Getting started

The first step in overcoming perfectionism is to identify the areas in your life where it is a problem.

Example Areas of Perfectionism and Common Thoughts and Behaviours

Area of perfectionism Thoughts Behaviours
Eating I must not eat high-fat food Limit my eating
Shape I should be a size 6 to look good Reduce eating, increase exercising
Weight 50kg is the perfect weight for me Decrease eating, increase exercising
Friends I must appear funny and clever Rehearse jokes and stories
Checking locks, appliances I must be 100% sure Check and re-check
Ordering objects Things must be in perfect order Order and arrange objects daily
Organisation Lists are necessary to be organized Write detailed lists
Looks I must look perfect Always wear makeup and ironed clothes
Hygiene I must have perfectly clean hands Wash hands over and over
Art I need to paint perfectly Re-do paintings
Music I must not play a note wrong Avoid playing in concerts
Sports To perform my best, I need to train harder Train more than coach recommends
Studies I must always score above 80% Spend many hours editing assignment
Health and fitness I must exercise everyday Be very hard on myself when I do not exercise daily

In the past month, which are the areas you have set high standards for? It can be helpful to think of areas where you think you must do well, where you must always have things just right, or where you would feel very worried if you were to perform at a lower level.

Which Areas of Perfectionism Apply to Me?

Step 1: Tick each area you have perfectionism
Step 2: What goes through your mind about this area (thoughts)?
Step 3: What do you do in response to perfectionism in this area (behaviours)?
Area of perfectionismThoughtsBehaviours
Checking locks, appliances
Ordering objects
Sporting performance
Health and fitness