How To Ditch The Perfectionist Mindset

How To Ditch The Perfectionist Mindset

I never realized how much I was living in the perfectionist mindset until I felt the weight of how much unnecessary pressure I was constantly putting on myself.

In my head, I was always falling short of any type of expectations or goals that I set for myself. What it came down to was that I feared failure, which caused me to become overcritical and feel like I was never doing “enough”.

We think that when we set high expectations and goals for ourselves, it’ll become easier to achieve them because we’re driven and motivated by the thought of success. But, in reality, when we set the bar too high, it only leaves us feeling inadequate or self-critical when we aren’t meeting or reaching those goals.

Once I realized how much I was putting off certain goals or dreams because of the immense pressure, I started to learn how to let go of the perfectionist mindset. A perfectionist is a person who strives to be “perfect”, often placing unrealistic expectations or demands on themselves. Which is exactly what I was doing every time I wasn’t where I “thought” I should be, causing me to feel like I wasn’t good enough in the eyes of success.

If you struggle with any of those feelings and feel like you’re constantly falling short of trying to live up to an expectation, read to learn tips on how you can start to control and manage your feelings by ditching the perfectionist mindset:

Be Aware Of How You Feel 

Learning how to let go of the perfectionist mindset starts with being aware of how you feel. We can never fix or change anything without acknowledging our feelings and emotions first.

Once I dug into why I felt the way I did when it came to perfection, it became clear that I was always setting such a high standard for myself. It’s not that my dreams and goals were completely unattainable, they were just unrealistic for the timeframe that I was trying to achieve them in. And when I didn’t accomplish a goal when I thought I should’ve, then I felt like I was falling short of where I should be.

Perfectionism can hold us back from being our true selves, especially if we’re stuck in the mindset that we aren’t successful unless we achieve our goals by a certain time. Once you’re aware of how you feel, remind yourself that your progress and success are never measured by your self-worth. It’s measured by your commitment to keep showing up and trying. No matter how many times you get it “right” or “wrong”, or how long it takes.

Be aware of your thoughts and how you feel so that you can start shifting your mindset to a positive perspective rather than dwelling on what you shouldn’t focus on. Start with the questions of asking yourself why you feel the way you do, and the steps you can take to change it.

How to ditch the perfectionist mindset

Reframe Your Thoughts And Mindset

Speaking of reframing your mindset and perspective, take the time to examine if your goals and standards are too high or unrealistic for yourself.

A common trait of a perfectionist is procrastination because of the desire to be “perfect” on the first try. There were so many times I felt like I was delaying starting a new project or article because of fear that it wouldn’t be up to the standards that I was setting in my head. 

When we have the drive to always be “perfect”, it can be a constant source of stress if we’re always comparing where we are to where we think we should be. Remind yourself that it takes time to get where you want to be. I used to look at even the smallest mistakes as being the biggest failure, when in reality starting to try was always better than never starting at all.

If you hold onto a negative mindset, your thoughts will always revolve around whether you reached a certain goal or standard, rather than focusing on your accomplishments and achievements. Even the smallest steps in the right direction will always help bring you closer to your goals. A few tips on reframing your thoughts and mindset:

  • Break projects into manageable goals
  • Ask yourself what habits you’re looking to change
  • Shift your expectations to meet yourself where you’re at

Need help identifying your current mindset? Sign up using the form below to access three FREE Self-Reflection Worksheets I created. These worksheets will help with self-reflection, and provide tips and prompts to shift your perspective.

Focus On Your Successes

If we only focus on the times that we “failed” or something didn’t turn out like we imagined it would, we take away from all the times that we experienced success.

Not everything will turn out exactly how we envision it will, but sometimes that pushes us directly on the path that we’re meant to be on. Pay attention to all the effort you put into your dreams and goals, rather than only focusing on when something doesn’t meet your expectations.

You can still be successful and happy even if something doesn’t work out how you pictured it would. A lot of the time when it’s something we’re working hard toward, it takes time to unfold and fall into place. It’s easy to compare ourselves to other people and where they’re at in their journey, but we need to remember that our path will never look exactly like somebody else’s path.

Once we lower the pressure and expectations on ourselves, we start to realize that our setbacks are simply stepping stones that help guide us to success. Shift your attention to all the times you were successful, instead of being hard on yourself when you experience a setback or disappointment. You’ll find success again, even if it doesn’t happen exactly like you thought it would.

How To Ditch The Perfectionist Mindset

Embrace Your Mistakes 

When it came to my own mistakes, I used to struggle the most with holding onto thoughts of what I should’ve or could’ve done differently. Making mistakes is completely unavoidable, and we’ll all make them at times. Instead of dwelling on what happened, look at it as an opportunity to embrace your mistakes and learn how you can grow and improve from them.

Throughout my 20s, I made countless mistakes. I became too critical of myself and fixated on those mistakes and the past, rather than redirecting my thoughts to how I could change and improve. Forgive yourself for the things that you didn’t know before, and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. 

Embracing your mistakes means meeting yourself exactly where you’re at. We can’t change the past or rewind the clock, but we can change how we continue moving forward. Realizing that your mistakes don’t define you will help you let go of the perfectionist mindset. With a different perspective, you’ll know that mistakes are all part of the process and journey.

Ditching a perfectionist mindset takes time. Remind yourself that things might not change overnight, but as long as you start working on one area at a time, you’ll start to feel renewed with a fresh perspective. Embrace exactly where you are, knowing that your efforts are always worth it.

Leave a Comment


  1. 5.31.24
    Breana said:

    Thanks so much for sharing. Ever since becoming a mom I’ve realized life is far from perfect and have learned to let perfectionism go.

    • 6.3.24

      I can totally understand that! It’s especially hard when we want or “expect” something to go a certain way. But once we realize that it’s not always in our control, it becomes a little easier. Thanks for reading ❤️

  2. 6.5.24
    Stephanie said:

    As always, excellent advice from this site! So many of us struggle with the perfectionist mentality – and we will never find happiness. Your article offers much to think about and try to implement.

    • 6.7.24

      Aw thank you, that’s such a compliment! I agree though—it’s especially hard when we start to compare ourselves to others when it comes to perfection. I’m glad you found it useful!