Well, so much for a perfect run on 12 Blogs of Christmas. I suppose it was a bit lofty thinking I’d get blog posts written and posted the last few days before and actually on Christmas, though I admire myself for believing that I would and could.
Though I may be off schedule with it, I’m not over the spirit of the thing, so I’ll just keep it up as much as I can until the end of December. I am all about modifying goals for self-care, especially in the face of unexpected events.
There was no way of predicting, planning, or preparing for a fire to drive my family out of their home, and for them to need to stay with me for three weeks this December. We make plans and goals based on the information we have at the time, and we must modify them when life throws curve balls. That’s just the way it goes.
I’ve been thinking about goal-setting a lot as we approach New Year’s Eve and the act of writing New Year’s Resolutions. Reflecting on and wrapping up the year of madness that has been 2017. How to tackle 2018 with vigor and energy and realism. I have realized that I need to apply this attitude of modifying goals as-needed to my actual resolutions.
Goal-setting is all well and good, thinking on all the ways to improve ourselves, our lives, our relationships, is a beautiful sentiment. But I often forget to consider that even the most balanced list of goals, with tasks that focus on all facets of life and were they to be achieved would make me so much fitter/healthier/happier/better, is likely to come undone with the actual grind and flow of life.
I can make a list a mile long on all the things I’d like to change. But goal-setting isn’t only about what we have the potential to achieve. It is also about having a real sense of our own limitations. Making sure the goals are not only important, but also realistically attainable. Finding ways to be emotionally and mentally healthy enough to get a lot out of a challenge even if the exact goal isn’t met.
For example, though I’ve faltered on this 12 Blogs of Christmas challenge, I’ve still written nine posts this month. That is a far cry more than I had in previous months. It was my hope to get more posted, and 12 seemed like a great number, but so is nine because it’s better than none. I’ll take it. Plus, the month isn’t over yet, I just may hit my goal.
I didn’t used to give myself this much grace. I’m usually unbelievably hard on myself. I used to aim for perfection and anything short of it meant complete and utter failure. There was no such thing as good enough, it had to be perfect. But now I know that there is no such thing as perfect, and good enough is fantastic. Any mom will tell you that striving for perfection is a complete waste of energy and time, two resources we are already short on as parents.
So now, I take a beat, shift my expectation, and move on.
And this is good enough. We are told time and again that we can achieve greatness, so we should be constantly striving for just that. That we need to try harder, work harder, give more because it will all be worth it when we can call ourselves GREAT. But doesn’t that imply that if we aren’t great, we aren’t worthy or valued? Or that we aren’t ever great until we achieve something? And what of our daily lives in the meantime? What about our inner selves who need tending and care, who may not be much up for chasing greatness just now? Can’t we give ourselves the gift of good enough instead?
Good enough is becoming a favorite term of mine. Is the house clean for visitors? Eh, the dishes are mostly done and I vacuumed this week – good enough. Were the gifts I gave for Christmas perfect? Probably not, but they were wrapped and thoughtful and that is certainly good enough. Is the mirror image of my dark under-eye circles and stress breakout my favorite reflection? No. But it’s still my face and it’s still good enough.
Good enough doesn’t mean mediocre to me the way it used to. Now, it means all the effort, energy, and interest I pour into something is valuable and satisfying in and of itself.
As I face my daunting list of New Year’s reflections and resolutions, I will think on goals that are not only exciting, but also grounded. Goals that keep me striving and dreaming, but that are also attainable. I will create my resolutions while holding the knowledge that I am already good enough, what I have accomplished in the past year has been good enough, and what I hope to achieve in the upcoming year will be to land closer to great.
But if I don’t? Good enough is still good enough for me.