• Nina

Here's how you break the perfectionism cycle

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Many of us are in love with the idea of doing something perfectly. Be it a certain skill, the way we look or our performance at work. Trust me, you are not alone with this. In reality, wanting to achieve the perfect result, mostly leads to...not even getting started.⁠ What is this perfectionism cycle and why can't we break out of it? It goes like this:


1. Initial motivation - "This has to be my best work ever, I'll make it count!"

2. Self-doubt about our abilities - "What if I won't succeed? That would be a disaster!"

3. Procrastination to avoid fear of failure - "This is so hard! Let me distract myself and do something else instead."

4. Daydreaming to escape the discomfort - "Once I figure this out, everyone will finally notice me!"

...aaand then all over again!

How to break the cycle?⁠

Instead of starting with the highest standard possible, aim to get the basics done. You can always come back for fine-tuning. Better done than perfect.


I always tried to do everything perfectly, school & work mostly, but I realized that that was not achievable for a normal human being. I thought to myself: "What's the worst thing that can happen if it's not 100 % perfect?" And this thought experiment really made a difference in my life and my struggle with perfectionism. It really is better to just start - even if it is just one sentence of my essay, it is better than no sentence right?


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