Are you an over-achiever? These 10 behaviors give it away

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Do you keep pushing yourself to be the best?

Do you keep raising the bar with the goals you set for yourself?

It sounds to me that you could be an over-achiever.

While it’s great to have drive and ambition, high-performers like yourself tend to engage in unhealthy behaviors that can lead to burnout, stress, and a lack of work-life balance.

If you’re not sure whether you fall into this category, here are 10 behaviors that may give it away.

Let’s dive right in:

1) You fall apart if you don’t meet your goals

Now, if you’re an over-achiever, you’re gonna keep setting extremely high standards for yourself (some might even say impossible).

But what happens when you fail to meet those standards? What happens when you’re unable to reach a goal?

You fall apart.

You get stressed, depressed, and possibly even experience burnout – that’s when you reach a state of total mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion and the symptoms are similar to those of a nervous breakdown!

It’s one thing to be ambitious, but quite another to expect so much from yourself. It’s just not healthy.

2) You’re self-critical

Here’s another thing.

No matter how well you’re doing, you’re extremely hard on yourself and keep telling yourself “It’s not good enough, you can do better.”

I mean, I get wanting to be your best self and striving for self-improvement but there’s a line and once you cross it, you lose touch with reality.

Now, I don’t know where it stems from – possibly your childhood – but you need to recognize that you’re an over-achiever and work on that.

You need to be able to tell yourself, “Well done! That’s some amazing work you’re doing!” or “You did so well, I’m so proud of you!”

3) You work long hours and don’t make time for your personal life

A surefire sign that you’re an over-achiever is that your personal life is pretty much non-existent.

The truth is that you’re so obsessed with work and making something of yourself that you end up working long hours and sacrificing your free time for work-related tasks.

And the result?

A total lack of life-work balance. You don’t have time to see your friends and family, and dear oh dear, don’t get me started on your love life!

4) You say “yes” to more work even when your hands are full

You know you can say “no” right?

Over-achievers like yourself often feel like they have to keep saying “yes” when someone asks them to take on new projects or responsibilities. And get it, you wanna make yourself useful and show that you’re a team player.

But what if you’ve already got your hands so full that you’re working 10-12 hours a day? What if you can’t remember the last time you took a weekend off?

There are two things you need to keep in mind: First, if you’re overworked, you’re not going to be able to deliver the same level of quality in your work.

Second, there’s more to life than work and you’d do well to remember that from time to time.

5) You feel guilty when you take a break

On those rare occasions when you’re not working on the weekend or you use a few days of your vacation, you feel… guilty…

You might find yourself at the beach, unable to just relax and be in the moment because you’ll be wondering how they’ll get by at work without you.

You’ll probably keep checking your email to make sure everything is alright.

That’s a surefire sign that you’re an over-achiever.

But trust me, it’s okay to take time off once in a while, it won’t make you any less successful.

6) You’re a perfectionist

The thing about perfectionists is that while they have some positive attributes, being a perfectionist is also dangerous.


Because you can’t actually achieve perfection, so striving for the impossible is bound to leave you disappointed and then some!

Aim to do a good job and strive for excellence every once in a while. But perfection? Not gonna happen.

Also, the sooner you make peace with the fact that sometimes the results you get will be “average” the better off you’ll be.

7) You have a hard time delegating tasks

Turns out that a lot of over-achievers are also control freaks. I mean they need to oversee everything that’s being done because they just don’t trust others to do as good a job as them. This goes for both work and home.

So, if you have trouble delegating tasks to others and feel like you need to do everything yourself, it’s another sign that proves you’re an over-achiever.

The solution?

Force yourself to sit back every once in a while. Let your co-workers finish a task. Let your partner make dinner even if they’re not a great cook. It’s okay, it’s really not the end of the world!

8) You’re super competitive

You probably have a tendency to be competitive, even in non-competitive situations.

But guess what – life is not one big competition. Nobody cares whether or not you “beat them” or do better than them in whatever it is that you think you’re competing in.

I mean, even when you make homemade bread you feel the need to make the best bread! Talk about over-achieving!

9) You don’t know what to do when you’re not working

Feeling anxious or stressed when you’re not working or being productive?

I get it, I’ve known people like you my whole life.

You have a hard time relaxing or turning your brain off from work-related thoughts, that’s another surefire sign that you’re an overachiever.

Ever tried meditating or doing yoga? I think you could really benefit from these practices – they could really help you learn to live in the present and to relax a little.

10) You over-plan

Finally, if you like to over-plan and schedule your day down to the minute it’s because you’re an over-achiever.

The problem is that the day only has 24 hours and with your planning, you’d think it was 34! And to get everything you planned done – you will bend over backwards and sacrifice your mental and physical well-being!

And if you don’t manage?

You’ll think that you’re a failure and feel miserable for letting yourself and the whole world down!

You definitely need to slow down and start making more manageable “to do” lists. Once you get everything on your list done, if you have some spare time you can think about giving yourself another task or two, but take it easy!

Jelena Dincic

Jelena has a background in photography and film-making and has spent the last few years as a content editor and copywriter. Jelena is a citizen of the world who is passionate about travel and learning about new cultures. She’s a foodie who loves to cook. And, as an art lover, she is always experimenting with new art mediums. When she’s not at her computer, she’s usually out and about in some forest with her dogs.

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