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10 Proven Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism

Overcoming PerfectionismIf you read my previous post and concluded that you’re a perfectionist, it’s time I shared a few tips on overcoming perfectionist traits.

I won’t lie to you. Undoing perfectionist tendencies is quite an undertaking. You’re not going to do it by following these tips for a week or two. You will, however, make good progress if you practice them consistently for several months. Sometimes the guidance of a therapist can really speed progress along.

Imperfections, mistakes, and set back are all part of the human experience. They’re universal and can’t be avoided. And truthfully they are necessary as part of the learning process and our ability to connect with others. We relate to each other most deeply through our imperfections and struggles.

Let’s see if we can move you just a couple of small steps away from your perfectionist tendencies. Sometimes small changes are enough to make a meaningful difference in your quality of life. You do not need to change everything about yourself and swing to the opposite extreme.

Here are your 10 proven tips for overcoming perfectionism

  1. Remember that people will still like you even when you make mistakes or aren’t perfect. (Extra tip: Sometimes they like you even more when they see and relate to your humanness.)
  2. We learn by making mistakes. Instead of criticizing yourself, focus on what you’re learning and how you’re improving.
  3. Comparing yourself to others will make you feel worse and it simply isn’t fair. You don’t have all the facts about anyone else’s life.
  4. You are worthy because you are you, not because of what you accomplish. Focus on your good qualities rather than your accomplishments.
  5. Try to do just a little bit less. It will feel awkward at first.
  6. Don’t let procrastination block your creativity and motivation. Getting started is better than doing nothing.
  7. Look for other people’s strengths. Criticize others less.
  8. There is not just success or failure; there is lots of space in between for what I call “partial successes.”
  9. Enjoy today; stop waiting until you’re __________ enough.
  10. Share just a little bit more of yourself emotionally. Work your way up to sharing your worries, doubts, regrets, or confusion.

Look over the list above and choose the tip that seems the easiest to implement. I want you to start making this change immediately. Don’t worry about any of the other recommendations. Rewrite the tip as a goal (i.e. My goal is to criticize myself less and see my mistakes as learning opportunities). Write down exactly how you are going to make this change (i.e. When I make a mistake, I will ask myself, “What can you learn from this?” I will remind myself that it’s normal to make mistakes from time to time. It’s how I handle them that counts.) As this becomes easier, add in other goals. The key is don’t expect be perfect when it comes to overcoming perfectionism! The point is to welcome imperfection and learn to be happily imperfect.


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photo courtesy of  jesadaphorn at

10 Proven Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism

Sharon Martin, LCSW

Sharon Martin is an emotional wellness speaker, writer, and licensed psychotherapist. Her San Jose based practice specializes in helping over-stressed, high achieving adults and teens learn to embrace their imperfections and grow happiness. Her personal journey of overcoming perfectionism and people-pleasing traits, inspired her passion for this work. Sharon is the author of Setting Boundaries Without Guilt: A Workbook to Move You From Doormat to Empowerment. Sharon also enjoys teaching blogging and writing classes for therapists. You can find her on Twitter, instagram, and her website.

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APA Reference
Martin, S. (2018). 10 Proven Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2018, from


Last updated: 16 Apr 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Apr 2018
Published on All rights reserved.