already failing my new years resolution

I am a micromanager. You can’t believe how much I micromanage. I will almost never let anyone do anything because I am positive that I can do it better and quicker.

Which means that I have a habit of correcting my wife. Which she LOVES. Because we know that all women love to be corrected. She is brimming with gratitude that I suggested a different way of loading the dishwasher or putting the milk back in the fridge or driving to the movie theater. LOVES it.

I do the same thing with the kids, of course.

Liz is naturally good at letting the kids make their own mistakes. Let them mess up, she says. What’s the worst that can happen? Which, I know, makes sense. And still, I try to make brownies with them and I just can’t let go.

“Can I pour that in?” Lucy asks.

“I’ll do that, honey.”

“Can I use the mixer?” Finn says. “I’ve done it before.”

“Lemme do that, buddy.”

Liz watches me. She sees how on edge I get. She has reminded me, lovingly, that making brownies with the kids is supposed to be fun. And yet I seem to be radiating out tension like a Chernobyl reactor.

That’s just making brownies. Can you imagine how annoying this is for the kids? Very. More importantly, it stunts their development, makes them less confident, and probably a heap of other negative things.

That’s on me. When it comes to my kids, I have a hard time letting go of the wheel.

So I have a New Years Resolution. Now, this Resolution feels impossible to me, so I’m praying that Jesus zaps me with some serious power on this front, which the Bible says He can do. 

Here is my Resolution:

I am Going to Change My View of Failure.

Micromanaging is rooted in my fear of being out of control.And my fear of being out of control is my fear that I will fail. So the answer, clearly, is to try to control EVERYTHING and EVERYONE around me.

Making a New Years Resolution is usually an exercise in thrilling and excitable futility. (We can rebuild him. Make him better than before. Stronger, faster…) The Resolution lasts about a day and then I am once again sitting in a big puddle of disaster juice.

So this year is different. I’m making a strategy. Here it is:

Three Steps to Changing My View of Failure

1.) Let My Kids Fail.

Who cares if they spill water when they’re getting a glass of water for themselves?  Water is literally the easiest thing in the world to clean up. You use water to clean things! It’s GOOD if they spill water! They’re not transporting the Mona Lisa. It’s fine.

2.) Let My Wife Fail.

Now, in fairness, I’m not sure Liz would agree that the way she puts spoons in the dishwasher is technically a failure. But peek behind the curtain of Conor’s brain and you’ll see that that is exactly what I am thinking. This, despite the fact that the spoons come out clean every time. I’m going to try to let that go, the spoon in the dishwasher thing. We have more spoons. And Liz is smart and seems pretty confident about how she’s doing it. So…yeah. I’m going to really try to be okay with that in 2018.

3.) Let Myself Fail.

This part of the plan, I’m not crazy about.

I’ll be honest – my original resolution was different. It was to do new, creative things. But I found myself immediately self-correcting on this. I began shutting down any idea that I thought might fail, even if I loved the idea.

Which drew me to the conclusion that I knew all along but that I was dreading saying aloud.  

It isn’t that I hate failing. It’s that I hate failing in front of people. I am afraid of shame and I am afraid of humiliation. I am afraid of people being disappointed in me. I am afraid of not being who my wife thinks I am, or who my kids think I am, who my friends think I am, or who people that have read my book think I am, or who my pastor thinks I am, or who my colleagues think I am.

I am afraid of these things and I don’t want to be. 

And if I want to change, then I have to find a way to be okay with who God created me to be. Which means, in turn, that I have to be okay with failing. Which means, in turn, that I have to be okay with giving up control. Which means, in turn, that I have to try to stop micromanaging.

I’ve already failed at this in the first days of 2018, as Liz and the kids will tell you. But I’m not giving up this time. So get ready, people. It’s fail time.

By | 2018-01-20T15:09:47-04:00 January 3rd, 2018|12 Comments


  1. Liz January 3, 2018 at 10:01 am - Reply

    I think I load the dishwasher with excellence and integrity. But that’s just me…

    Love you, love. Thank you for being willing to be vulnerable.

    • Conor January 3, 2018 at 11:46 am - Reply

      Thanks love! I will learn from your spoon technique. And I love you too.

  2. Kelsey January 3, 2018 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    I remember watching my dad say the exact wrong thing at exactly the right time about Mom not doing something right.

    Why does he do that? I wondered.

    Today, I do the exact same thing with ice trays, the dishwasher, etc. I mean the woman eats pie and ice cream with a FORK! I’ll try to follow your lead on this one Conor. I’m sure I’ll fail just like Dad did/does.

    • Conor January 3, 2018 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      If you figure it out maybe I’ll follow your lead?

  3. Julia January 3, 2018 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    If more of us could humbly own our issues and poke fun at ourselves like you do, what a truly wonderful world it would be and you know the kids would benefit! #youcandoit #imtryingtoo

    • Conor January 3, 2018 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      Teaching the next generation to be just a tiny bit less fail-y!

  4. Frank January 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    you should count your blessings that you don’t have to load chopsticks.

    • Conor January 3, 2018 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      Oh man. I can’t even imagine. Don’t they fall through the little holes?

  5. Dave Hogan January 3, 2018 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Man, it’s good to have you back on the blog Conor! These last three posts are great. When I think about all the time I’d have in the world if I wasn’t rearranging the dirty dishes that are ALREADY IN THE DISHWASHER I would probably have finished reading that book that’s taken me all year to read four chapters.

    I let our five-year old help knead the dough for the bread I was making once. Won’t make that mistake again. It didn’t even come out perfect. Sheesh.

    • Conor January 4, 2018 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      I’d still be reeling from that dough fiasco. Stay strong, brother.

  6. Neena Perez January 4, 2018 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    You are absolutely freaken hilarious!! no wonder you wouldn’t let me do the dishes or load the dishwasher when I was your chef…. You can do it Conor, I have all the faith in you. Close your eyes and do the 5-second rule and change your reaction. It will become easier… I hope, at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

  7. Conor January 4, 2018 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    It WILL become easier. It WILL become easier.

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