I can’t believe it–I’ve been counting down to my book’s official launch–which is next week, April 5, even though the book’s been shipping from Amazon for weeks now–for nine weeks and we are now on our tenth and final sneak peek!
The topic we’re focusing on this week? Chapter Two: Aim Low and Go Slow. What does that mean? Well, first let me tell you what it doesn‘t mean, at least to me: “aim low and go slow” doesn’t mean you have no standards at all, stop trying, or throw your hands up and say “oh well!”
I am always reaching for improvement: for myself, my family, my surroundings, my community.
But perfectionism can be the enemy of improvement. As I shared in my post priorities vs. perfection:
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the less I try to be perfect, the better a mom I am. That’s because I can focus on the things that really matter to me, not anyone else. Leaving perfection behind allowed me to figure out exactly where my values lie, and try to create a life that puts those values at a high priority.
This chapter is all about having realistic expectations: of ourselves, of others, of how things will go. As I shared in my Fox & Friends segment, happiness happens when expectations meet reality. So rather than give up entirely or strive for an immediate, overnight, 180-degree change, I reach for goals that are just a little bit better than what I’m doing right now–but that are still something I know I can pull off. When that change becomes habit, I make another small change.
For example, one of my biggest parenting challenges is yelly-ness. I tend to be pretty easy-going…unless I’m tired or stressed or frustrated and completely over-react and snap. If I expect to completely change that about myself overnight, I’m going to be disappointed. Instead, I can make one small improvement at a time. For a while, I focused on just being aware when I was over-reacting and trying to limit the damage by walking away. Then I started working on apologizing when I’d gone overboard. Finally I began to use that increased self-awareness to try to actually stop my mommy meltdowns as they were happening.
I first realized my tendency toward stress-induced freak-outs years ago. If I’d expected to completely change overnight, I would never have been able to live up to that expectation–and who knows? I might have decided I couldn’t change and just given up.
Whether it’s keeping a cleaner house, having more fun with your kids, cooking more meals at home, or taking better care of yourself, there’s no such thing as a quick fix. In my experience, lasting change happens slowly and in small, mindful increments.
What are some ways you can forget about perfectionism, “aim low and go slow,” and still reach your goals?