Did you notice in the above model that there is no way to achieve satisfaction? Even if the positive
consequences occurred, you still felt compelled to continue pursuing your perfectionistic path.
Having worked through the modules in this Information Pack, what do you now see as the pros and cons of
this view of goal-setting and achievement? Write down some of your thoughts.
Loosening up my unrelenting standards
The vicious cycle of perfectionism shows us how we can get stuck into a negative spiral that keeps the
perfectionism going. But the good thing about a cycle is that we can reverse it to become a more positive
cycle. It’s like a wheel that is moving in a certain direction, and we can slow down its momentum by putting
some force against the old motion, shifting the direction of the spin into a more positive direction. Your
perfectionist habit of unrelenting standards keeps the wheel spinning in its original direction, and you might
feel stuck in that negative perfectionism cycle. To shift its direction involves loosening up your unrelenting
standards. This requires a large amount of effort at first, but after a while and with some persistence it
becomes easier, and the new positive spin develops its own momentum.
We hope by now that you have been able to begin loosening up your unrelenting high standards, and are
experiencing some satisfaction from setting more reasonable goals which offer you more chance of success.
Let’s take a look at loosening up those unrelenting standards, and what you need to do to continue.
We realise that old negative rules and assumptions might get activated when faced with certain tasks or
goals. Those unhelpful rules for living have been around for a long time, and we can’t expect them to
disappear overnight. Over time we can expect them to fade somewhat and not be so easily activated, but
for now it is extremely important to be aware when those old rules and your perfectionism mindset
become activated. Instead of being influenced by them into an old pattern of unrelenting standards, you can
choose to react differently, by setting more appropriate standards for yourself (and others).
To remind you, this new and different approach to your old rules and assumptions involves the following:
• Adjust your unhelpful rules and assumptions by challenging them, developing new and more
helpful rules and assumptions and putting them into practice
• Put your perfectionism in perspective by setting yourself reasonable and attainable standards
• Evaluate your performance objectively, looking out for signs of success and achievement
• Give yourself a pat on the back if your standards have been met. If they have not been met,
take a good look at the standards, and ask yourself if you’d set them too high to be achievable.
• Practice. Keep up the good work and it will become easier. Remember, practice makes perfect!!!!
We have developed a new model to incorporate more appropriate goal-setting.
Overleaf is a way of looking at a healthier approach to achievement.
• Psychotherapy • Research • Training
Module 9: Putting it all together