It’s Wednesday night…three days into another week. I’m standing in the pantry doorway again and looking for something to nosh on. Do I go with the nuts and seeds? The flax seed and honey? Nope! I turn around to get to the cupcakes sitting proudly on the counter behind me. Oh well. The diet starts (again) on Monday!
And that about sums up nearly every healthy craze I’ve ever been on in my life.
I would hear about some new way to shred some pounds and be all about it. ALL ABOUT IT! I’d raid the fridge and toss out everything that’s not a fruit or vegetable. Hit the store and load up on only those items that would take me three hours to locate on aisles I’ve never darkened. I’d set the alarm for 4:00 a.m., for what would surely be the first of many morning workouts. And I’d get after it.
But then, Wednesday would come.
On Wednesday, temptation would show up and kick my willpower to the curb. All I could do was give in, break the diet and call it quits. There’d be no getting back on the healthy bandwagon the next morning. Forget that! This week was now shot, and I could only start again on Monday.
That was, at least, until 2012, when I found out in counseling that my condition had a name.
It’s perfectionism. And, for me, it plays out in many ways, but most notably in these all-or-nothing-ways. Either I’m going to give everything or give nothing. Either I’m the greatest success or the biggest failure. There is no middle ground. And so when I fall off the wagon, I fall hard and fast
But these days, the fall’s a little softer. A little slower. I don’t beat myself up as much whenever I fail. In fact, I’ve come to accept the fact that I will fail. And that’s actually a good thing. It means my goals are challenging. Sometimes attainable, but not too easy to grasp. It takes hard work and persistence to reach them and even harder work and greater persistence to keep reaching them.
So how about you?
Tis the season to set personal and business goals for the next year. Will you be setting some? Or maybe you’ll sidestep them for 2015? After all, if you don’t set goals, then there’s no risk of never reaching them. (Incidentally, being risk adverse is another sign of perfectionism.)
I encourage you, though, to step out and set some concrete expectations. Write them down and make them specific. Then, be prepared to fail, just as much as you’re ready to succeed. Get yourself ready for the times you’ll give in and take the easy road. And get yourself ready to give yourself some grace, pick yourself, and get right back at it. In the end, you may look back at your best year yet.
Good luck to you in all your successes and failures!