#21: Don’t be the enemy of good.

2018 is a new year, and with the new year comes that sense of a fresh beginning. While it may be a result of the vagaries of Western history that we happen to mark January 1st as the start of a new year, the feeling of being able to turn that calendar page over is undeniably hopeful.

I’m not immune to that hope, despite the detritus from the wreckage of failed resolutions littering my psyche.  The downside of keeping a journal is I get to look back and be discouraged by how many times in the past 20 years I’ve started a resolution list on January 1st, sometimes even with tracking metrics and specific, measurable subgoals leading to my bigger goal. Gantt charts, Franklin Covey planners, Getting Things Done (GTD) methods, you name it, I’ve tried it.  Inevitably, come March, I throw out my meticulously planned structure into the garbage because I failed to track something or failed to reach a milestone.

In my work life, I’m able to plan for contingencies and work through risks and generally can execute what needs to happen. Why can’t I always bring that same nimbleness and flexibility to my personal goals?

Part of it is that I’m more apt to uphold commitments to others than to myself.  But another large component of it is that I can talk my way out of doing something unless I can do it “right”.  “Right”, of course, is defined by some phantom ruler whose size continually changes every time I use it. So instead of tackling it messily and maybe incorrectly at times, I elect not to even try. Failing by taking an incomplete feels better than trying and failing. With the former I can save the cold comfort that I *could* have done it (well!) if I had tried, but with the latter there is no artifice to hide behind.

Yes, I know spelling it out makes the logical fallacy clear. But that doesn’t stop me from resorting to it over and over.  Nike had it right when they said, “Just Do It.”

Volatire said “le mieux est l’ennemi du bien”, which means “the better is the enemy of the good”. Growth for me means I have to work toward making sure that my yearning for pristine perfection doesn’t continue to get in the way of me making smaller if muddled strides toward the goals that I want to achieve.