Healthy Striving Vs Perfectionism: Maintaining the Right Balance

Last Update on January 9, 2024 : Published on January 9, 2024
Healthy Striving Vs Perfectionism

A lot of people might have told you that, “Perfectionism is toxic”, or “Perfectionism is not good for mental health.” Well, in my view, “The right amount of perfectionism can be good for your overall well-being including your professional and personal backgrounds.” 

If you’re told by someone that you’re a perfectionist, maybe they have perceived, “You’re an all-or-nothing kind of personality.” Having a thought process of “either success or failure” can be toxic sometimes.

And if you think you’re running in the race of perfectionism alone, you’re not alone, the number of people struggling with perfectionism issues is increasing year by year. 

As I mentioned above, the right balance of perfectionism referred to as healthy striving can be the ultimate key to pursuing your goals without struggling with self-doubt or people-pleasing.

This blog covers the difference between perfectionism and healthy striving and how to maintain the right balance. 

What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism can be defined as an urge to set unachievable goals or high standards for yourself. The goals might be realistic but they involve high standards.

In the beginning, you might feel energized or excited, but after that, you might start feeling weighed down as you start developing fear that your goals won’t be met. 

What is Healthy Striving?

Healthy striving involves the process of setting realistic goals. The goals set are realistic, achievable, and involve high standards. Healthy striving keeps you grounded and helps you maintain the right balance of high performance or overachievement. In a nutshell, healthy striving is admitting that you can’t do it all and adjusting your goals when necessary. 

Key differences between Procedural memory and Declarative memory

Healthy Striving Perfectionism
Healthy striving is setting realistic goals. Perfectionism is setting unachievable goals that involve high standards.
Healthy striving is healthy because it’s all about celebrating small victories throughout the process. The goals are met with self-compassion, self-motivation, and comprehension.  Perfectionism leads to fear, sadness, and hopelessness as the goals are unachievable. In the urge to do everything perfectly, goals remain unmet. 
The process of healthy striving makes you feel energetic throughout the process and it allows you to self-comprehend. The urge of perfectionism never feels enough which might lead to self-shame, judgment, and constant blaming. 
Healthy striving helps in maintaining the right amount of focus, energy, or motivation you might need to achieve something. The goals are more based on your wants and values.  Perfectionism involves extrinsic motivation which can be sometimes exhausting as people-pleasing factors can slow down your journey of reaching goals. 
When you move towards healthy striving, you eventually develop a smart move technique. Hence, you start adjusting your goals and moves which not only helps you reach goals but also promotes self-confidence within.  It’s a fact that when you want to do everything perfectly, you unknowingly welcome self-judgment and criticism. You start feeling like you’re a failure and eventually the progress stops.
Healthy striving is all about maintaining your energy throughout the process so that you can approach the deadline progressively and feel proud of your efforts and self-learning.   Perfectionism involves extrinsic motivation which can be sometimes exhausting as people-pleasing factors can slow down your journey of reaching goals. 
Healthy striving is the process of self-learning, bouncing back resiliently, promoting a growth mindset, and exploring your abilities.  Perfectionism involves reviewing things excessively, constant reassurance seeking, chronic procrastination, avoiding tasks, and self-declaring your decisions in the middle.
Healthy striving makes you look self-confident and confident. Perfectionism might make you look super messy and still ensure that things are on track. 

Making a Smart Move Towards Healthy Striving

It’s a fact that perfectionists are well aware of their tendencies, abilities, and strengths. However, they might need to look deeply at their weaknesses as well. This will help understand their spectrum and pattern of doing this.

A positive shift towards healthy striving may help them achieve everything they might have wished for (be it personally or professionally). If you count yourself as a perfectionist, here’s what you can do to shift your focus and abilities toward healthy striving: 

1. Identify your goals and focus on the needful:

The first step towards healthy striving is to identify your goals, break them down, set your priorities, and focus on the tasks that need your detailed attention. This way you’ll be achieving 80% of work in the initial days and you’ll get extra time for reviewing. 

2. Follow your path honestly:

Throughout the process, maintain honesty, focus on your tasks but also focus on the controllable things. Let go of past mistakes, guilt, or self-shame spiral.  

3. Avoid “all-or-nothing”, learn from your mistakes, and bounce back resiliently:

In order to thrive again and maintain a positive growth mindset, avoid “all-or-nothing”, instead focus on self-learning, promote your strengths, and bounce back. 

4. Adopt SMART technique or short-term goals:

Instead of deep-dwelling into everything, adopt mindfulness, SMART Techniques, or short-term goals techniques to rise like a star in professional backgrounds. 

5. Celebrate your small victories:

Set short goals for every day and celebrate your small victories regularly to keep the self-motivation and comprehension process maintained. 

6. Develop self-compassion and question your challenges with self-awareness:

Practice self-compassion, and do everything with proper kindness, attention, and understanding. At the same time, practice self-awareness to avoid negative thoughts and self-judgment. 

I hope this blog helps you understand healthy striving vs perfectionism and how to maintain the right balance. Comment down your views on healthy striving.

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Thanks for reading! 

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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