Opinion: WHAT IF? With Dr. Marissa

Dr. Marissa Pei

Dear Dr. Marissa,

I don’t know why people still make New Year’s Resolutions…I heard that 80 percent of resolutions fail by February so why bother?!


UnHappy New Year

Dear (temporarily) UnHappy,

First of all 42.7 percent of statistics are made up on the spot … and sarcasm is another service I offer (thanks Steven Wright) And at the risk of giving you an uninvited diagnosis, my guess is that you are a perfectionist, and that there’s a little bit of “If I can’t do it perfectly, why bother doing it at all?” How did I guess? I am a recovering perfectionist myself, and most of my Life Balance Coaching clients suffer from the Dis-Ease of Perfectionism. Perfectionism seems to work for many people for a few decades; early on it is called Type A or high achievement oriented. You can see the tell-tale signs: busy, really busy, multi-talented, opinionated, constantly giving advice, constantly being asked for advice, is an expert in at least four things: burning a candle, or candelabra at all ends; multiple balls in the air; possibly ADD or ADHD but not in the right generation to have been diagnosed, going, going, and gone! Usually around mid-life crisis time, which I’ve renamed to mid-life opportunity, there is a breakdown. Sometimes it follows what I call the Perfectionist Slide: Perfectionism, Procrastination and then Paralysis.

We want to do everything perfectly and when we don’t think the conditions are right, we procrastinate. And then when the consequences of procrastination catch up with us, we end up in Paralysis…so far behind that we stop answering phones, opening mail, caring at all.

Perfectionism sounds like this … “I work hard but it just never feels like it’s enough. I achieve so much but I still don’t feel like I’m enough. I said I would be happy once I finished school, got a great job, got married, had kids, got a nice car, nice house … well all have come and gone and I still don’t feel happy. Why? At each point of achievement, at each point of “got it,” the satisfaction was there but only a moment before the voice said “Not Enough, Not Good Enough, Not Perfect Yet.”

Yes, perfectionism will rob you of your Ease in Life. So this New Year, instead of not making any resolutions at all on the one extreme, or making resolutions from a perfectionistic standpoint where it will never be enough, What If we made resolutions for 88 percent? What if we decided that we were imperfectly perfect and quit being our own worst critic? What if we decided that we would do the best that we could with the time we had and the resources we had? What if we stopped being so hard on ourselves? What if we cared enough to not give up? What if every day we made choices that made us feel better about ourselves? What if we didn’t kick ourselves to the curb quite so often? On the other hand, what if we stopped blaming others for the shape (literally) we are in and act on our own behalf to feel better about ourselves.

I know that when I follow my own 21 Day Fast from Complaining with Dr. Marissa, a good life habit racket I run online, and complain less about people places and things, I feel better. I know that when I follow Dr. David Simon’s rule where I ask myself three questions before I open my mouth—Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?—before I open my mouth, I feel better about my exchanges with people … especially because I am NOT fond of apologizing!

What if New Year’s Resolutions were just seen as a New start, a renewal and not a set up for failure. What if resolutions are just continuous improvement and renewal … part of our human condition, part of our membership to HumanKind, emphasis on Kind.

If you would like to have your own Mid-Life Opportunity Coach and work with Dr. Marissa on the beach to up your Happiness factor , go to www.4Balance.org to set up a Balance Assessment or sign up for her annual Balance Retreat in Sedona Arizona May 19-20. If you missed her guest Potsie from Happy Days on her weekly talk radio show about Hope and Happiness “Take My Advice, I’m Not Using It: Get Balanced with Dr. Marissa” out of the Sunset Gower studios, just listen for free on her YouTube Channel. Dr. Marissa has been a proud resident of Seal Beach and raised her two girls here since 1998.