…Is worth doing poorly.
This nugget of wisdom came from one of my motherly mentors from years ago who held my hand and kicked my butt through a mind-bogglingly difficult experience abroad in the cold of Montreal, Canada. She has inspired my hobby of taking common sayings, flipping them upside-down, and showing how IDEAListic thinking isn’t always REAListic. Or helpful.
And I couldn’t think of a better way to join hands and step into the new year with you wonderful ladies than by doing this awesome thing called “lowering your expectations”.
This is not about lowering your expectations, though many a pessimist my say so. This is about taking the fear and sometimes overwhelming anxiety out of this thing called “making a New Years Resolution”.
Let me preface this with a little candor: I HATE goal-setting. Seriously. Anytime anyone even mentions the word “goal” (particularly if they say it as if it’s a pleasant thing) I just get all bitchy and ragey. I’m not even entirely sure why (though I’m sure my therapist and I will be exploring this soon…), but it just makes me automatically want to halt whatever it is I was trying to do and forget about it altogether.
And I *think* it might be because of this whole “anything worth doing is worth doing well” crap. Sure, I get what it means. If you’re gonna do it, go all the way. Get it right, make it great. But once again, I have to wonder who it is that came up with this commonly-known phrase. I sense it was the person on the receiving end of the task (and perhaps an impatient person!) because what does the doer stand to lose in creating something less than ideal? Huh. Let’s see, they get novelty, practice, skill-building, cognitive learning, a marginally satisfactory result….you don’t have to do a stand-up job the first time to gain all of that. You just have to DO it. Frankly, all this phrase does for me personally is instill a nice strong dose of anxiety and fear of failure when I attempt a new venture when I could have performed equally as well (and probably more naturally and more enjoyably) without that pressure.
So. Tomorrow is New Years Eve. It’s resolution day. If it works for you to ramp yourself up and mentally commit yourself to a new goal with a plan to stick to it perfectly then, by all means, do it! But if you’re like me, you’re better off making your resolution similar to this:
“My resolution is to _________________. And to, at the bare minimum, actually DO it. Not do it well, not do it exactly on schedule or at the right place or with perfect finesse, but to do it as poorly as my untrained, undisciplined self is able. Hell, my goal is to just show up. Arrive at the gym, take out the paints, pull out the journal, even if all I end up with is two sit-ups, a stick figure, or today’s date.”
Then once you’ve done a really disgustingly ridiculously awful job of whatever it is you set out to do, do it again.
Maybe you’ll hate it.
Maybe you’ll quit.
Maybe you’ll learn you suck at something you thought you’d be good at.
That’s okay. Because if it was worth enough for you to set a goal to accomplish it, it was worth doing a bloodsuckingly mediocre job. Trust me, I do it all the time. It’s worth it.
Happy New Year!!!
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