Do You Feel Like a Failure When You Miss a Goal? Read This

frustrated

A friend of mine is reading my book and wrote me: “Greg, the stories in your book about people struggling with their goals are good, but it can still be hard to focus on and attack goals that you didn’t meet even after very diligent efforts. Sometimes you feel your doing everything right, but its still not working. It makes you rethink if your goals are even legitimate or worthwhile to pursue.”

Hey, when we put in great effort and don’t get the results we want, that’s frustrating. If this has ever happened to you, have you looked at what you did achieve with your efforts? Listen to what my friend did achieve.

“My goal is to get to ten percent body fat. I have been working on it for ten years. In that time, I have gone from an extremely overweight guy who was afraid of my car breaking down in the middle of summer (because I might die walking to get help), to having hiked the Grand Canyon with my wife in the middle of summer with a 50lb pack. My body fat percentage was 45% and I was able to get it to around 18%.

I went from a weakling who got tired carrying groceries from the car to the house, to a fairly strong man that can bench press over 300lbs, squat over 400, and deadlift 495.  I went from a lazy undisciplined gamer who sat on the couch, to a guy who earned two black belts in martial arts.”

“I also met my wife during this time. But, the ten percent body fat goal evades me no matter what I try.”

OK, wait. You achieved all that and that’s failing at your goal? I’d like to fail like that!

I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.

– Neal Shusterman

He has already achieved some great goals. He has transformed his body, and his life. To a great deal, he’s transformed his mindset as well.

But, I get how we can all still be frustrated when we don’t meet the exact goal we set for ourselves. We can see this as a block to other goals.

I want to encourage you. Don’t miss the great stuff. My friend should feel amazing at all he accomplished by pursuing his goal. Why do we focus so much on the negative? Why are we so hard on ourselves?

I asked my friend, “If your son or daughter achieved what you have, would you be disappointed in them for not making the body fat percentage goal? Would you tell them that they are failures? Of course not. Then why do this to yourself? Give yourself some Grace.”

Then decide if you still need to reach your original goal. If the answer is yes, start over with finding new ways to reach it. If you’ve been trying something for ten years, then it’s time to try something else.

Maybe check with your doctor to make sure this is a goal you can physically reach. Research the best meal and workout plans to get to your ideal body fat percentage.

Interview personal trainers who have had success getting their clients where you want to be.

Ask yourself, “If you knew what step you needed to take right now to decrease your body fat, what would it be?” (Do that!)

Regardless, you have proven to yourself that you have what it takes to change your life. Don’t let this stop you from changing other areas as well.

Imagine what your life would be like if you had never tried to achieve this goal. You have succeeded in so many ways because you created a goal and took consistent action. Great job. Don’t give what you see as a failure the power to stop you from achieving even greater things in the future.

Questions for comments: Have you ever fallen short of a goal? How did it make you feel? How did you keep moving forward?

Sometimes It’s OK to Quit

Quitter

Greg, you’re freaking me out again. Didn’t you just tell me to never give up? Now you’re telling me it’s OK to quit? Are you off your meds?

Slow down, speed racer, let me explain.

I understand the conventional wisdom is that you should never give up once you’ve set your mind to something. I agree with that – to a point.

There’s a big difference between giving up and deciding to quit something. If you stop working towards what you know is your Passionate Purpose because it’s too hard, or someone talked you out of it, or you got sidetracked on unimportant things, or you had to watch the Simpsons marathon on FX, that’s giving up. That’s what I hope you won’t do.

If, however, you are trying out new things to see what fits on you, it’s perfectly OK to stop doing something you find out you truly don’t enjoy. How will you know what you really like if you don’t try it? I don’t want you to feel like once you try something new you can never quit or you’re a failure. That might stop you from trying awesome things.

And how can you keep being awesome if you stop trying awesome things?

(Who’s awesome? YOU’RE AWES…ok, sorry, got carried away.)

What if you discover what you’re struggling with wasn’t really your Passionate Purpose after all? What if you realize you’re trying to live out the dream your parents have for your life, or you’re trying to please someone else? Wouldn’t it be crazy to keep pursuing someone else’s goals?

How do you know the difference between giving up and quitting? Here’s what I do and what I make my children do. If you want to try something new, like a new job/career, a sport, an instrument, dance lessons, etc. determine a set amount of time that you are going to continue trying it no matter what. (A rule of thumb is six months to a year.) If you decide you don’t like it at the end of your trial period, you can quit without being a “quitter.”

You aren’t quitting because you can’t stick with something. You did stick with it. You did what you set out to do. You learned it wasn’t a good fit for you and now you’re moving on to something else.

If it is a good fit for you, keep doing it! You’re on your way.

Remember, you can try a new job or business without quitting your old one. You can ease into it. You don’t have to GO BIG right away. You don’t have to take a big leap and risk everything. You can take baby steps to get started.

Question for comments: When’s the last time you tried something new to see if it was a good fit? How did you know?

Frustration Will Beat You Twice if You Let It

frustrated

Have you ever had a goal, made some good progress and then taken two steps back? It’s frustrating isn’t it?

Frustration can beat us down. It will beat us twice if we let it.

Frustration is just a test to see if you really want this.

–Greg Knapp

My oldest daughter, Faith, asked me to show her a chord and a new rhythm on the guitar last night. As we started to work on it, I saw her tearing up.

I asked her why and she said, “I was practicing this earlier and I had it. Now I can’t do it. It’s so frustrating!”

The frustration had taken the joy out of playing guitar for her. If we weren’t careful, it was going to push her to give up learning the song she wanted to play. Too many sessions like that and frustration might beat her into giving up on the guitar all together.

So, we took a step back and:

  • Thought about all the progress she has made on the guitar
  • Discussed how if it was easy everyone would do it
  • Remembered that she had learned harder things than this before

Then we started over again, slowly, until she got it. The joy came back in her eyes. With each little success, she became more confident that she could do it.

It ended up being the best part of my day. (Faith said she had fun too.)

Frustration will arise. It will try to derail you. Your goal won’t seem as reachable or as much fun. But, If you can take a breath, regroup, and begin anew, great things will happen.

How do you handle frustration?