Today’s post is a slight deviation from the normal content I post, but it is a topic that is on my mind at the moment and one that is important to discuss. I have touched on it briefly before in posts such as Planning for 2021: Goal Setting for Writing and Business but it is not a subject I had intended to look at in too much detail. Until now.
In this post, I am going to discuss failure. Or at least the preconceived idea we have that when you observe, analyse and evaluate your goals against how much of them you have achieved and you realise you’re nowhere near reaching them yet, you feel as though you have failed. You have not!
Life has a funny way of throwing you curve balls; of getting in your way; of changing the goal posts. This is normal, and however much we try to plan those unknown factors into our strategies, we cannot plan for every eventuality. The unseen issues are just that – unseen.
Not reaching your goal in the time you want to is not a failure. It’s a setback yes, but definitely not a failure.
The definition of a goal is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result” (Oxford Languages). There is no set in stone deadline imposed on goal achievement. Goals are very much a personal thing. Yes, of course, there are deadlines for work and business but goals are more personal and therefore, more flexible.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you do not reach your goal in the time you set yourself to do it. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to take a step back. Evaluate where you are against where you want to go. Take into account circumstances in the moment and recalculate how you are going to achieve your goal. Do not abandon the goal altogether, just think about it in a different way and on a different time scale.
You have not failed.
From a personal perspective, I have done this myself lately. I’ve had a large battle with my own subconscious about how I am doing with my own goals. I’ve not written any of my novel’s first draft in over a month – not one single word. However, I also know that I have not spent all that time resting on my laurels. It’s been a tough couple of months in my personal life and I have had to accept that the writing has had to take a back seat. It’s been difficult to accept that I have not failed, I just have to readjust my plans and goals to take into account the upheaval that life dealt me. I have no intention of abandoning my goal, I just need to look at life slightly differently and reconfigure my route to goal achievement.
If you want to read the whole of my personal update you can do so in my journal post here.
Do you feel you have failed? Have you really failed? Or do you just need to reevaluate and adjust your plans to fit around how your life is? Have unexpected hurdles appeared in your path? How have you worked around them? Do let me know in the comments below, your story may help others in a similar situation.