Failure gets a bad rap in our society. It starts in school. You get something wrong, you get marked down and you see this big red X in the page. For me when I look back to school, and all through my life, getting things wrong has left a bad taste I my mouth when I try and set my feet on a new path. The fears attached to the consequences of getting things wrong have held me back in the past.
The one thing that I learned a few years ago though was that failing means you haven’t found the right way yet.
If you are looking forward and planning new goals or setting yourself new targets, but you’re asking yourself “Why bother, I failed to reach goals that I set last time!” listen up… you’re in very good company! Thomas Edison tried and failed more than a thousand times before he found the correct way to make a light bulb work. If you need to pick yourself up from a year gone by where you just seemed to be spinning your wheels and getting no-where fast, a fresh start and a fresh look at goals for the year ahead is a good thing to do. Use these eight tips to get started now:
Be super clear about what went wrong when you set about achieving your goals. This way you can avoid making them again. Don’t beat yourself up if you stumble and end up making more, everyone makes mistakes – the secret is that successful people don’t make the same mistakes twice. They learn what went wrong, how they got into that place and then walk a different path next time. Mistakes made are nothing more than opportunities to learn and grow.
Failure and making mistakes can lead to feelings of disappointment and despair. Believe me I know this all too well. I had to let go though. I had to stop wondering “what might have happened if I got it right?” Acknowledging to yourself, the moment you don’t reach your goal and saying “Not this time… I’ll shoot for it again next time” shows that you understand you always have another chance. Upgrade the internal dialogue you have with yourself and refocus on success that is possible rather than the fact that you didn’t get there last time.
Setting a goal that you have total clarity on what are aiming for and why you are wanting to achieve it is the clarity I am talking about. Essentially, for every goal you set, ask yourself two questions. 1) What do you want to achieve? And 2) Why do you want to achieve it? Write the answers down and then work backwards from the place of having achieved your goal, to where you are today. This will create a sequence of small steps that you can take, one at a time to get to where you want to be. Each small step, or milestone, is one step closer to your goal.
Having a list of huge goals that require a lot of time and effort, or even just a long list of goals often leads to confusion, overwhelm or procrastination. The chances are you won’t achieve very much at all. Remember, from point 3 above, milestones are the way to achieve big goals. Small simple steps. And big lists, chunk them down to daily manageable lists that you can rest after completing each day, ending the day with a long list of things to do helps no-one.
Even if you are a self-employed entrepreneur, you don’t have to journey alone. Make sure you have a circle of trusted friends who will support you through the tough times and celebrate when you win. Look for a mentor or coach who can walk the path with you. And more importantly than all of these people, look at assembling a team that can take away the boring, mundane little tasks that you don’t need to get involved with. With people to assist with the tasks at hand, to keep you on track and to celebrate with, goals will be easier and more fun to achieve.
After my business went bust in 2009 I sunk to an all-time low in terms of my attitude towards life, I was clearly not in a good frame of mind. I was told that it was natural to feel down after such a set-back, but to get out of it I had to make a decision to flick the switch up. I had to choose to have a different mindset. Rather than dwell in the negative thoughts and emotions related to their failure, optimistic and positive people are more likely to succeed. I used affirmations, daily self-talk and encouraging audio books to help me get out of my head “funk” and in to a more positive mindset for the future.
Those in the personal development world, coaches, trainers and experts who want to grow a successful knowledge-based business, focus a lot of their energy and money on course after course, event and seminar, one after another. Learning is seen to the be the best way to grow. I agree learning new skills and strategies is important, but we all need to stop and implement too. A bookshelf full of books, a notebook full of ideas and a hard drive full of courses, wont make your life or business any better. It’s going to change for the better when you choose to take what you have learned and implement it in some way.
It is perfectly fine to celebrate every step of your journey. Some will say, don’t bother stopping to smell the roses, but research suggests that it is sound advice for finding satisfaction in life. The Journal of Personality and Individual Differences suggests taking the time to appreciate meaningful things and people in our lives, plays a large role in our overall happiness than previously thought (source). When you achieve your goal it’s a great time to celebrate, however, never forget to honor yourself for making a fresh start or achieving every small step (milestone) on your journey towards success. Give yourself a reward for turning up, staying on track, being one more step forward and for achieving your end goal also.
Choose today to give yourself permission to make a fresh start and make this year YOUR year!
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