How Your Failures of 2013 Can Become Your Successes of 2014
Copy: Serena Faber Nelson
Photography: Serena Faber Nelson
I’m a big goal setter. Huge. But only recently have I discovered the secret to really going after what you want.
For years I’ve written lists of goals and checked them off (or – ahem – lost the list that mentioned going to the gym every day); and I bet most of you have too.
Yet every year there are some goals that seem to come naturally – as if the universe is serving them up on a platter; whereas others sit there like big fat failures – sometimes year after year.
Why? Because you don’t want them to happen.
Whether you’re not ready for the goals you’ve set, whether you secretly want something else, whether you just don’t have enough knowledge to be setting the right goal…the reason goals don’t work is because they don’t have intention behind them.
A lot of dog owners identify with being introverts (my hand is up!) and I know MANY of us spend our lives putting other people (and pooches!) first. We often have a lot of love to give, but too often we’re too busy being the perfect puppy-mama, rescue advocate, friend, wife, mother, astronaut, CIA agent…that we don’t focus enough on ourselves or the goals we set.
So how do you get it right for 2014? Easy.
1. WRITE DOWN YOUR TOP 3 SUCCESSES
Here’s where you discover why things worked (and why they didn’t).
First, think over the last year and write down your top three successes. What goals did you knock out of the ball park?
Second, take a look at those goals. What was the emotion and intention behind them? Had you made commitments to others that you cared about? Was it something that made you a better person? Did the goal fit better with the REAL you?
I set myself a goal in 2013 to walk Soda every day – rain, hail or shine – and to take her on new outings on a regular basis. Did I achieve that? You betcha. Why? Because I wanted to. My desire to be a good dog mum and look after Soda in her twilight years always overcame any laziness, tiredness or ‘busy’-ness I was feeling. It made me feel good to return the love Soda has given me for so many years.
2. WRITE DOWN YOUR TOP 3 FAILURES
Next, write down your top three failures. Why didn’t they work? What was your intention behind these goals and what stopped you from pursuing them? If you ask yourself these questions the answer is usually staring you in the face. Some of the top reasons goal lack the proper intention include:
- They’re based on external factors. i.e ‘Reach 1000 Instagram followers.’ You can’t force people to follow you. But if you want to improve the quality of your photos and have a regular posting schedule on Instagram, in an effort to share your work and creativity, THAT you can do.
- They’re based on comparison. i.e. ‘Get her legs, apartment layout, wardrobe etc.’ Don’t compare yourself to others. Just don’t. If you admire someone, or are even jealous of them, work out what it is deep down that you want. Often the desire to be thinner, prettier, more successful etc can be traced back to simple desires for love and respect. Once you acknowledge what it is you need, you can set the appropriate goal.
- They’re too much. Remember a year is only 365 days. By all means push yourself, but if you set yourself up for a year of goals involving writing a book, traveling the world, renovating a house, and getting a masters degree in physics; something’s gotta give. Aim high, but give yourself enough time to enjoy each success.
My 2013 failure? I’d set myself up to lose 7 kilos. Did I? No. In fact I’m exactly the same weight I was this time last year. Why? Because I really couldn’t be bothered. Sure, I had some vague idea about getting fit and looking better in jeans, but the intention behind the goal was lacklustre to say the least. In short there was no driving force within me to keep me going.
The key to successful goal setting is finding and harnessing that driving force.
3. GIVE YOUR GOALS NEW MEANING
Now that you know what worked and what didn’t, it’s time to assign those failed goals new meaning.
For example, take my 2013 goal to lose 7 kilos. When I really thought about it what I really wanted was to be more active and not feel so tired all the time. So my original goal of ‘losing weight’ has actually been split into 3 following separate 2014 goals all designed to make me feel more energised and healthy through the year:
- Eat more protein and vegetables. As a vegetarian I know I don’t focus enough on the amount of protein in my diet, which in turn makes me feel tired and drained all the time. So in 2014, I’m focusing on keeping my protein and fresh veggie levels up!
- Planning my day and workload every night in my diary. In 2013, I found every time I went to exercise, go to yoga, paint my nails, get a haircut – the list goes on – I would say to myself ‘No – you should be working.’ By the end of the year I was exhausted. So in 2014, my intention is to plan the next day every night in my diary, ensuring I carve out time for looking after myself.
- Going offline and enjoying the real world. Soda is my inspiration behind this one. She’s nearly 13, and always has time for a walk, snuggle or game of fetch. Yet in 2013, after a day of waking up to my iPhone, only to be on my computer all day, then to say goodnight to my iPhone whilst I took one last look at my email – my brain was fried. In 2014, it’s my aim to only be online when I need to be — don’t worry Pretty Fluffy will still get the same attention, just maybe TMZ won’t! That way my world will have more time for getting out and about; which I’m hoping will lead to a fresher mind and body.
So that’s my take on goal setting for 2014.
My final word of encouragement? Do what YOU want. Not what others expect or hope you to be. Not what you think you should want. Not what Pinterest board you think you need to live up to.
Make goals that make you feel alive and live well.
….And don’t forget to include your furry friends!
I’d really love it if this resonated for you that you’d share some of your goals or failures and how you hope to switch them up for 2014 in the comments below. Let’s do this 2014!