Are You An Overachiever? 7 Steps To Get Out Of Your Own Way

Licensed Social Worker By Amita Patel, LMSW
Licensed Social Worker
Amita Patel, LMSW, is the owner and founder of, a coaching services company that empowers individuals to achieve their goals and make them stick. She received master's degrees from New York University in both philanthropy and fundraising, and clinical and medical social work. Her unique, no-nonsense, holistic approach combines nutrition, physical activity, relationships, career, and personal philosophy. Patel has been featured on CBS, NBC, and the Huffington Post.

If you're an overachiever, you are probably thinking one of three things:

  1. There's no such thing as an overachiever!
  2. I like things to be perfect, what's wrong with that?
  3. [Eye-roll or other behavior to show being in denial]

Whether you think you're an overachiever or not, we all get a little crazed from time to time. Here are seven tips to get out of your own way if you find yourself putting way too much pressure on yourself.

1. Unplug.

If the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night is look at your phone, it's time to unplug. It's virtually impossible to have a healthy work-life balance when you're obsessing over what needs to be done, and inevitably your phone reminds you of emails you need to respond to or forgot to acknowledge, upcoming meetings or appointments — the list is probably never-ending.

So set aside a few times each day to look at your phone and make every effort to stick to it. Yes, that includes Facebook.

2. Stay out of it.

Let's take that unplug from #1 and extend it to other areas of your life. I'm not saying you should live in a cave or stop talking to your friends, but limiting your negative news intake, gossip time and need to stay on top of all the latest events both in your social life and in the world at large will give you the opportunity to shift your energy inward and clue into your own life.

What makes you happy? What makes you feel creative? An essential part of living is getting in touch with these things, and we simply can't if we feel a constant pressure to "plug in" to and invest in everyone else's business at all times.

3. Ask yourself "Why?"

Sure, you want to conquer the world, but if you're waking up at 5 am to exercise, work your job, create a side-hustle, go out for happy hour, and try to be a loving friend/partner/parent, one has to ask a big fat "Why?"

Seriously. You may tell yourself, "That's just how it is," or "I need to keep up with everyone else." But if it feels like you achieve and keep achieving in order to feel validated and worthy, then you could be setting yourself up for emotional disappointment and frustration. What could you do to give that to yourself instead? After all, true happiness comes from the inside-out.

4. Just say "no."

Often times, the impulse to overachieve stems from a desire for validation. Have you ever noticed your perfectionist friends are not only super disciplined about the gym and work and email, but also committed to people pleasing? Well let me ask you think: even if it seems like pleasing others will make them like you more, does it make you like yourself? If you say "yes" when you really want to say "no," it's a sign that you're acting from a place of guilt, fear, or low self-worth.

Now's the time to set some boundaries. People will actually like you more if you are your whole, authentic self, and that includes saying "no" sometimes.

5. Look at who you surround yourself with.

This one's simple, but surprisingly is an issue for most of us. Those we spend our time with can boost us, support us, and bring us joy and love, or they can be energy-vampires. Take a good look at who you are spending time with. Are they competitive and negative? Or supportive and generous? Listen to your intuition when asking these questions.

And, of course, limit your exposure to people who bring you down and you will naturally be attracted to people who inspire and ignite your inner soul fire.

6. Amp up the self-love.

What can you do that's just for you? Is there a hobby you've stopped participating in? When's the last time you read a book purely for enjoyment? Do things each day that contribute to your self-care. Make it a non-negotiable, not a once-in-a-while activity. The act of valuing yourself as much as you value others will shift that need-to-please mentality.

7. Stop complaining.

When you bitch and moan, I don't like you. You don't like you. Nobody likes you!

Instead of telling the Universe what you don't want, why not state what you do want? Replace the negativity with positivity and see the shift it makes in your life, relationships and career.

Ultimately, it's not about achieving more, it's about achieving more of what's right for you. And that requires being your authentic self. Try these seven tips and get ready to have more joy and less stress.

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