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Perfectionist Traits: 9 Signs You Might Be a Perfectionist

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Are you wondering if you’re a perfectionist? Do you always try to strive for excellence but procrastinate because your work doesn’t seem good enough? Here are 9 signs you might have perfectionist traits.

Perfectionism is a trait that many people struggle with, but it’s not always easy to tell if you’re one of them. In fact, the term “perfectionist” has become something of a misnomer, as perfectionists are rarely able to achieve perfection.

In fact, they’re often discouraged by their work because perfection is impossible to achieve, and perfectionists have a tendency to set extremely high standards for themselves.

So how do you know if you’re a perfectionist? Or if you have perfectionist traits?

Common traits of perfectionists

The following are some common traits of perfectionists and signs that perfectionism might be dragging down your effectiveness:

1. Procrastination & difficulty to finish tasks

Perfectionists tend to work hard, but they also set perfectionist goals for themselves, which they’re often unable to achieve.

As a result, perfectionists procrastinate because the work that they do is never good enough.

Perfectionism can lead to self-doubt and fear of failure, which keeps perfectionists from even starting work because it won’t be up to their high standards.

If You procrastinate because you’re not satisfied with the work you produce, it might be that you have perfectionist tendencies.

And if you spend more time planning than actually doing and continue perfecting your work even though others would say that it’s good enough, perfectionism might be at the root of your ineffectiveness.

RELATED POST: How to focus on progress, not perfection – 7 simple strategies

2. Extremely High Standards

Perfectionists always strive for perfection, so the quality of their work is usually high, but perfectionism also manifests itself in setting exceptionally high standards for themselves.

Perfectionists are often afraid of trying new things because they lack practice in the activity and fear they won’t do well or fail miserably.

If you find yourself frequently giving up because you’re disappointed with your performance, perfectionism might be the root cause of this procrastination.

3. Unrealistic expectations and goals

One perfectionist trait is to set unrealistic goals for yourself and have unrealistic expectations.

It’s a habit that causes perfectionists to become discouraged when they view their own work while comparing it to their perfectionist goals.

So if you often set the bar so high that it’s impossible to reach, you might have perfectionism to blame, and it might be time to lower your standards.

WANT TO SET REALISTIC GOALS? READ POST: 10-step method to set attainable goals

4. Focusing on the details instead of the bigger picture

Perfectionism often leads to spending too much time on minor details instead of focusing on the bigger picture, which can cause you to be unable to finish tasks and projects on time.

If you tend to spend an excessive amount of time (or even obsess) over details when you’re working on a project, it might be that perfectionism is pulling you in that direction.

And it might be time to stop focusing on the details and step back and look at the bigger picture.

5. Intolerant to mistakes – yours and others

Another perfectionist trait is to be intolerant to mistakes or errors – yours or others.

Perfectionists tend to think that their own way is the only correct way and will often get frustrated when they see other people do things differently. And the high expectations and standards of perfectionists won’t help with this.

If you sometimes beat yourself up over minor mistakes and dwell on them obsessively, it might be a sign that perfectionism is at play.

You might even harshly judge others and even yourself for making mistakes.

And it might be a sign that perfectionism has taken over your life if you’re overly unhappy about being wrong because perfectionists have a hard time accepting that they make mistakes.

6. Slow to Make Decisions

Perfectionists are often slow to make decisions because they want to be sure that they’re making the right decision.

Which means they can take too long to commit to something or avoid making a decision altogether.

If you find yourself second-guessing your decisions and juggling multiple options over and over again, perfectionism could be to blame.

And it might be best to stop overthinking about your decision-making process and just make a choice already and start… whatever it is you need to do.

7. Difficulty to being happy with the progress and celebrate your success

One of the perfectionist traits is the difficulty of being happy with the progress they’re making.

Perfectionists can have a hard time seeing the benefits or results of their work in advance – which causes them to procrastinate because they don’t see the value in the task at hand.

Perfectionists also tend to take feedback and criticism as criticisms of their self-worth rather than opportunities for improvement. So perfectionism can lead perfectionists to become defensive or withdraw from others when they receive negative or even constructive feedback.

So if you’re struggling to enjoying the process and being happy with what you’ve already accomplished, you might have perfectionist tendencies.

Progress not perfection is what we should be asking of ourselves - Julia Cameron - Perfectionism Quotes

RELATED POST: How to focus on progress, not perfection – 7 simple strategies

8. Difficulty to ask for help

Perfectionists tend to have a hard time asking others for assistance because they think their work won’t be accepted unless they do all the work themselves… 100% perfectly.

So if you don’t like asking for help and you think you need to do everything yourself, it might be a sign of perfectionism.

9. Worrying and overthinking

Perfectionists tend to worry and overthink about the future.

It’s because perfectionists believe that they need to create a perfect plan or outcome before moving forward, which usually results in perfectionists drawing out the working process, not finishing tasks or projects procrastinating.

And one perfectionist trait is also being overly worried about what other people think.

But what perfectionists have a hard time understanding is that the people who don’t have perfectionist tendencies don’t usually judge as much.

They are usually content with progress (not perfection) and are more tolerant to mistakes. And the constant worrying about how other people judge them and their work is mostly their internal battle.

So if you worry too much and it’s causing problems for you, it might be perfectionism has raised its ugly head.

How to overcome perfectionism and work on your perfectionist traits

The good news is that you can try out simple strategies starting today to work on your perfectionist traits and even overcome the vicious cycle of perfectionism.

For example, you can:

  • Make mistakes intentionally.
  • Be mindful about your self-talk.
  • Change your standards.
  • Focus on progress, not perfection
  • Find inspiration.
  • Focus on your dream and the “big picture.”
  • Keep in mind that your work will never be perfect.

I’ve written a detailed article about how you can implement these strategies to overcome perfectionism.

READ NEXT: How to overcome perfectionism – 7 strategies you can try today

Or CHECK OUT: 39 inspirational quotes about perfectionism

Perfectionism can be viewed as a double-edged sword.

It’s awesome if you want to strive for excellence, but if perfecting things keeps you from starting or finishing tasks and making you too worried, stressed, or even fearful, perfectionism can be a demoralizing force.

And it might be time to find strategies to overcome those perfectionist traits.

Psst! And if you need some inspiration, check out these 39 mind-changing perfectionism quotes.


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