how to set realistic standards for overcoming perfectionism?

Postby gagamanmu » Tue Jan 11, 2022 8:21 am

i struggle with perfection and have a hard time setting healthy realistic standards for myself in various aspects of my life like work , study , social, relationship etc... how do i differentiate between perfectionistic and non perfectionistic standards?
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:42 pm

Do you have an example?
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#2

Postby gagamanmu » Wed Jan 12, 2022 5:34 am

example would be deciding number of hours i study.. since i am trying to let go of this perfectionism suppose i decide studying 4 hrs a day is sufficient for me..i will follow this plan for some days..after some days a thought would pop up --what if 4 hrs is too less maybe i should increase another 45 minutes and this thought would continue to pop up inside my head unless and until i add another 45 minutes of study time... now i will follow this new plan for some days and again after some days a new thought would pop up -- i shouldnt have added this extra 45 minutes ,by doing this i am basically giving into my perfectionistic tendencies.. so basically this type of thoughts continue and i feel confused.

another example would be waking up. suppose i decide waking up at 5 am is ok for me. now i will follow this plan for somedays. and again due to my perfectionistic tendencies my mind would tell me u should utilise every hour for productive things. you should probably wake up at 4.30 am. now i will give into these tendency and start waking up at 4.30 am. and after some days my mind would tell me why did you give into your perfectionistic tendencies by waking up at 4.30 am. u should have stick to 5 am.. this again would create confusion

now i wan to be more decisive, decide and follow a plan to its end . not perturbed by such thoughts.

since i am also trying to let go of perfectionism.i want to set healthy non-perfectionistic standard { which is not mediocre} .how do i differerentiate btw non perfectionistic standard which is not mediocre and perfectionistic standard?
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:57 pm

I suggest revising how you are framing your standards. Specifically, I would establish a baseline and then try to make incremental improvements.

For example, if I want to learn Spanish, then I set a standard by establishing a baseline of how many new words I learn in a week. Let’s say the first week I learn 10 words. I track that it took 1 hour. This establishes a baseline. It establishes my current standard.

I don’t give a damn what other people can learn, how fast, or time spent. This is MY standard. It’s what I achieved in my list of goals. There is no “perfect”. It’s simply that I now know I can achieve 10 words in 1 hour.

With a baseline, I can now challenge myself to improve. I can try to learn 15 words next week. Or maybe I try to learn 10 words, but in 45 minutes.

Week after week after week, I am using my previous week’s performance to adjust my standard. There is no “perfect” as it is all based on what I have previously achieved.

And when I look back a year later I have achieved two things; -1- I now know several thousand words in Spanish, and (2) I know that I have slowly built up my standard so that each week it takes me only 30 minutes to learn 20 new words.

Sleep is similar. There is no perfect amount of sleep. Instead, establish a baseline. Let’s say one week you are very disciplined and get exactly 8 hours each night. Throughout the week you take zero naps and have plenty of energy. If that is the case, then you make an incremental adjustment to 7 hours and 45 minutes. The next week, 7 hours and 30 minutes.

Eventually you find yourself tired during the day and taking a nap. So you then adjust for the next week to get a bit more sleep.

Week after week it adjusts, but what happens over a period of a year? Eventually you figure out that getting 7.5 hours is generally sufficient for you. This is ON AVERAGE. There is no perfect standard, because you can’t see into the future. As life happens you adjust. As you get a new job, as you age, as you get a mild cold or take a vacation, the amount of sleep you need each week will fluctuate. And that’s okay. It’s life.
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#4

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jan 12, 2022 2:37 pm

Just to share. For most situations I make incremental adjustments weekly. Every Sunday I look at what I accomplished the previous week and adjust my targets for the upcoming week. It takes around 30 minutes to at most one hour. The time spent is well worth it.

Incrementalism vs. Perfectionism
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