Health Advocate Blog

As 2020 winds down, let go of perfection

Being perfect really isn’t attainable, yet it is easy to get caught up in the unrealistic expectations you may set for yourself. This can wreak havoc on your well-being by causing you to feel overwhelmed, stressed and defeated. These tips can help you simplify your expectations and stop striving for perfection.

Try to live up to your own (not others’) standards. Much of our desire to be perfect is rooted in our perceptions of what other people think of us.

Aim to achieve your personal best. Remind yourself that not everyone or every situation is truly “perfect.”  Everyone has their own issues and insecurities, but not everyone reveals them.

Talk to yourself as you would a family member or friend. Positive self-talk can go a long way in helping you accept yourself, imperfections and all!

Refocus your thoughts. Rather than being caught up in perfection, emphasize the progress you are making and celebrate every success, even if it is not exactly how you envisioned it.

Give yourself a break. Find an activity or hobby that helps boost your mood, whether it’s reading, yoga, crafts, listening to music, or just playing with your pet.

Work it out. Even brief physical activity helps release the “feel-good” brain chemicals that can boost a sense of well-being. Take a quick walk the next time you begin feel overwhelmed.

Enjoy the present moment. Tell yourself that life is not a competition, but provides opportunities at every moment to enjoy, learn and grow.

Be realistic with your goals. Identify a goal that gives you a personal feeling of accomplishment. Gather more information about the goal, what it might take to get there, what resources you need, and the steps and timeline to achieve it. Determine if your goal is something you can reasonably achieve.

Avoid comparing yourself to others. Comparing yourself to others in any way can undermine your self-esteem. Determining your self-worth based on other people can thwart your ambition, make you feel disconnected, and even send you plummeting into the blues. If you find yourself frequently feeling that you’re not “good enough,” it could be a sign that you need to quit the comparison habit and reprogram your thinking about your self-worth.

Know when to seek additional help – Accepting that you cannot always deal with something on your own and recognizing when you need to involve others is critical to self-care, resilience, and well-being. It is way too easy to say yes to every request and pile more and more tasks on your to-do list.  However, this often leads to stress, feelings of resentment and burnout. When possible, say no or ask for help from family or friends. Perhaps your kitchen won’t be quite as clean if your preteen is in charge, but it’s one less thing on your plate! Delegating or outsourcing responsibilities (for example, grocery delivery), can help free up time to focus on you and what you need to feel more balanced.