A Perfectionist's List of Resolutions for the New Year


I'm a definite Type A personality.  I'm hard on myself a lot, and I'm a perfectionist.  I know this is a part of my personality that I need to work on, but it's hard to dismiss it when it has helped me earn much in life.  For example, being a perfectionist helped me get excellent grades in college, scholarships, my teaching and administrative career, and, I think, my great husband.  Still, there are times when my desire to be "perfect" gets in the way or gets me needlessly upset, especially when life throws those unexpected curve balls that interfere with everything.  Instead of being someone who is strong and can handle these challenges, I end up being the one ready to have a nervous breakdown because these challenges weren't part of "the plan."

As a perfectionist, I LOVE New Year's Resolutions.  You see, for me, starting a New Year is all part of my plan to throw away the old year and start a new "perfect" year.  Yes, every year around this time, I create a list for myself (usually of 10 to 15 New Year's Resolutions) that I believe are vital toward my happiness.  Last year, they were anything from losing weight and being healthy to being the best mom ever to being the best wife, daughter, friend, etc. etc.  For the most part, I actually kept up with most of these resolutions until maybe August when other, unexpected life situations came up that made my perfect world turn into one huge belly flop (you know--the one that stings enormously and even makes you get water up your nose.)

Perhaps one year I'll actually surprise myself and dismiss New Year's resolutions altogether.  Then I'll be forced to let go of this desire to live a "perfect life," and I'll actually teach myself to just "go with the flow."  Unfortunately, this isn't the year.  This year, I'm still making New Year's resolutions, but I've decided to cut back, and even more, I've decided to make them about helping me curb my desire to be the best.  Here they go...

1.  To be a kinder and gentler person with myself and others.  
I'm hard on myself, and because of this, I have the same unrealistic expectations for others.  This, to me, is not a good quality since it can make me seem judgmental and even a little bit critical.  My husband over the years has created names for me and this behavior.  I've been called "a judgmental nerd" and "the fun police" (e.g.  "Watch out Little Lewie, here comes the fun police.  Don't let her catch you having too much fun.")

2.  To be grateful and to continue my gratitude journal.
I found I was less envious of others and more appreciative when I wrote in my gratitude journal every few days.  Once I stopped writing, I found myself returning to my old ways--wanting more money, a bigger house, a better job...the list goes on and on.  Oh, I don't want to give up on particular dreams, but, at the same time, I don't want to forget about all the blessings, both small and big, we've been given as a family.

3.  To be a good mother and then a good wife and daughter.
I had a similar New Year's resolution last year, but I gave up the word "best" for "good."  If I use the word "best" I'm comparing myself to all the other mothers, wives, and daughters out there.  I have to be realistic with myself...I'm not always going to be "the best" mom.  I can't always expect to get a gold star of achievement.  In fact, during these past few days that I've been sick, I haven't been "the best."  How can I when I'm hunched over in pain?   My goal is to be a good, patient, and loving mom as much and as often as I can.

4.  To practice good health.
Again, I changed my verbiage here.  Last year my goal was to lose exactly 20 pounds and to be in stellar health.  Well, I have to pat myself on the back for losing weight, but I haven't exactly did my best to eat a well balanced diet, get enough sleep, or follow a regular exercise routine.  I can try to do more in this area, but again, realizing that I won't be "stellar."

5.  To create a budget we can live with.
Last year, I didn't do well with budgeting at all.  I don't think I had one in place, and still, I had unrealistic expectations about how much money I wanted us to save.  Instead of saving money, we actually took a lot out of our savings.  I have to be thankful that both my husband and I have jobs, but at the same time, I need to plan for life's unexpected moments, so that I don't have a mental breakdown when we need a new transmission, new tires, a new furnace, etc. etc.

6.  To work on my e-book.
This year I came up with a plan to write an e-book to help high school students plan for college success.  I've completed about half of my project, but like always, life does get in the way.  To me, both this project and my blogging are my hobbies.  I'll always do my best to make time for them, but I also need to recognize that I need to keep a healthy balance and understand when other priorities have to come first.

7.  To savor life's both big and small moments.
Amen. This is something I seem to forget when I'm constantly planning for a perfect future.

Okay, I still have a pretty long list, but I thank you for taking this journey with me.  Whether you have some New Year's resolutions or none at all, I wish you many, many blessings in 2011 and always.  One thing that I will never forget about 2010 is all the great friends I made through blogging.  And this wasn't even on my New Year's resolution list.  To all of my friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your lives, your advice, and your kindness.


  1. May all you 2011 resolutions come true! Happy 2011 with all my heart!

  2. Wow! That is a long list! Good luck and Happy New Year.

    PS - I think my oldest daughter could be your twin - she is just like your perfectionist self.

  3. I am the same way! I need things perfect or I freak out. I actually freaked out a bit after Christmas dinner because it was a bit late...the directions on the ham said 70-90 minutes, it took at least 45 minutes longer to heat the thing! And last night the hubby laughed at me because he found me sitting in the middle of Scotty's room putting his train set back together the RIGHT way. I'm kind of the "fun police" too...if it's not done right, at certain times I have to fix it! For me it's a control issue. But honestly? There's nothing wrong with that. At least in my opinion :)

  4. This is a great list Annette! I need to start working on mine. I love that you have a gratitude journal.

    Best wishes to you and your e-book sounds wonderful. Happy New Year!

  5. I love your list of New Year's Resolutions. I think it's great that you always strive to be the best You that you can be; your list this year is really realistic and doable! Jeremy and I tackled our budget this year and had great success with the Dave Ramsey plan. We checked out his book from the library and read it together. We didn't implement everything he said, but incorporated more than a few things that were easy changes for us. This year, we've put thousands of dollars into our savings account AND put extra money every month towards our mortgage. Let me know if you check it out!

  6. The more I read your blog the more i think we might be twins. Ha! Just kidding. But yes, I'm totally there with you on the perfectionist streak. For some reason mine has become a lot more mellow as of late. Anywho, those are some excellent resolutions. I especially like the gratitude journal. I should practice that, too! And no..I didn't have to feel like a Turd Ferguson. Bahaha!

  7. Those are all great resolutions - and seem very achievable. I never make resolutions but maybe I will this year....

    And I've got a nasty perfectionist streak too. Having kids has kept it somewhat in check since it's hard to be perfect in the midst of chaos, but it still rears its head from time to time.

    Happy New Year!

  8. Excellent post Annette! First, thank you for all of your kind comments and support. I really appreciate it and I am so thankful for having met such wonderful friends like you in the blogworld! I am a perfectionist also and it can be rather draining. I have learned as a mother that being a perfectionist does not work for me any more. It creates much stress that is not needed. I have learned that when comparing myself to other mothers I can be very hard on myself. Every family is different and every life situation brings on different challenges. We need to be the best that we can be and that is all that we can do. Comparing ourselves to what we do not even know is another way of creating stress. Your list is a great one and I know you will do the best you can with your resolutions. I want to wish you a very happy New Year my friend. I am so grateful for having met such amazing caring blogging friends like yourself this past year. May your year be filled with love, great health and plenty of laughter! Big hugs!

    Mama Hen

  9. Oh, I am such a perfectionist too! And I find that makes me procrastinate, which then makes things not turn out well because I didn't take the time to make them perfect! Argh!

    I love your list, especially the gratitude journal. What a great idea!

    Happy New Year to you and your family! Glad I "met" you this year!

  10. Seems like a sound list! Happy New Year!!!

  11. I think this is a wonderful list! For the budget thing check out Dave Ramsey's Total money makeover, it changed our lives for the best! I think you will have no trouble sticking to these goals, there is nothing wrong with resolutions, making the effort is what counts!
    Happy New Year!

  12. Oh Annette, I feel like we would really get along if we actually met. I feel like I could have written so much of this list, particularly the parts about being a perfectionist and #1. Being hyper critical is the trait I like the very least about myself. And I too am fondly referred to as the Fun Police around my home. Instead of fighting it, I just make a siren noise now. RRRrrrr RRRrrr! Happy New Year!

  13. those are EXCELLENT goals for 2011! I'm super critical of myself as well, guess I need to work on that too :)

    that gratitude journal sounds like something I need...what a great idea to keep us all focused on what is TRULY important in life! Its BRILLIANT!

    Happy New Year :)

  14. I saw your title and thought, oh boy. This will be a good list. A real list. And, it is. It is wonderful. I love how you own yourself and stay true to yourself.


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