It’s February and if you haven’t put your goals down on paper yet, I’m betting it’s because the thought of having to commit to something is absolutely terrifying for you. Especially if that thing is stretching you out of your comfort zone or the thought of reaching for it and missing will make you feel like a total failure – those “dreaming big” goals! Perhaps your inner critic stops you with a panicked feeling of “Don’t dream too big – you may not get there”. So, you keep your goals realistic and safe – staying pretty much in your comfort zone or, worse still, you don’t set out any goals at all and as a result feel directionless and your efforts all over the place.
Realistically, you know that it’s not always possible to reach EVERY goal on your list, but it doesn’t stop the scary feeling from rising up inside. So how do you deal with not reaching some goals without beating yourself up or giving up before you’ve even started?
Big audacious goals can be scary which means they activate all our fears and mindset blocks, inhibiting us from taking those equally big and sometimes scary actions. Remember – our sub-conscious just wants to keep us safe and on familiar territory.
In order to be ok with setting goals that stretch us, we need to have two things in place: a healthy and positive mindset, and goals that are in alignment with what is truly important to us and the way we want to live our lives.
When I set goals for myself and with my clients, I like to help them set stretch goals. These are goals that feel juuuuuust out of reach, but not so much that they feel paralysed with fear. Then we get super clear on why this goal is important to them, what it will mean once this goal is achieved and the feelings around that. This can bring immense amounts of motivation and provides a compelling reason to push through uncomfortable feelings that growth can bring.
You should definitely avoid making a goal into a really rigid marker for measuring your performance. You could even call them “intentions” or “big possibilities” if you find it less scary (as long as it doesn’t negatively affect your motivation to do the work!)
If you don’t reach your goals then there are a few key things that if you practice, will arrest that “falling down the rabbit hole” feeling of failure.
Pay more attention to what you DID achieve than what you didn’t
The more you pay attention to the positives, the more power they have over the negatives. It’s so important to remember that it’s not always about reaching the goal, it’s recognising the amount of progress we made towards it. To that end, I think that achieving 75% of a big goal is better than achieving 100% of a tiny goal! What about you?
It’s so important to celebrate every milestone towards your goal and especially to celebrate the journey of growth itself in addition to the actual goal. Why? Because, often when we get halfway there we can see that the real goal was something else altogether and we are able to recalibrate, review and refresh our goals. Shift your focus from the final outcome to the journey.
Learn from didn’t work – change a failure into a learning opportunity
Please understand that there is a BIG mental and emotional difference between failing and feeling like a failure. Failing is learning. That doesn’t make US a failure. I’m always telling people – “you are not your business and you’re doing the best you can with the resources and knowledge you have available right now”. Practise self-compassion. We’re SO hard on ourselves and we think we should have all of the answers and be able to do everything right now. That’s just not the way it works, guys and gals.
Every time you do something new, you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and growing and learning. It’s also important to determine, as part of reflection, why you didn’t achieve a particular goal. Was it lack of effort? Was it an unplanned “detour”? Did you overstretch for the place you are already at, or for the timeframe you gave yourself?
Remember: Every action is progress. Every action is growth.
I have a question for you. What if it WAS possible to reach every goal on your list? How would you show up if you believed you could achieve what you really desire?