Behavioral Experiments and Exposure to Imperfection (2/9)

One of the best strategies for overcoming perfectionism involves challenging perfectionistic behaviors. For example, if you re-read emails three times before sending them, perhaps your challenge will be setting a limit of only re-reading emails two times before sending them, or even sending an email with a known small typo. 

If your perfectionistic behavior involves not inviting friends over unless your apartment is immaculate, maybe your challenge involves inviting someone over without deep cleaning it, or even with some things not put away. 

If your perfectionistic behavior is arriving to all appointments 30 minutes early, maybe you want to leave later and experiment with arriving closer to the time of the appointment. Expect that you will have some increased anxiety. Practice tolerating the anxiety. Afterward, you can evaluate the outcome and whether it was as bad as you predicted. (Most likely no one even noticed the typo or the books left on the coffee table.) 

Like many with clinical perfectionism, you might find that the outcome is not so bad and that the benefits of reducing your standards a little far outweighs the risks. You may gain a lot of time for other things!

Contributors: Lauren Muhlheim from Eating Disorder Therapy LA

Written by Ben Skute

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