Whenever you set a goal, especially at the very beginning, there is a high chance that you will encounter failure in some way.
However, there is a crucial difference between facing failure and failing altogether. It takes a certain type of person to follow through with the things they want to achieve.
I have quite a low follow-through, which had a big impact on my ability to complete goals – and it still does!
Learning from failure
However, that doesn’t mean I failed in the goals I set myself. I looked at whatever failures I had and learned from them.
You see, failure isn’t really a failure. It’s just a lesson that you can either choose to learn from or not. The sad thing is that so many people go through failure and get discouraged and upset instead of seeing it for what it is – a powerful learning opportunity.
Thomas Edison didn’t fail 1,000 times before he was successful: he just discovered 1,000 ways not to make a lightbulb before he learnt how to do it.
This is the kind of reframing we need to do around the concept of failure in order to achieve the goals we have set out for ourselves. We need to see failure as a temporary situation and use this time to learn.
Once you can start to see failure as an opportunity, any barrier or obstacle along the path to your goals can be met head-on and overcome.
Most people give up on their goals and fail because they haven’t learned from failure. That’s the only way you can truly fail.
Mitigate the effect of failure with a plan
Accepting failure as a valuable learning opportunity is a powerful tool for goal setting, but facing that failure is never ideal.
This is why we must start to look for ways to mitigate the effect of failure in our lives. One way we can do this is through careful planning. Even when failure is inevitable, it’s crucial we have a plan so we don’t panic or spiral out of control when it happens.
Plan for the worst
A good place to start with your planning is to think about the worst possible things that could happen in your situation. Then you can start to look at what you might be able to control from that situation.
Very often, the biggest worries and stressors in our lives are things that are completely out of our control! The pandemic is a great example of this. The effect of COVID-19 was totally out of everyone’s control, but for many people, it stopped them in their tracks, and they just gave up.
Some people have used it as an excuse, which is understandable, but there are so many others out there who have used it as an opportunity to re-engineer their situation through careful planning.
When it comes to your goals, think about the worst possible thing that could stop you from achieving what you want, and start putting it into perspective.
Programming your subconscious
If the worst happened, what could you do to move forward instead of giving up?
If you really let your imagination go wild, you will discover that these things are not likely to happen, because you have programmed your subconscious to look out for anything that might send you off in that direction.
So instead of steering you into disaster, your brain will look out for opportunities.
Being a perfectionist is a major problem
As powerful as having a plan is, you will never reach your goals unless you take action. You can’t keep planning forever. At some stage, you are going to have to get up and take action in order to achieve what you want.
Some people spend their entire lives waiting for the perfect moment to act, which is the exact reason why they never achieve anything. However, the truth is there will never be a perfect time for anything.
If people just said, “we will wait till we can afford it before having children”, we would be staring at the end of the human race!
No one can afford to have children! But we do, and we get on with it, albeit with much lighter pockets. You’re never going to have all that free time you are holding out for, and you won’t have the perfect bank balance either, so stop waiting and waiting – just get started now.
Getting started takes bravery
Getting started takes bravery. You have to be brave to go out there and get what you really want out of life, but that’s the only way you’re going to achieve those goals you’ve set.
Sometimes, this means being brave enough to not listen to other people too. You can’t let people who have already given up on their dreams talk you out of yours. Sometimes you have to be a little selfish and do things for yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should start forsaking friends and family in exchange for success.
Communicating your vision to others
Your goals must be aligned to your values and help you live a more rich and fulfilling life. That means you need to communicate the journey you are on to your loved ones so that they understand and support you instead of resenting the fact that you are spending more time than usual away from them.
So remember, when it comes to your goals, you can only truly fail if you give up. Navigating your way through failure is a crucial part of achieving what you want. Make sure you have a good plan and communicate your vision to those people most important to you.
If you’re keen to learn more about goal setting, seizing on opportunities or just getting the most out of life, I’d love to hear from you.