Why My New Year's Resolution is "Progress Not Perfection"

Posted by Katie Gowers on

Happy New Year! 

I'm in my office for the first time in weeks and it's actually really nice to be making plans for the coming year. 

Last year was a bit of a whirlwind.

My first full year in business, getting married and a trip of a lifetime to Saint Lucia for our honeymoon.

There were plenty of challenges too and real battles with my health.

I came so close to giving up on a number of occasions.

But, what causes that lose of faith?

Is it my brain trying to save me from making an awful mistake?

Why do I panic and freeze?

What if I'm losing out on opportunities because I'm too scared to start and take a risk?

Is there a New Year's Resolution I could set myself to avoid these burn-outs?

Maybe, the place to start is what sits behind the doubt and panic:

Imposter syndrome 

Oh, this fight is real! 

That little voice in the back of my head telling me I don't know what I'm doing.

That I'm wasting my time and our money for something I'm just not qualified for. 

That it doesn't matter how hard I work I'm never going to be good enough. 

Sound familiar? 

Many of us live with these self doubts. 

I've really battled with this over the last year.

But, reflecting on those moments I realise I've forgotten two important things that I believe in:

1. We have the most amazing capacity to learn new things

Looking back over the last year I realise I have learnt so much. 

New ways to do things.

New skills I didn't even know this time last year that I needed. 

Many of these things have come from attempting something I didn't know how to do. 

Realising I had a problem and learning a way around it. 

I'm terrified of failing. Of not being qualified. 

And, yet the biggest lessons have come from situations where I have tried something new. 

Oh, and let's be clear not everything I have tried has been a huge success. 

But, each stumble has lead to something new.  

A new idea, a new method or a new perspective. 

No, super gluing my fingers together is not an exercise I'm in a rush to repeat!

For a start it actually hurt quite a lot and the blisters lasted several weeks. 

But, I learnt so much from the experience. How to protect my hands, recognising how critical my hands are to my work, exploring other ways to attach the fixings I was working with etc. 

Maybe failing isn't the disaster I think it is? What if it is actually an opportunity for personal growth? 

2. That we learn from our mistakes

Why do I always forget this? 

I see a failure as the end of the road. 

Something didn't work, so I can't go any further. 

It feeds back in to that Imposter Syndrome voice in my head.

But, what if I started to see those mistakes, failures, unexpected outcomes as just a part of the cycle. 

An opportunity to review, plan a different course of action and to learn! 

Moving the goal posts

If you asked my Mum (a huge source of support and inspiration in my life) what my biggest problem is I think this is what she would say. 

That I set goals, really hard goals that challenge me.

This isn't a bad thing as long as they aren't impossible! As long as I'm being realistic. 

But, when I reach those goals I move them. 

Extend them, make them harder, apply more pressure. 

Then when I don't meet the extended goal I am disappointed. 

Desperately so.

I beat myself up. Only see failure.

What I don't do is stop and recognise that I have already met and exceeded my original goal. 

I don't see the huge progress I have made. 

I don't see the challenges I have overcome every single day to get to where I am. 

I don't recognise the progress I've really made. 

This is no way to live. Believe me!

But, how to overcome it? 

Progress Not Perfection

So if I sum up these things it comes down to a few things:

  1. I'm scared of failing
  2. I'm not noticing the positive steps forward
  3. I move the goalposts until they are impossible and then am disappointed when I can't meet them.
  4. I focus on the negatives!
  5. I forget that I have the ability to learn new things
  6. I forget that learning is cycling of trying new things, analysing the results (good or bad) and coming up with a new plan

So, if I want this year to be different I need to ditch a few habits! 

This year is all about stability for me. Making a home. Developing my business.

Putting the hard work in to make progress.

It's all about consistency and routine. 

Turning up every day and making a small step forward.

Learning from mistakes and not beating myself up.

Not forgetting to take time to rest, recognise progress and celebrate small wins. 

This is so important and it doesn't just include huge life events. 

Some days fighting my anxiety and doing everyday things like getting out of bed and getting dressed are a real struggle. 

What if I celebrated each time I did these things rather than beat myself up the few times I don't? 

What if I enjoy and appreciate the small things that make up each day?

Essentially striving for progress not perfection.

What if I actually embraced failure?

What if I just accepted it as a natural stage in the process and simply adapted the plan?

What if I tried lots of things, knowing some would go wrong, just to find out which ones worked? 

Could a focus on progress, however small, be a much more effective way of working?

We will see but I really hope so.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and peaceful 2019!!


Any thoughts?

I'd love to hear your plans for the year! Have you set any resolutions? Do you have some great ways to tackle those fears of failure? 

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

Let us know in the comments.

Blog Post New Year Resolution Progress Not Perfection

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