Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year Resolutions: Selective Perfectionism?



I am a selective perfectionist. Not a pure perfectionist. If I were a pure perfectionist, I would be at my ideal weight. 

Here is an example of how my selective perfectionism plays out that has nothing to do with weight, which I do not want to talk about on the heels of Christmas cookie consumption. 

Other than when on vacation, I post on this blog Mondays and Thursdays . . . every Monday and Thursday. So it was disappointing to me when, yesterday—Monday, December 29, 2014, not that I am obsessing about it—I forgot. I didn’t only forget to post; I forgot to even write a draft. Sure, I was busy with freelance assignments I wanted to complete before the end of the year, and who isn’t a bit off routine during the holidays, even if not officially on vacation? But I was still disappointed. When I started this blog, I selected for perfect execution a commitment to write these posts regularly—whether or not they would be “any good”; whether or not anyone would read, like, comment on, or share them; whether or not I felt like writing. And then I “failed” at that selective perfectionism, and felt disappointed.

I know. Lame. But for some of us, the disappointment is real to one degree or another. And we can be especially susceptible to setting ourselves up for it this time of year. When we set specific New Year resolutions, most of us think—or at least hope—we can achieve the perfection we have selected to achieve. I call that selective perfectionism at its best—or worst. And maybe we can achieve perfection. Lots of people were not at their ideal weight on January 1, 2014, and now they are. Well, maybe not lots, but some.

But what if we resolve to lose ten pounds by the first of March 2015 and we lose only five pounds by then instead? What if we resolved to complete the first draft of that novel by June, but find ourselves only fifty thousand words in when summer rolls around? 

Perhaps selective perfectionism leads to not only feeling disappointment in ourselves but enough discouragement to make us want to give up altogether.  

Here is what I think we should do: Set some goals and resolve to do our best to get close to meeting them. Goals are good, but selecting progress rather than perfectionism might be the best thing we can do. So, let’s lose some weight. Get some exercise. Stop to smell the roses. 

Post a day late.

And if we are writers, write!

What encouragement can you share with those hoping to make changes in 2015? Share on a social media site or leave a comment here!

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