what to do when you don’t reach your goals

Who doesn’t love a fresh start? I love setting a new goal or tackling a project, and part of that desire comes from an innate pull for self-improvement. But what happens when we fall short and how do we keep going?

The process of setting the goal usually involves identifying something that will help me be the version of myself I aspire to be. I will typically set a timeline with actionable steps.  But admittedly, I fall short of a lot of goals I set and the disappointment ensues. Y’all may remember my gratitude challenge for myself – “write something I’m grateful for 7 days in a row.” Well, I’ll admit I only got to 3 days that week. 

Similarly (but with a much heavier weighting), I’ve been targeting an early fall launch for Rightside since January, and COVID had other plans. Due to some equipment delays, we are now tracking to a December launch. It kind of feels similar to going past my due date with Maisie. Everything is ready to go and it’s out of your hands. Not a good feeling, so what can I do?

  1. Find the Silver Lining – for the gratitude challenge, I hadn’t made an entry in my journal since pre-COVID. My goal was to step outside my bubble and acknowledge the good. Even though I only got to 3 days, that was 3 more days in 7 months I purposefully sat down and logged those entries. And honestly, even if I didn’t get to writing it down, it felt more top of mind than it had earlier in the year. So while I’m disappointed I didn’t hit the goal, it’s way better than I was doing.
  2. Put it in Perspective – admittedly, these Rightside delays feel like an eternity right now. I’m so ready to get product out there to share with y’all, but I know come 2021, those two months will be the tiniest blip on the journey. I’m not a fan of belittling your disappointments, but think about what it’ll mean days, weeks, months, years from now. It may help.
  3. Take a Look at What Went Wrong – Erin Gobler, a self-proclaimed goal-setting proponent, gives some helpful advice on what to do when you don’t reach your goals. One thing she suggests is to run a post mortem on what happened and why you didn’t reach the goal. “I’ll be honest and say that sometimes when I don’t reach a goal, it’s just because I flat out stopped trying. Other times, however, there was simply a flaw in the plan and things got a bit derailed because of it. Be as honest and as specific as you can during this part, because that information is definitely going to help you down the road.”
  4. Do it Differently – Fast Company provides a 4 step process on what to do if you’re not meeting goals. I may suggest reevaluating your process for setting goals and what could you do differently.
    1. Embrace Self-Awareness – “Only after serious introspection can you truly deconstruct what it takes to make your dreams come to fruition.”
    2. Think Big Picture – “ask yourself: where do I want to land and what do I hope to contribute?”
    3. Outline Actionable Steps – “Take the broader concept of your goals and distill it into more specific objectives and even more granular tasks.”
    4. Monitor Your Progress – “I recommend reviewing your objectives daily (to make your task list), and your goals monthly (to make sure you stay connected to your more important big-picture aims).”

No matter what the goal (big or small), if you fall short, it’s worthwhile to acknowledge the disappointment and move on. By acknowledging some positive change, reevaluating what’s important to you, and moving forward, it’s possible that may land you in a better spot than if you had just achieved your goal straight out. 


I hope y’all are having a great start to your week and soaking in these Fall days. 


Take care and be well,