Military leaders and athletic coaches know that it is necessary to plan carefully and be fully prepared.  They also know that once the action starts the plans will have to be changed.  No plan will ever work to perfection.

Somehow when we make our resolutions we expect a different reality than leaders and coaches experience.  We make a resolution for the new year and expect to keep it perfectly. Then reality sets in.  We fail to keep our own resolutions and we throw them out.  That’s the problem of perfectionism.

Perfectionism at its core is a failure to accept the reality of being human. It reveals itself in opposite extremes.

Some perfectionists will wear out themselves and everyone around them.  Every detail about everything has to be just right.  Of course, that is an impossibility so they will never feel good about themselves.  It can include things that they have no control over.  The dust under the refrigerator can ruin their day as much as a pothole in the street.

If you live with someone like that, you have my sympathy.  If you are someone like that, you have my sympathy.  Until you accept that life as a human being will never match our imagined perfection you will not be happy.

The other way that perfectionism shows up is just the opposite of the obsessive perfectionist.  When one thing goes wrong, the whole project is abandoned.  If it can’t be perfect, why try at all? “What’s the use in trying?” and a shoulder shrug come way too quickly.  (My resolutions to exercise regularly get this treatment.)

If you have been taught that any imperfection marks you as a failure, then remember that God made people out of the dust of the ground.  No one arrives with complete knowledge and perfect abilities.  God accepts us that way.  So can you.

So make plans and resolve to keep them.  Just remember that all plans and resolutions need to be adjusted to fit the changing realities of life.  Forgive your self and keep trying to live better.