6 Tips for a Healthy mind, Healthy You for a New Year

The new year usually brings self-reflection into a tighter focus, and as we say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 we reached out to Louisa DiLeone of Bloom Counseling. In these uncertain times, we wanted to get her professional opinion that we could take to heart on striving and stressing in an oh-so-perfectionist world. She offered up these 6 tips on how to refocus, check-in, and connect in this new year:


Understand the difference between healthy striving and perfectionistic behavior. Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?” People who strive to be the best they can be, do so for themselves and accept both their strengths and weaknesses. They are flexible in their approach in reaching their goals, which is especially helpful in times of uncertainty.  

Practice self-compassion. Our routines have been interrupted, plans have changed, and many things continue to be out of our control. Instead of judging yourself for not being able to hold it all together, show yourself compassion and understanding during this stressful time. Practice acknowledging and appreciating the things you have been able to do, instead of comparing yourself to others and striving for perfection.

Reevaluate your expectations. Perfectionists have impossibly high standards and put an intense amount of pressure on themselves. This often results in feeling exhausted, burned out, and resentful. Work on identifying your motivation for wanting to appear perfect. What do you think would happen if you cut yourself some slack and did things to the point of being just “good enough”? By getting in touch with your underlying fears, you’ll be one step closer to letting go of your perfectionism and living a more relaxed and fulfilling life.

Let go of people-pleasing. Perfectionists strive to be liked and accepted by others, which means they say yes to a lot. Sometimes they even offer to do things before being asked. The absolute best way to let go of people-pleasing is to start setting boundaries with those around you. So before saying yes, check-in with yourself. If it’s something you don’t want (or have the capacity) to do, say no. It’s the ultimate form of self-care.

Connect with others. Because perfectionism is rooted in judgment and shame, it makes it very difficult to connect on a deeper level, as it doesn’t allow space for vulnerability. True connection happens when we can be our true selves, sharing both our proudest achievements and deepest inadequacies. Failing to be real in our relationships can greatly limit emotional intimacy and make it difficult to feel close. We know that support and connection are important during difficult times, so start with someone safe, and slowly open up about how you’re actually doing and feeling.

Shift your focus to the present moment. Perfectionists put too much focus on the end goal, and they’re really good at moving goalposts. This makes it very difficult for them to accept credit for, and feel satisfied with, their achievements. By shifting your focus to the process, rather than the result, you’ll feel less anxious and better able to find enjoyment in the moment. 


Louisa DiLeone is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Huntsville, Alabama and the owner of Bloom Counseling. She specializes in working with high-achieving, perfectionistic teens, professionals, and athletes, empowering them to feel better, live authentically, and perform at their fullest. To learn more, check out www.bloomhuntsville.com

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