While aiming high helps you achieve greater success, at times your ambitious nature may lead to such a level of stress that you risk ‘burn out’. New studies on this topic show that while great pursuits are not a bad thing, there is a level of perfectionism that is so high that it can lead to stress, frustration, depression & more.
Studies discussed at Livescience.com describe new research showing that 90+% of highly ambitious people refer to themselves as ‘perfectionists’. The study also revealed that the trick to keeping stress & potential burnout at bay is to keep your high standards but avoid beating yourself up when you don’t meet every expectation or goal. A fine line to walk basically!
While the above strategy may seem difficult to balance perfectionism + forgiveness for failures, consider the alternatives. Stress related to perfectionistic tendencies & high-goals has been linked to:
- Mental health problems
- Physical health problems
- …& even early death!
So is it worth trying to find this balance to avoid any of the above? After all, any of the above problems will set you back on your goals far longer – or even permanently!
How to Avoid Burnout
Study author Andrew Hill, a sports psychologist at York St. John University in England explains that:
Perfectionists “tend to be rigid,” Hill said. If they set their goals too high, they may burn out or bow out at the first sign of failure. Thinking of achievements in degrees, rather than as pure success or failure, can help reduce the stress that causes burnout, Hill said.
So what can you do today to start on this path?
Start by outlining your goals & thinking of all of the steps involved in achieving them. While you still want to outline dates & deadlines, remember the ‘degrees of credit’ advice suggested by Hill. Instead of thinking of everything as success or failure give yourself a rating: ‘70%’ & then use that as an additional motivator to continuously improve your rating/scores on all fronts.
…After all, 100% is not achievable 100% of the time – so remember to give yourself partial credit PLUS a bonus for the overall amount of projects you are tackling at once!
To Your Best Health,
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