“Shoot for the Moon – even if you miss you’ll land among the stars”.
– Les Brown (motivational speaker)
As someone recovering from an ‘all-or-nothing’ personality disorder, this quote reminds me that you don’t have to get it exactly right to still have stellar results.
We all tend to set big goals in the New Year of what we want our life to look like, how we want it to be bigger and better than the year before and we dream of creating the change that will shift us from where we are now into the amazing life we have always imagined possible.
By the time we enter the second month of a new year, our resolutions often take a nose-dive. We lose motivation, maybe we didn’t have the best game plan in place to achieve our goals and that inner critic stamps our progress report card with a “FAIL”. As in Game Over, that didn’t work out, don’t quit your day job.
What if, instead of grading our outcomes in life as a success or a failure, we simply saw them as a result?
Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
(and he created the first light bulb that could actually be used in people’s homes. Thank god he didn’t grade himself with a “FAIL” after his first three attempts and simply say “Pssht – this concept of people needing safe and economical electric lighting in their homes is never going to catch on anyway”).
At the start of this month while I was re-setting my fitness goals, I randomly decided to do 100 sit ups each night. (Which, admittedly, probably was a bit ambitious considering I never do any type of stomach exercises…maybe starting at 50 would have been a more achievable but still challenging goal!) Anyhow, The first 3 days of the week were great, I did 100 each night before bed, I was feeling good about my commitment, but then… I came home late one night and couldn’t be bothered. I was tired. I didn’t feel like it. I’d do extra tomorrow…and the wheels fell off the wellness wagon. The rest of the week went by sans-crunches.
As I started to reassess why this goal had “failed” and how to make it a “success” in the future, it occurred to me that even though I hadn’t met my target, I still did 300 more sit ups that week than any other week of my life. I’m still further ahead than I was last week. And next week, I’m sure, I’ll be slightly farther down the path again. I have to remind myself that in life, there is no success and failure, there are only RESULTS – there’s trial, error and then learning; taking a step back and assessing why you got a certain result and how you could do things to create a better outcome tomorrow.
The point is this: I do totally believe that you should set goals that stretch you; don’t just pick something you can easily achieve. But at the same time don’t give up if you don’t quite hit that magic number or result. Acknowledge that you’re still much closer to your goal than you were previously, congratulate yourself, and then see if there are any patterns you can change to get you even closer to the moon tomorrow.