Watch for signs like the following:
- You worry about your performance.
- You put things off.
- You continually redo things.
- You over-check locks, windows, taps, switches, sleeping children, etc.
- You are excessively tidy.
Conversely, you are excessively sloppy or untidy. (You believe that nothing should be done unless it can be done perfectly, so very little does get done).
You worry about cleanliness. You wash your hands more than you need to, vacuum the carpets every day, or forbid your children to play in the dirt. You avoid activities such as camping, picnics, or even sex, because you are afraid of mess or contamination.
You engage in compulsive behaviours. You feel as though you are compelled to do things like read books or magazines right through no matter how boring, eat everything in front of you whether you like it or not, or repeatedly wash your hands or tidy your desk if things get even a little out of place.
You worry that others will disapprove or you will put yourself down if you do not ‘match up’.
For a week or so, keep a diary of the times you find yourself overdoing something. Record where you were and what was happening, your perfectionistic feelings and behaviours, and the thoughts involved. This ‘ABC’ diary will help clue you in to the extent you do it, and the typical triggers involved.