Making resolutions…

This time I’m really going to turn over a new leaf…

So many of the people I’m following are talking about starting off the new year …with a resolution, a plan, a new you. When you’re in the trenches it all sounds hopeful – but a little daunting.

Hopeful, because let’s face it; we would all like a magic wand (or a magic process) to wipe away all our mistakes, bad habits, and the shortcomings we experience as entrepreneurs. And sometimes making a new resolution or a new plan feels like magic. It isn’t really magic, but yet we approach New Year’s resolutions as if we have the silver bullet in our hands.

It’s daunting, because no matter how resolute we are on January 1st, we don’t usually choose to target those ingrained habits that doom us to some kind of failure sooner or later. In making resolutions we feel like we are creating the perfect solution to our shortcomings and yet resolutions often quickly fall apart (in a few days or weeks). Solutions are often elusive, because our habits are based on deep-rooted beliefs.

So what is going to be different this year?

Well, despite all this, as an entrepreneur, I was born with a healthy dose of hopefulness and positive thinking (and yes I think the bulk of entrepreneurs were born with that certain spark).

So once more at the beginning of a new year, I’m willing to do battle with the habits that leave me open to failure and frustration when it comes to executing what I intend to do, as perfectly as the plan that is in my head.

There is another solution of course. (There is always another alternative, even if it’s to change the way we look at a problem).  What is the other alternative? To give up the perfect plan in our heads.

Radical idea…and counter to the way I was raised… to expect more, do more and be more.

I haven’t given this much thought… perfection being my default position. But what would that look like, I mean being unperfect? (The perfect nag inside my head demands that I tell you ….I know the correct word is “imperfect” and I used the wrong word on purpose. I kind of like the idea of undoing perfection – or being unperfect).

I’m not sure. I’ve asked for, and received Brené Brown’s book: “The Gifts of Imperfection” this season and I’m about to sit down and read it.  So perhaps that will give me a better idea.

And I am reading more and more about our need to embrace failure – and to stop defining it as the full stop, end point, no turning back, final result.  To look at it instead as part of the learning process, as if it’s okay to fail! (I must make a New Year’s resolution about that).

I can imagine a few strategies:

What if…

  • We could be happy if we complete 80% instead of 110%? Especially if it meant that we could routinely hit the deadline we set for ourselves?
  • We gave up self-retribution? Perhaps we could stop remembering every tiny thing that wasn’t perfect at the end of a project?  To stop them all lining up in a row and marching across our conscious brains as we relive every imperfect part of what we’ve done.
  • I know we’d love to stop pretending that everything is absolutely under control. (Control… now there’s a delusion!)
  • The urge to run away or procrastinate was banished every time we felt unsure of our ambitious plans?
  • We could stop worrying about competing with or performing for others – and just do the work?
  • We could let go of the judgments that we make of ourselves and others?

Maybe we should consider these kinds of challenges for our New Year’s resolutions. Maybe we could be happy practising being ‘unperfect’.

What is your biggest challenge? The thing that you want to make resolutions around? Leave a comment and help us compile the list of things ‘unperfect’.


Patricia Dent

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