Overcoming Perfectionism

Starting this year, I began using a bullet journal to plan, doodle, brainstorm, schedule, and anything else to get my life in order! I sat down getting ready to start setting up my journal, but just as I was about to put the marker to the paper, I hesitated. The following questions popped up in my head-“Should I use pencil first?”, “What if I don’t count out the dots correctly?”, “What if these colors don’t work together?”, etc. That is when it hit me! When it comes to projects, I fall victim to perfectionism. Sound familiar? Perfectionism is defined as “refusal to accept any standard short of perfection”. Meaning that, as far as the bullet journal goes, if I spelled one word wrong, or mis-counted dots, I would toss the notebook out and start over completely. And those of you that don’t understand the struggle of perfectionism are probably thinking- “just use white-out and move on”. But for our Type A personalities that solution would simply not do. 

The whole bullet journal scenario created a challenge for me. My goal was to not use pencil or plan out my designs, and most importantly, not to freak out if I made a mistake. Now January is almost done and I have followed through with my goal. I did have multiple mistakes as I worked through the pages, including using a blue marker when I was supposed to use green. But, instead of worrying, I went back over the lines with green and even though it stands out, I don’t let it phase me. In fact, I might even smirk at the silly error. 


While that challenge was just a personal goal, it made me think about writing a post on Overcoming Perfectionism, so here I sit typing this out!

Just Do Your Best: If you challenge yourself like I did and you find it is really difficult, that’s ok. If you have a notebook and mess up on a page, don’t beat yourself up about it. And if you find yourself ripping the page out, take a deep breath, and try again. Overcoming perfectionism takes time.

Be Honest, Be Realistic: Have you ever been scrolling through Pinterest and find a page of notes in perfect caligraphy you can’t help but wonder if they typed it on the computer. Or have you ever watched a morning routine video on Youtube, and can’t believe that someone follows that “perfect” routine everyday. Now besides some exceptions, when people share their work with others, it tends to be glamorized. If you feel like that sounds familiar, maybe work on understanding that mistakes are realistic and everyone makes them.

Recognize Others: Similar to above, it might help if you look at others work, not to judge, but to see if you find any mistakes. It might surprise you that everyone messes up, and once you recognize that, it will help you become at ease with your own mistakes.

Have Reminders: Post some quotes around your office, bedroom, or set reminders on your phone. Here are some quotes that are great for overcoming perfectionism.

  • “Striving for excellence feels wonderful because you are trying your very best. Perfectionism feels terrible because your work is never quite good enough.”
  • “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.”
  • “You don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going.”

Embrace the mistakes and struggles: Remember when I said I slipped up and used the blue marker instead of green? Now when I see that part of the page, instead of cringing, I am working on be unphased or at the very least laughing it off. That is embracing your mistakes and struggles.

Those are my tips for overcoming perfectionism and I challenge all of you to try to incorporate them into your everday routines.

Have you ever struggled with perfectionism?! How did you overcome it?!



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