Hey friend, I’m Chloe, a perfectionist. You, too? We should get t-shirts. But seriously, it’s an easy trap to fall into. We live in a world and society where it’s celebrated. Instagram shows us ‘perfect’ yoga poses, ‘perfect’ bodies, ‘perfect’ plates of avo on toast. We’re shown ‘the ideal’ on crappy TV shows, in magazines, on adverts. If you’re in this society of ours, it’s hard to escape it. And it can be even more of an influence if we’re already people-pleasers, or overachievers (hello).

So, first of all, I just want to remind you, if you’re like me and struggling with overwhelming perfectionism, that society is set-up to make us feel that way. That’s how consumerism and capitalism work.

And second of all, I want to give you an alternative: the concept of ‘good enough’. If we can actually lean into this idea, notice when we’re drifting into our perfectionist tendencies and come back, it can actually help us find more balance and fulfilment. Trust me—I’ve been working on this myself and it’s been a bit of a game-changer.

But perfectionism isn’t that bad, is it?

It’s actually a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we can be driven to make brilliance happen. We can push our bodies to the point of being ‘acceptable’ by Love Island standards (hurrah!?), we can ‘be the best’ in our industry, have ‘the nicest’ house, or run the shortest marathon. It’s easy when we think about the yoga practice, because so many of us come to yoga for the physicality, the way we look. A perfectionist would see a ‘perfect’ crow pose and aim high to get there; that’s the ultimate goal. And it’s not a terrible thing to work towards, there are many benefits we can find from working on arm balances.

However, and I’m sure you’re aware of the other side of the sword here, these standards are basically impossible. Even if you do meet the ‘ideal’ body type for Love Island, become ‘the best’ at what you do, the glory will be fleeting before you’re no longer at the top of the podium. Either that, or you’ll completely burn-out or do some serious damage to yourself trying to stay there. This constant pursuit of ‘the ideal’ sets us hugely unrealistic standards that leave us feeling not good enough, incapable, less-than, regardless of how hard we try.

Breaking free of ‘perfect’

How do we notice it and find the balanced response, then? The first thing we need to do, like so many personal development missions, is to notice our tendency towards perfectionism and recognising it as an illusion. It’ll promise you happiness, my friend, but it’ll only deliver disappointment at best.


One of the first steps in shifting your state is learning to accept yourself, warts and all. Yes, that means accepting yourself even when your body looks absolutely nothing like those on the telly, or your Instagram looks nothing like hers. You’ll probably have an ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset, you probably believe anything less than perfect is a failure. But here’s the truth: nobody, nothing, is ‘perfect’.

Set better goals

The next thing to support this recovery (because it is a recovery), is to set realistic goals and expectations. What if you aim for progress? What if you just simply try your best and see enormous value in that? What if the goals we set ourselves allow room for setbacks and mistakes? Cue loud intake of breath. Mistakes? Yes, friend. Mistakes can actually be brilliant gifts, it’s all in our mindset. The key here is to celebrate our achievements, regularly and often, no matter how small.

Replace negative self-talk

If you’re like me, your perfectionist ways have given you a pretty strong inner critic that continuously tells you you’re not good enough. You’ll be constantly comparing and analysing yourself and your efforts. And that voice in your head will be a loud one; I’ll be happy when I lose the weight / get the job / find the perfect partner (they don’t exist either, sorry to burst your bubble).

We need to challenge this shitty voice, loudly and often. The key here is to really notice when you hear it, and to replace it with positive affirmations. Switch the ‘oh my god I look so fat in this’ to ‘this outfit isn’t right for my incredible body’. Trust me, you didn’t cringe as much as I did writing this. But it’s important. Tell yourself often how fucking beautiful you are, your body is, how amazingly talented you are, how good you are at asking for help, at helping others… even when it makes you cringe. And this is a skillset that won’t be learned overnight. Keep on telling yourself these good things, and over time your horrible inner critic will get quieter and quieter.


To follow on from your self-compassion, learn to practice mindfulness. Not only is this a wonderful self-care practice as it is, but this is a way to help you intercept that shitty voice in your head and the perfectionist monkey running your life. Mindfulness teaches us to come back to presence often, release the urge to control everything, and find some squishy, joyful goodness in simple things.

This practice might look like a regular meditation habit; meditation is a wonderful tool that teaches us to find more calm and presence even when we’re not meditating. Or maybe it’s a simple breath practice throughout your day (I recommend this one). Or maybe you just like to sit with your morning coffee in your garden and watch the clouds. Whatever you do, make it simple, enjoyable, and regular, and you’ll start to notice when your inner perfectionist comes out, ready to slay it with positive affirmations.

Remember to fail

Lastly, I just want to give a nod to failure. I mentioned this earlier: making mistakes can be one of the best things you do for your progress. We don’t tend to think of it that way, though. We’ve been taught to see failing as a reflection of our worth, rather than an opportunity for growth, reflection, and magic. The next time something doesn’t go your way, or the next time you mess up, ask yourself: what’s the gift in this? It seems a small thing, but this has been a practice I’ve been working on for the last year or so, and it’s been a magical way of seeing failure as a guide, helping me develop resilience and bounce back stronger and braver. It’ll do the same for you, too.

The takeaway

Letting go of perfectionism isn’t easy. Hell, even recognising you have perfectionist tendencies can be a challenge to start with. But I’m here to remind you that it’s keeping you small, sad, stressed, and overwhelmed. If you’re looking for more balance, more self-care, higher self-worth, and more joy and fulfilment, reducing these perfectionist ways is the key. Learn to accept yourself as you are, set realistic goals, challenge your negative thoughts, embrace failure, and use mindfulness to get you there. It’ll make you resilient, confident, radiant (as if you need help there), and you’ll have way less stress, helping you to live a happier, healthier life. Go embrace ‘good enough’ today, and see what magic happens.

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Chloe - TYR Founder & Joyful Living Coach

POSTED: 08/05/2024

Chloe is a yoga teacher, mindfulness guide, and joyful living coach, and she thinks the meaning of life is probably to be as happy as possible.

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