This guide has 50+ free resources for overcoming perfectionism including assessments, worksheets/handouts, workbooks, guides, videos, articles, and more.
Do you hold yourself or others to unrealistic standards and find yourself defeated or frustrated when those standards aren’t met? Are you sensitive to criticism and have a fear of making mistakes? Do you have a tendency to procrastinate? Are you driven by fear or have an intense fear of failure? If so, you may be a perfectionist. And it may be hindering you instead of helping.
The Dictionary.com definition of perfectionism is “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.” The American Psychological Association further defines perfectionism as it relates to mental health as “the tendency to demand of others or of oneself an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, in excess of what is required by the situation.”
Perfectionism can be unhealthy – harmful even – and is associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
This beginner’s guide to overcoming perfectionism provides free resources for assessment, exploration, education, and motivation.
Assessment & Screening
How much of a perfectionist are you? Take a test!
- Measuring Your Perfectionism | Source: York St. John University
- Multidimensional Perfectionism Test | Online interactive tool from IDR Labs
- Perfectionist Beliefs ‘Flexibility Self-Assessment | Source: Positive Psychology
- Perfectionism Quiz (overcoming.co.uk)
- Perfectionist Quiz | A 22-question online interactive quiz by Sharon Martin (Source: Live Well with Sharon Martin)
- Perfectionism Test | Online interactive tool from PsychTests
- Self-Assessment Perfectionism Screening Test | A 15-question PDF assessment by Bill Gaultiere (Source: Soul Shepherding)
Worksheets & Handouts for Overcoming Perfectionism
Use the worksheets below to learn more about perfectionism and to do some self-exploration.
- 3 Ps of Perfectionism (from Counseling Library)
- Considering the Importance of Changing Perfectionism and Your Confidence that You Can Make Changes (overcoming.co.uk)
- Expecting Perfectionism from Others (from Positive Psychology)
- Goal-Setting to Manage Perfectionism (from Positive Psychology)
- How to Overcome Perfectionism (from Anxiety Canada)
- Identifying Perfectionist Triggers (from Positive Psychology)
- Model of Perfectionism (getselfhelp.co.uk)
- OCD/Perfectionism Thought Record Sheet (getselfhelp.co.uk)
- Perfectionism (from Dr. Danny Gagnon)
- Perfectionism Diary (from Positive Psychology)
- Perfectionism Versus Doing Things Well (from York St. John University)
- The Perfection Scale (getselfhelp.co.uk)
- Questions to Help Determine if You Have Unhelpful Perfectionism (overcoming.co.uk)
- Reevaluating Your Perfectionist Standards (from Positive Psychology)
- What is Perfectionism? (therapistaid.com)
- Which Areas of Perfectionism Apply to Me (overcoming.co.uk)
For additional worksheets and handouts see 200+ Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts.
Workbooks & Guides for Overcoming Perfectionism
- Cognitive Distortions-Perfectionism | Group facilitation material from My Group Guide
- Overcoming Perfectionism: Client Workbook | A 20-page workbook from Professor Tracey Wade, Flinders University (2019)
- Perfectionism | A workbook and information sheets from CCI
- Perfectionism | Focused Minds Program | A free, online self-help program for overcoming perfectionism
For additional PDF workbooks, manuals, and guides see 500 Free Printable Workbooks & Manuals for Therapists.
Videos for Overcoming Perfectionism
Podcasts About Perfectionism
Articles & Research About Perfectionism
Increase your knowledge and find out what research tells us about perfectionism.
- 12 Essential Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism – Sharon Martin, LCSW Counseling San Jose and Campbell, CA (sharonmartincounseling.com) (2018)
- Coping With Perfectionism | LoveToKnow
- The Dangerous Downsides of Perfectionism – BBC Future (2018)
- The Effects of Perfectionism on Mental and Physical Health (medicalnewstoday.com) (2018)
- How to Manage Your Perfectionism (from Harvard Business Review, 2019)
- How to Overcome Perfectionism (from Very Well Mind, 2020)
- How to Overcome Perfectionism: 15 Worksheets & Resources (from Positive Psychology, 2021)
- The Many Faces of Perfectionism (apa.org) (2003)
- Overcoming Perfectionism: Protocol of a Randomized Controlled Trial of an Internet-Based Guided Self-Help Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Intervention (nih.gov) (2016)
- Perfectionism | Psychology Today
- Perfectionism Linked to Burnout at Work, School and Sports, Research Finds | ScienceDaily (2015)
- Perfectionism: The Different Types of Perfectionist and How They Cope (oxford-review.com)
- Self-Compassion Counterbalances Maladaptive Perfectionism | Psychology Today (2018)
- Self-Compassion May Protect People from the Harmful Effects of Perfectionism | ScienceDaily (2018)
- What Causes Perfectionism? (psychcentral.com) (2015)
Quotes for Overcoming Perfectionism
“Perfectionism is the art of never being satisfied.”Unknown
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”Salvador Dali
“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to do our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.”
“Have the courage to be imperfect.”Alfred Adler
“Perfection is the enemy of progress.”Winston Churchill
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”
— Leo Tolstoy
Additional Resources for Overcoming Perfectionism
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