How to Expect Failure, and How Not To

New Year's Resolutions. I do 'em. But I'm not afraid to change something in the middle of the year either. In March-ish, I started counting 1000 Gifts. In October, I started running again. But, the New Year is a great time for starting fresh, so I've made a few resolutions. And I'm sharing them with you for 2 reasons: 1. To encourage you and 2. So you will encourage me. Brilliant, isn't it?

So, here goes:
  1. Kiss all my family members good morning and good night each day (or as many of us who are sleeping in the same house). 
  2. Run in a 5k, then decide if I want to run in a half-marathon. 
  3. Become healthier. The goal is to lose 75 lbs, but that may not be completed this year, as I'm breastfeeding, and want to make real change in my life. So, any weight loss will count, as will being able to run farther, play longer, eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. 
  4. Count one thousand gifts that God has given me. Like I said, I started this in March, while reading the book, but this year, there's a whole community of people doing it with me. Read this post for more details. Will you join us? 
  5. Be realistic.  
That last one requires a lot more thought; let me try to explain:
Hello, my name is Kristi and I'm a perfectionist. It has been 10 days since my last Imperfection Meltdown. 

Two explanations: Imperfection Meltdown (n): the emotional fall of a cliff that often results from something minor, say a lost shoe (or a box of Christmas presents that your mother-in-law shipped and now only the box can be found. notice the date of 10 days ago - Christmas Day. yep, we straight-up lost several Christmas presents before they could be given.). Nearly always accompanied by a tirade of hateful thoughts directed at oneself, often on repeat, e.g "I am a terrible mother. I can't even find socks for my own children. Why can't we keep this place clean? Why do we have so many socks? I am a terrible mother. There are people in this world who would love socks, and I have so many and I can't even find a pair. There are people who would love even an unmatching pair of socks, and I'm getting upset about it." (Notice how there is an ability to take something that could make you become rational, the idea that any socks are fine, or to be grateful that we have socks, and spin it so that it makes you feel worse) Sometimes includes a slight awareness that it makes no sense - it's just a shoe! (or a box of presents...) - but with the seeming inability to accept that it makes no sense and get out of the repeat cycle. 

That explanation will require the second explanation, because I just told you I'm a perfectionist, and then told you I don't have my kids' socks neatly folded in their drawers. You may be thinking, "Whaaahuh?" See, here's the thing: If you are a perfectionist, you will always fail. That's it. No way around it. You can't be perfect. So, perfectionists spend their life in this cycle of try, fail, try harder, do better, still not perfect, meltdown, try, fail, try harder... It doesn't matter what area of life we're talking about, 

If you are a perfectionist, 
you will inevitably always be a failure. 

Young moms in particular, listen to me. If you are expecting perfect, also expect failure. From you and from your children. It's not just young moms, but we tend to be the worst at this. So, I learned years ago from Martha Cilley, FLYlady, that the odd reason that my house is a mess is because I am a perfectionist. It's counterintuitive, I know, but it's absolutely true. I get overwhelmed, see that perfection is not possible, and give up. Another sick cycle.

So, basically, my resolution is to step out of these cycles when they start. To not allow the cycle to cycle. I will make my expectations realistic. I will not expect perfection. I will expect progress. I will expect good enough. I will expect being human. I will expect bad days and good days. I will expect setbacks. Setbacks, not failure! I will expect to work through those setbacks.

What about you? Are you a perfectionist? What will you resolve to expect this year, instead of perfection? 


Mrs.O said...

Perfect post about perfectionism! ;) As a fellow perfectionist, I share your struggles. We have similar resolutions: health, gratitude, and acceptance. Thank you for sharing, I really enjoy reading your posts.:)

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