I’m guilty. Over-achiever, positive-thinker, give it my best or put it to rest. I have several classic symptoms of perfectionism, and yet, I’m not perfect. In fact, I fail to live up to my own expectations most of the time. But it isn’t the failures I’m writing about today. It’s the fact that I’m learning to be okay with them.
You know how most people make goals for themselves in the new year? I never really have—I’m afraid of not meeting them.
Yep. It’s the truth. Isn’t that lame? Doesn’t that go against everything we’re taught about setting goals? About playing to win rather than playing not to lose?
But I realized something today. Maybe the reason I fail so much is because I don’t know what I’m aiming for. Maybe the reason I feel anxious is because I don’t have a focus.
Do you ever feel that way? Anxious? And then you go make a list and you instantly feel better?
See, it’s all starting to make sense… I think. Maybe I’ve been looking at it backwards all along. I’ve been afraid of goals because they put too much pressure on me to perform—to achieve—to succeed. But in reality, it’s the absence of goals that causes me stress.
The funniest thing happened a few months ago: I set a goal. I must have forgotten for a moment that goals are scary, because I set a goal. It wasn’t an easy goal. I wasn’t even sure it was realistic. But a week ago today, just before my deadline, I achieved it.
I’m ecstatic that I met my goal; I’m shocked I did it without fretting. Not once did I worry I wouldn’t make it. Maybe it’s because I knew where I was going.
So beginning right now, I’m trying something new: I’m resolving to take the pressure off myself. I’m tired of letting worry rob my joy. I’m tired of letting fear stunt my growth. I’m going to set goals, and I’m going to meet them, and I’m going to be okay with myself when I don’t.
Failure is not the enemy, I think. It’s the fear of it that is.