I was thinking about new year resolutions back in November. As 2018 was coming to a close and the holidays were upon us, I found myself exhausted from a very long year. Still, I looked forward to spending our first Christmas in our new home.
In between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my husband had a hip replacement, which meant I needed to take on more of the household tasks, like taking the garbage down the long driveway from the house to the road and decorating the inside and outside for Christmas. Both these tasks were his for years. He was great at taking out the garbage and decorating. He has an artistic eye for detail which is advantageous to both of those tasks.
In the days just before his surgery, I started to panic — realizing that I was adding another layer of caregiving to my already busy role in caring for my daughter. I decided to take my own advice from my book and just BREATHE.
We all made it through my husband’s surgery just fine and managed to have a few laughs as my daughter challenged him to walker races down the hallway in the hospital. She even loaned him her service dog – who seemed a little annoyed when asked to retrieve items for my husband. I think the dog was looking for more treats for extra tasks and we gratefully complied.
I looked back at this whirlwind year in wonder. We sold our house and moved into our fixer-upper, which of course took more time and money than we had planned. I planned on spending the winter unpacking and discarding more stuff – a goal that’s been haunting and motivating me since we decided to move.
But instead, I spent the winter chasing rodents and dealing with floods, overflowing septic systems, heating and electricity issues that all come with opening a house that’s been sitting vacant for close to a decade.
March came in like a lamb and rolled out like a lion as the promise of spring brought more snow and the need for more surgery in my daughter’s brain. Six weeks later she was hospitalized for a blood infection and suffered intractable grand mal seizures that nearly claimed her life.
We spent the summer adjusting to the new normal – seeking solace in reclaiming a yard gone wild with ticks and weeds and locust trees. Eventually, I planted a prayer garden and my aspirations found some reward.
Needless to say, I was exhausted by the end of the year and I wasn’t sure I was ready to set resolutions for a new year ahead. The possibility that my perfectly crafted resolutions would need to be adjusted — or even ditched — for more emergent needs was very great.
The one thing I have learned about life in my 55 years: it is anything but predictable.
So, rather than be discouraged about all I hadn’t accomplished, I decided to set one intention as the foundation for every goal I have this year: “progress — not perfection.”
I never considered myself to be a perfectionist. But I have come to understand that what lies beneath procrastination is this perfectionist dialogue in my head. I have a perfect time, space- etc. to accomplish tasks and achieve my goals.
Allow me to explain, first beginning with my health.
I am a certified coach and my areas of expertise are coaching caregivers and providing clients with weight loss support. One of my goals is to help more people and build a business to support my family.
But this past year was one of the most challenging years for me as a caregiver and I gained weight under all the stress.
So, how does that work when the coach needs coaching? Changes needed to be made and it had to begin with me.
I set goals for myself – one of them was to lose 30 pounds by Easter. I like to connect my goals to spiritually significant events. It helps to connect my mind and heart.
The perfectionist/procrastinator in me wanted to have everything perfectly in order for the new year detox – purge the kitchen, order support products, and shop for organic food – the day after Little Christmas.
The morning after Little Christmas, I woke up with a sugar hangover, realizing that the only thing I could do that day was to focus on my intention – “progress not perfection” – and do the next right thing.
I tossed out any remnants of Christmas treats and drank more water.
By the end of that first day, there was nothing to grab to satisfy the sweet tooth which had been overindulged for the past 12 days and my body felt replenished and hydrated, ready to start again the next day.
“Progress — not perfection” saved the day.
I am seeing incremental changes in my body, but the biggest shift is in my mind and attitude, which I know will help me reach my goals.
I love this quote from Ecclesiastes 3:11:
“God makes everything beautiful in its time.”
This simple verse supports my “progress — not perfection” intention. It also reminds me there is a supreme beauty in progress, which may lead to perfection — in time. No matter what the outcome- perfect endings or epic fails – everything is beautiful in its own time.
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