Proud, Lonely Perfectionist?: Set and Reach Obtainable Goals

“I know my daughter has issues Amy.” Polly has been talking to me on and off over the years about her now teenage daughter. “You keep telling me that my expectations are unrealistic, and that I need to see her more as who she is. Well I just don’t get that. She’s a mess! She smokes pot, barely passed her classes, doesn’t talk to me, hangs out with sketchy friends, and seems to hate her life. Enough! It’s time for her to start acting like my daughter instead of this screw-up she’s become.”

“No matter who I hire at my business, none of them work out. The young kids have no work ethic and the older folks have no stamina. I might as well do all the work myself,” Tom explained. “But,” I asked, “I thought the whole goal was to grow. How can you grow with just yourself?”

Wendel knew exactly the type of wife he wanted. “She needs to cook as well as my mother, be as hot as Jennifer Lopez, have a good job, and want to be a mom.” Since I just met Wendel, I asked him for his dating history. “Oh, I got divorced about 10 years ago and I’ve been dating ever since.” It turns out Wendel was a serial dater (a few new people every month), but he ended all of the relationships because none of them lived up to his standards.

“I have to get in shape. I’m fat, don’t fit into any of my clothes, and have no muscle mass. I used to be a high school athlete, but now I’m just a couch potato. No wonder no one wants to hang out with me,” said Matilda. “Who,” I asked, “talks to you that way? You are being so mean to yourself!!” “No one,” Matilda explained. “That’s just me holding myself accountable.”

Perfectionism, accountability and impossibly high standards can lead to the disintegration of relationships, self-sabotage, and even self-punishment. It’s good to set goals that push us, but they need to be realistic and obtainable. Several small goals that head us towards one big goal have a higher likelihood of success!