You had good intentions when you set your defined goals for the year. Over time, maybe life got in the way of life, or perhaps your enthusiasm waned. It’s also possible that you didn’t provide yourself with the disciplines that would produce the goal long after your excitement died down. Whatever the reason, if you still want what you want, then you need to reboot your personal goals and try again.
Don’t Quit on Yourself
When some people fail to reach their goal, they give up on attaining it. But they are not giving up their objective so much as they are giving up on themselves. While you may not ever achieve a specific outcome, you should never quit on yourself.
Perhaps the goal was more complicated than you imagined when you committed to it, and you underestimated the amount of time and energy it would require of you. A miscalculation is feedback that informs your future attempts (plural, as it suggests persistence, a necessary attribute of those who eventually reach their goals). Maybe you lacked the discipline with your old habits and patterns overpowering your will, something that would make you human and nothing that should cause you to quit on yourself.
Many before you have failed to reach their performance goals on the first, second, or thirty-third attempt, only to set and achieve their goals later. You will ensure you never have what you want to when you quit on yourself. Pick yourself up, dust yourself, and get after it.
Don’t Worry What Others Think
There are two schools of thought around goals. One suggests you never tell anyone your specific goals, that public failures might embarrass you and cause you to give up. The other indicates that the goals you make public create a sense of accountability. My advice would be to avoid worrying about what other people think about you altogether.
It doesn’t matter if you failed to reach your goal in a spectacular fashion that ended up getting you unwanted attention. There is no shame in failing, especially when the outcome you want is difficult to achieve. What is worth doing that doesn’t require you to stretch yourself, grow, and become the kind of person who could reach your goal?
No one’s opinion of your goal-setting, your failure to attain goals, or your success in reaching them can matter more than yours, least of all the people who will not attend your funeral.
Recognize Where and How You Negotiate With Yourself
When we miss our goals, a lot of the time, it is because we are weak negotiators. We negotiate with ourselves, promising that we do something that would contribute to our goals later so that we can do something more interesting of more pleasurable now. When later arrives, we fail to do what we had earlier promised ourselves.
You have to start by noticing when and how you negotiate with yourself. When the small voice in your head starts to suggest that it won’t hurt anything to follow this urge or that one, that there will be time later, you have to reject the offer long enough that the small voice disappears forever.
If you want something, you must make it non-negotiable. The more significant voice inside of you, the part of you that wants your goal has to be the dominant decision-maker, rejecting any negotiation from the weaker part of you, the part of you that seeks comfort over effort, play over work, and Netflix over sweat.
Recommit and Do the Work
Recommit to your goal. Remind yourself of why you set the goal in the first place. What does reaching your goal do for you, and what does it allow you to avoid? Write your short term and long term goals down.
If you want better adherence and greater certainty in reaching your goals, you will also draft the action plans necessary to achieve them.
When it comes to commitments, you will find no better place to start than with a list of the daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly disciplines necessary to reaching your goal. Keeping the disciplines until they become habits will sustain you much longer than your inspiration or your motivation.
Without knowing your goals, I do know you didn’t do the work to achieve them. Know that your commitment to the work is proof of your commitment to your goal. It would be better to be committed to the task, even absent the goal. It’s the work that produces the result, not the fact that you want it.
Today is day one. Nothing you did in the past matters. You have a clean slate to do with what you will. Any lack of success in the past is nothing more than the education that has brought you to this place—at this time.
Your past success is information about what worked when you were progressing.
Day one is better than New Year’s day, a day that might be far in the future or recently passed. January 1st is no better than February 26th when it comes to the beginning—or starting over.
Reboot. Push the power button. Push it again. Start over.