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Why Would I Want to Change My Overachieving?

KD Holmes, LPCThis specific type of anxiety and depression is difficult to change because most individuals don't want to change something that brings them accolades in the world, positive feelings within, and intense fear that they are avoiding catastrophes with these overachieving habits.   

I compare it to addiction.  Yes, I said it.  It's like that person is addicted to achieving, comparable to alcoholics who don't want to give up their nightly drink.

Overachievers cannot dream of giving up their style of living.  I say living because it affects every area of their lives.  I know this because I am an overachiever and have been managing my achievement urges for some time.  I will have a blog on this later. 

STEP ONE: LOOKING AT THE PROS AND CONS OF OVERACHIEVING (DBT SKILL)

What are the pros of overachieving?

  • It is a genius way of managing anxiety and depression.  

    Even though it creates more symptoms, it normally begins because someone is depressed and anxious.  The achieving stops the anxiety and depression momentarily. 

  • It is praised and reinforced in our society and by our families. 

  • It feels good to achieve and work towards achievements.  

  • It keeps us meeting goals.  

    If this overachieving anxiety was less I might "fail". 

  • It is most likely a core value, which means it a value that you live by.

What are the cons of overachieving

It is essential to know rationally why you would want to change.  This keeps us motivated and is a good reminder of your goal...changing your anxiety and depression symptoms.  

  • It is exhausting.  

    Life is full of goals and when all your time is spent achieving your body becomes exhausted.  Rest and relaxation (which is how we recharge) are normally not part of the process.

  • It is time consuming.  

    Lots of individuals report large amounts of time spent on goals. Sometimes we spend lots of time in our heads, which takes time away from experiences in our lives.  

  • Relationships are normally last on the list unless you can engage in compulsive overachiever behaviors in these relationships.  

    Some family and friends are part of checking, rechecking, reassurance seeking, and or goal achieving.  You will engage in these relationships as a part of your compulsive behavior patterns. It can damage those relationships and limit building other ones. 

  • Sometimes we put our goals on family and friends.

    We may demand that they be just as goal-driven as we are.  These individuals may find it difficult to be around us.  For those who have children, I must assert that there is nothing worse than a perfectionistic parent who is impossible to please. Be mindful of putting this extreme style of achieving on them, weather consciously or unconsciously.  Sometimes children learn from what they see more than from what we say.  

  • Overachieving increases depression and anxiety.  

    Because overachievers are always in process of achieving they report increased anxiety, worrying several times throughout the day, problems sleeping, depressed mood, low self esteem, social anxiety triggered by perfectionistic thinking about social interactions, irritability, anger outbursts, difficulty having fun,  difficulty relaxing, lots of time spent in compulsive behaviors, low engagement in peer relationships, and conflict with family.  

Once the pros and cons are identified...Do the cons outweigh the pros, if so change can begin.  Support is essential to facilitating this type of change.New call-to-action

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