As I reflect on my New Year’s resolutions and think about some of the reading I have been doing lately, I am liking more and more the idea of good enough being better than perfect. I am thinking that good enough is going to help me in letting go of my “all or nothing”, perfectionist attitude. Furthermore, I’m starting to realize that the notion of good enough is really going to help me in my efforts to be gentle with myself and in maintaining balance, two of my main resolutions for 2016.
One of the ways I’ve been adopting the good enough strategy in the last couple of days, for instance, is to simply focus on one or two tasks per day. Typically, I am a hyper-organized person, constantly making to-do lists and planning the next minute, hour, day, week, month of my life. This weekend I allowed myself to let go by focussing on one (or two) tasks I wanted to complete that day (in order of priority. Yesterday, getting a manicure was at the top of my list (good-bye holiday nails, hello fresh mani!) and today was all about preparing for back to school (tomorrow! yikes!) My husband strongly encourages this one task at a time mentality and I have to admit it did alleviate a lot of my usual stress. In fact, just a few days ago (before I adopted the good enough idea), I was already running a mental to-do list through my mind of all the things I “needed” to complete this weekend: take down and pack away Christmas decorations, clean the house top to bottom (not a small feat), stock up on groceries, meal plan for the week, prepare for back-to-school, prepare an appetizer for a party Saturday night, attend party Saturday night, watch my son play hockey, and then of course, make time for myself (reading, blogging, social media, maybe a walk…)the list goes on…
Just thinking about that list is utterly exhausting. But that’s how my brain has been trained to think. It takes conscientious effort for me to be gentle with myself and to accept good enough. But with my husband’s support, I was able to focus on just a few simple priorities and I have to admit, I felt a lot more relaxed.
Sure, I didn’t clean my house top to bottom (for some reason, I’ve always thought house cleaning tasks all have to be done at the same time, so time consuming!) but I did sweep the floors which took care of the biggest problem (dog hair!) and I did wash some dishes and run the dishwasher. I also re-organized our winter recycling system and completed a load of laundry. Considering we normally keep a fairly tidy house, this small tasks were easy to complete and were good enough. After all, my house and it’s messes (or lack thereof) aren’t going anywhere, right?
I also didn’t get time to take down my Christmas decorations, but so what? More time to enjoy our beautiful tree! When it came time to prepare an appetizer for a party I was attending, I remembered to be gentle with myself and opted to buy a pre-made (yet delicious!) cake which took off the pressure of having to find the time to make something.
Another aspect of my life in which I think it will benefit me to apply the good enough approach is in my efforts to improve my physical health. As I mentioned in a previous post, in the past my diet and fitness efforts were definitely all or nothing. This year, I’m trying a new approach based on the notion of good enough. Sure, I may still be eating white bread and using creamer in my coffee with way too much sugar content, but today when I couldn’t find anything for lunch, rather than running out to grab takeout, I made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some soup and crackers. As I mulled over what to make for dinner, I realized our vegetable intake lately has been really bad, so I opted for making a chicken stir-fry (even though pasta sounded so much more tempting). And while I didn’t fit a walk in this weekend, or lift any weights, or do any yoga, I know that this is only the beginning of the year and I’ve got lots of time to fit those things into my schedule, when they fit.
Now that I’ve felt the benefits of good enough I know it’s a strategy that will help me to meet some of my resolutions – to take pressure off myself, to be gentle with myself, and to find balance. And even though I am tempted to write more, I know that for now this post is good enough.