattainable expectations and a fear of failure. This negative trait can be detrimental to one’s mental health and overall well-being. However, conquering perfectionism is possible with the right mindset and steps. Here are some of the steps to help individuals conquer perfectionism and regain control of their life:

Recognize your perfectionist tendencies

The first step towards conquering perfectionism is acknowledging that it is a problem. This can be challenging as perfectionism is often viewed as a desirable trait that leads to success. However, it’s essential to realize that perfectionism can have negative consequences, such as anxiety and stress. Recognizing perfectionist tendencies enables individuals to identify when they’re struggling with perfectionism and when it’s getting in the way of their life.

Learn to embrace mistakes

Perfectionists tend to avoid making mistakes, as they see it as a sign of failure. However, mistakes are an inevitable part of life and a necessary step towards growth and progress. Embracing mistakes allows individuals to learn from them and grow as individuals. It also helps individuals become more accepting of yourself, reducing the pressure to be perfect in every aspect of their life.

Set Realistic Goals

Perfectionists tend to set unattainable goals that are not realistic, leading to disappointment and frustration. Instead, set realistic goals that are achievable and measurable. This allows individuals to see progress and success, leading to a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Setting realistic goals also helps individuals prioritize what’s important and focus on the areas where they can make the most significant impact.

Acknowledge Your Achievements

Perfectionists often struggle to acknowledge their achievements, as they’re always striving for better. Celebrating small wins and achievements is crucial to boost self-confidence and maintain motivation. Recognize that progress isn’t linear, but recognizing achievements help individuals stay motivated and strive towards their goals. Celebrating successes can range from congratulating yourself mentally, writing it down in a journal, or treating yourself to something you enjoy.

Challenge Negative Self-Talk

Perfectionists often engage in negative self-talk that leads to a negative mindset, amplifying the perceived flaws and mistakes. Challenging this negative self-talk and reframing it into positive self-talk is a crucial skill for conquering perfectionism. Use language that’s self-affirming, focusing on the positive aspects of yourself and your achievements. This promotes a sense of self-confidence and belief in oneself, reducing the need for perfectionism.

Ask for Help or Support

Perfectionism can be a challenging trait to conquer, and individuals may need support, encouragement, or even professional help. Asking for help or support from friends, family, peers or seeking therapy, can be an effective way to overcome perfectionism. It provides a safe space to share experiences, feelings and learn to manage stress and anxiety that comes with perfectionism. Speaking with a therapist, coach, or mentor can provide guidance, perspective and tools to conquer perfectionism.

Practice Self-Care

Perfectionists tend to prioritize work, goals and productivity often neglecting self-care. Engaging in self-care activities such as exercise, leisure activities, and relaxation techniques, is crucial to maintain balance and overall well-being. Self-care provides a sense of calmness and peace, reducing stress and anxiety, and fostering self-love and acceptance. It also helps individuals to re-energize and focus, increasing productivity and motivation.


Perfectionism is a common but harmful trait that can negatively impact one’s mental health and overall well-being. Conquering perfectionism is possible by recognizing perfectionist tendencies, embracing mistakes, setting realistic goals, acknowledging achievements, challenging negative self-talk, asking for help, and practicing self-care. It’s essential to remember that progress isn’t linear, and perfection is unrealistic, so celebrate small wins and take time for self-care. By following these steps, individuals can conquer perfectionism, take control of their life, and achieve their goals without fear of failure.


FAQ: What is perfectionism?

Perfectionism refers to the tendency to hold very high or unrealistic standards for oneself, leading to a preoccupation with achieving flawlessness or completeness in one’s work, appearance, or behavior. This can often result in feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

FAQ: Why is conquering perfectionism important?

Conquering perfectionism is important for maintaining a healthy self-image and preventing the negative mental and emotional effects associated with perfectionism. It can also promote greater productivity and creativity by removing the fear of failure and allowing individuals to focus on progress rather than achieving “perfection”.

FAQ: What are some strategies for conquering perfectionism?

Strategies for conquering perfectionism include setting realistic goals, practicing self-compassion and self-talk, seeking support from others, and learning to accept imperfection as a natural part of the human experience. It can also be helpful to identify and challenge negative thoughts that contribute to perfectionism, such as all-or-nothing thinking and self-criticism.


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2. Sirois, F. M., & Molnar, D. S. (2017). Perfectionism, procrastination, and psychological distress. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 35(4), 265-281.

3. Shafran, R., Egan, S. J., & Wade, T. D. (2010). Overcoming perfectionism: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioral techniques. Robinson. (Original work published 1998).