Expect to fail

Are you excited about a fresh start and all the possibilities in 2018? Me, too. But if you’ve been here with high hopes before, only to be let down a few weeks or months into the year, you may feel anxious or ambivalent. I’ve been there myself.

2018_Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

I came to realize that my failures were the result of several things, like lack of clarity and poor planning. My biggest stumbling block though was perfectionism. All-or-nothing. One small failure and I was done. What was the use?
I’m not sure I actually verbalized it that way. I simply felt like I’d failed and stopped trying. For several years I stopped setting goals all together, thinking I would just be disappointed. Again.
You know what? If we set goals that are worthwhile and present a challenge at all, then we’ll fail at some point. The problem is we expect perfection, don’t achieve it and then quit. Ultimately, my problem was that I didn’t expect failure.
Sure, we can set overly ambitious goals that we have no real hope of reaching. That’s different. Goals should be challenging yet do-able. They stretch you without demanding huge, overnight improvements. Small steps, over time, lead to big results.
Set out the year with your goals in hand and plan well. And realize that to plan well means to assume obstacles. That you’ll mess up. That you’ll fail sometimes. Focus more on creating habits that lead to improvements, and less on a specific result. Identify strategies and action steps, and decide that when you fail you will learn from it and keep moving forward. Failure is only “failure” when you quit. Otherwise it’s just a learning opportunity.
Stay inspired. Expect to fail. Choose to overcome.
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