Goals and Not Accomplishing Them

Randy Pausch Quote

Setting goals are pretty much my driving force in both my personal life and my career. (See all of my posts about goals here if you don’t believe me.) Today I’d like to talk about the opposite of accomplishing goals...not accomplishing them.

Honestly, I could go on about this for quite some time. I think that the first thing to realize about not accomplishing goals is that it’s usually not a bad thing. Here are a few reasons why not accomplishing something that you set out to do can be a good thing:

1. You may realize that it’s not actually something that you want to do. This is the case for me right now. One of my 2014 goals was to start a Project Life album. I bought the supplies. I created a cover page (which had a spelling error on it…oops). And then I never touched it again. I didn’t complete a single page of photos for this album last year. I attributed my lack of success with this project partly to lots and lots of struggles with trying to print photos at home. However, a little more self exploration reveals that I really wasn’t very passionate about this goal. While I would like to have printed memories of our daily life, it’s just not something that excites me, and I’m not really willing to push through the challenges. Guess what? That’s ok! Sometimes while working towards something, you might realize that it’s not actually something that you’re passionate about. In this case, it’s perfectly acceptable to not accomplish that goal. Channel your energy to something you are excited about instead.

2. Sometimes the journey is more important than the finish line. Sometimes we spend lots of time working towards something but we don’t quite reach the end result. You might have set a goal to lose 50 pounds and only lost 45. You might have intended to take at least one photo a day for a year but missed several days. Missing goals of this nature are ok! Chances are you still documented more of your life than you would have without the goal in place. Losing 45 pounds is still amazing and something you might not have done without the initial goal. I was $750 short of meeting my financial goal for 2014. Does this mean I failed? Absolutely not! I was close enough to the goal to feel like I won. Just because you might fall a tad short, doesn’t mean that you didn’t still do something amazing.

3. Not reaching a goal can be the driving force you need to accomplish it later.  Maybe your timing wasn’t right. Just because you didn’t reach a goal the first time you tried, doesn’t mean that you won’t knock it out of the park later. Sometimes, we just need to reevaluate our methods and approach things from a different way. Didn’t lose the weight you wanted to last year? What can you do differently this year to make yourself more likely to succeed? Maybe you need to workout at a different time. Maybe you should keep different foods in the house to remove temptation. Whatever the goal is, there’s still a chance that you can reach in this year. Don’t be discouraged by past failures. Instead, reevaluate and adjust as necessary. After all, if success was easy, we’d all be great at everything!

As we begin a new year, I thought it would be great to talk about the unspoken...not reaching our goals. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never succeed. Instead, it could just be a learning opportunity or a chance to regroup. Don’t hesitate to set goals for yourself this year, just because you weren’t successful last year. Each day is a new beginning, and I think a new year is a perfect time to dream about what you want the future to be like. Then go get it! Most of the time, we are the ones stopping our own selves from doing great things. Dream big and then go after what you want. There’s no time like the present!

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