Editor’s Note: Tanya from Eat Laugh Purr is back with us today to examine why her goal-setting rarely led to goal achievement. She shares some great insight that many of us can relate to as well. If you’re interested in guest posting at The Heavy Purse, please review my guidelines first. Take it away, Tanya.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with goals. I understand their purpose and appreciate them when it comes to my professional life. But when it comes to my personal goals, it’s been a real hit and miss for me. For a long time, I never really understood why. I did well against my professional goals, so why wasn’t I seeing the same level of achievement on my personal goals?
This is where I hang my head in a bit of shame. Personal goals were a bit of an after-thought for me. I honestly didn’t pay that much attention to them. You could argue that I wasn’t setting authentic goals, which isn’t completely accurate. They were goals I wanted, but I wasn’t really committed to achieving them. So that explains why goal achievement was rare back then, so what’s my excuse now?
3 Mistakes that Led to Goal Failure
I’ve put on my detective cap and dug a little bit deeper into my so-called failures and uncovered three key mistakes. Those struggling to their achieve goals may find that you can relate to my mistakes.
I Decided to Wing-It, Instead of Creating a Plan
Okay, okay, I know. Bad idea. Just writing that hurt. A lot. I swear that I am smart person who knows better than to wing-it, especially with something as important as a goal. But it’s what I did. Instead of following the next logical step of creating an action plan to make my goal a reality, I played loosey goosey with my goals. And it was an epic failure.
I also know that I am not alone in doing this. I’m just simply not that cool. How many people have you heard say (or said yourself) that you track your budget, calories or whatnot in your head? Hand raised.
My Solution: The obvious answer is, of course, to create a plan. But I actually consider that to be step 2. The first step is to figure out why you never did so in the first place because deep down, you most likely knew you needed one. So you need to first answer why you didn’t create one. For me, it varied. Sometimes the goal seemed overwhelming. Or I didn’t know where to begin. Most of the time there is some sort of emotional reason behind your reluctance to create a plan.
I Lacked Patience
Have you ever looked at the magazines at the checkout counter? There are always a few women’s magazines that claim to be able to help you achieve a flat belly before the next big holiday, which happens to be the following weekend. Realistically, I know that a flat belly can only be achieved within seven days if your belly is already almost flat. Emotionally, I grabbed that magazine and put it in my cart with my fingers crossed that they had the magic solution I needed.
I wanted goal achievement to happen quickly and be pain-free. While certain goals may follow that trajectory, many won’t. I searched for easy answers and lacked the patience to do the work, even when slow and steady is what wins the race in most cases. Because it wasn’t happening fast enough, I gave up and put my attention on other things.
My Solution: It’s important to not only set realistic timeframe for goal achievement, but also to schedule markers along the way, so you can experience little wins on the road to your big win. For me, this is an absolute must. I am motivated by winning. It keeps me moving forward and stay focused. Otherwise, I can get bored and become distracted. Or start looking for that easy fix that doesn’t exist and only increases the time to goal achievement.
I Got to Play the Victim
We all know people who seem to attract bad luck. A dark cloud follows them around and everything always seems to go wrong for them. We feel bad for them, so we give them plenty of attention, which some feed off of. They like the attention being the victim gives them.
While I don’t necessarily like playing the victim, my goal failures let me join a rather large club of people who didn’t achieve their goals. We could commiserate together and boo-hoo over how hard we tried and still failed. Now I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t comfort those who are hurting, but I also know for me, failing also meant an easy way out.
No more stressing over goals that I wasn’t sure how to achieve. I could quit, knowing that I had tried and and seek others who had failed too. We’d exchange condolences and lament how our hard work was for nothing. This sounds ugly and I’m embarrassed by it. But I am committed to being honest with myself because I am tired of repeating mistakes. And sometimes, as awful as it may be, I liked the attention. I also know that I would much rather receive accolades for my goal achievement, rather than sympathy over goal failure.
My Solution: Stop playing the victim. PERIOD. You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you do control whether or not you give-up. I’m choosing to no longer find any satisfaction in victimhood and reclaim the power of victor instead, even if my first, second or third try doesn’t work.
Giving Up is Failure
Don’t be afraid to dig deeper and uncover why you haven’t succeeded at achieving your goals. Like me, you might not always like what you discover, but it’s only when you realize how your actions and/or thoughts are inhibiting your goal success that change becomes possible.
I used to think not achieving my goal was failure. Because I failed more than I succeeded at my personal goals, I began avoiding goal-setting. I don’t like feeling like a failure. But it’s really not failing, unless I give up. If the goal remains true, than the answer is simple — don’t give-up. Try again. And again. Until you succeed.