14 things to do after failing to achieve a goal
If you have ever failed to achieve an important goal, you know how hard it can be to overcome failure and get back on track.
The good news is that with a little practice, you can turn failures into positive experiences that will teach you a lot about yourself and ultimately make you progress.
Learning from past mistakes and overcoming them is a transformative experience. However, to get there, you need to understand exactly what got you off track and take action.
Ready to find out 14 things to do after failing to achieve a goal?
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Acknowledge your failures
Acknowledging a failure is the first step in dealing with it. Avoid denial or trying to brush it off, as it will only prolong the pain and make it harder to move forward.
To get back on track, you need to find your own way to accept and cope with failure. Chances are you are feeling bad and struggling with shame, anger, sadness, or disappointment.
Failing is never easy, especially when you take full responsibility for your failures. However, this is a mandatory step to moving forward and establishing a new plan to achieve your goals.
We all fail and make mistakes in our lives.
What makes all the difference between people who achieve their goals and people who fail is their ability to acknowledge their mistakes, take action and work harder.
Remember that quitting is the only real failure. Everything else is just gathering information.
Taking responsibility for your failures is key to understanding that you are the only person creating the failures and successes in your life.
You will never achieve your life goals if you expect others to save you. Take responsibility for your failures, mistakes, feelings, and successes to gain control over your life and design the life you want.
Creating your future life starts today.
You might be in a bad place currently, and it might not be your fault because let’s face it: life is sometimes unfair.
However, you’re the only person responsible to turn things around, and finding excuses will never help you move forward.
Taking responsibility for what’s going on in your life is a stepping stone to taking action and getting things done.
Reflect on what went wrong
Take time to reflect on what went wrong and what you could have done differently. And use this experience as an opportunity to learn and grow.
After failing to achieve a goal, you need to pause and reflect on what happened and what went wrong.
- Did you fail to achieve your goals because your deadlines were too tight?
- Because you did not stick to your plan?
- Fail to make new habits stick?
- Underestimated the workload?
- Overestimated your capacities?
- Burnt yourself out?
In most cases, we are the only thing getting in the way of achieving our goals.
If you are prone to irrational beliefs and struggle to handle failure, you might unconsciously self-sabotage and procrastinate to avoid taking risks.
Although we engage in these negative behaviors to protect ourselves from the unknown, they end up doing more harm and making things worse in the long run.
Need help with self-sabotage and overcoming the fear of failure? Then these 2 posts will help you:
How to overcome the fear of failure
11 causes of self-sabotage and how to stop
Acknowledge what went right
It’s easy to dwell on the negative aspects of failure, but try to focus on your strengths and the things you do well.
This will help you build confidence, self-compassion and boost self-esteem.
After failing to achieve a goal, negative thoughts might become overwhelming. You might think you will never reach success and want to give up.
Acknowledging that you also do some things right is important to overcome these negative thoughts, improve your mindset and stay motivated to get things done.
Identify the habits you need to break
Habits, good and bad ones, have an important impact on our daily lives.
While following a few productive habits daily can rapidly change your life for the better, bad habits can considerably slow you down when it comes to achieving your goals.
Now that you have acknowledged your past failures, you need to identify which of your bad habits caused them to avoid failing again in the future.
Reschedule your new habits
If there is something my past failures taught me, it’s that sometimes, rescheduling your habits is all you need to stick to them.
You have probably already identified the habits you need to follow to achieve your goals but most certainly failed to make them stick.
Finding a more convenient time for your new habits will help you make it easier to follow them.
If you are serious about achieving your goals, you should consider planning the habits that support them first thing in the morning.
This will help you stick to them no matter how busy your workday is.
Jumping out of bed and getting things done might be hard, but do you know what’s even harder?
Having to do it after a 13-hour workday. After a long day at work, you will probably want to do nothing but crash on your couch and watch TV or scroll on your phone.
And none of this will help you move forward.
Waking up before everyone else and getting things done before you’re headed to work is the easiest way to ensure you achieve your goals.
Use a habit tracker
Using a habit tracker is a great way to ensure you stick to your plans and identify days during which you might struggle to keep up with your habits.
It will also help you with rescheduling your habits if needed by acknowledging when you fail to stick to them.
You can either use a to-do list app such as To-Do List – Schedule Planner, a digital habit tracker, or a notebook.
Take a few minutes at the end of the day to review your schedule and think about what you’ve done right and what can be improved.
This reflection will help you progress every day.
Practice gratitude and be kinder to yourself
Be kind to yourself and avoid self-blame or harsh criticism.
Treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding you would offer to a friend going through a similar situation.
This is the basis of a growth mindset that will help you move forward and achieve goals. Being kind to yourself also means making time for yourself and prioritizing self-care.
Being too negative about yourself will only lower your self-esteem, which is definitely not the way to go when trying to turn your life around.
Set new goals…
Use the lessons learned from past failures to set new goals and take action toward achieving them.
This will help you regain a sense of control and purpose.
You’re about to start fresh with a clean slate. Setting goals correctly is key to creating your new action plan.
To help you articulate a plan around your goals, you should set SMART goals.
As you probably already know, SMART stands for:
- Specific: Set specific goals and narrow them down to simplify planning.
- Measurable: Set measurable goals to be able to track your progress.
- Attainable: Define attainable goals and make sure you can reach them in a reasonable amount of time.
- Realistic: Set realistic goals that support a broader vision of your ideal life.
- Time-bound: Define time-bound goals with a clear deadline to stay motivated and keep yourself accountable.
An example of a SMART personal goal can be:
” I want to lose 15 lbs by the 30th of April 2023 by working out 5 times a week and following a well-balanced diet”
Setting SMART goals will help you visualize the outcome of your hard work and draw a clear path for the steps to take to be successful.
Milestones are key to breaking down your goals into bite-sized chunks and taking action.
To ensure you achieve your goals, you need to break them down into mini-goals with tight deadlines.
Doing so will create a sense of urgency which will help you overcome procrastination.
Setting a deadline for each of your milestones will keep you accountable and ensure you don’t fall short of your end goal.
If you don’t succeed in reaching a milestone, taking action rapidly will help you catch up.
Your milestones will help you ensure you stay on track to achieving your goals. They are just as important as your end goal, so don’t skip this step!
Adapt your environment
Our habits are a direct response to cues from our environment.
If you struggle to change your habits, making tweaks to your environment will considerably help you.
Hide the cues of your bad habits and add cues that will inspire you to stick to your good habits.
If you want to stop smoking, you can, for example, tweak your environment by removing all ashtrays from your house and only smoking outside.
This will add steps between you and your bad habit, which will make it less convenient and harder to follow.
If you have to go outside every time your want to smoke, you will have to :
- Get dressed if you are already in your pajamas
- Put some shoes on
- Put a coat on and take an umbrella if it rains
- Grab your phone
- Take your cigarettes and lighter
- Find your keys
- Lock the door
- Go outside and probably get cold
- Curse yourself
- Get back inside
- Remove your coat and shoes
- Put back your pajamas
- Curse yourself
Additional steps act like obstacles when it comes to habits, no matter if it is a good habit you want to commit to or a bad habit you want to break.
When trying to change your habits, a golden rule is:
Decrease the number of steps between you and your new habits and increase the number of steps between you and your bad habits.
Progress every day
Implementing new habits and working on your goals will be overwhelming, especially if you don’t break them down.
Achieving your goals might seem impossible until you actually get on track.
However, moving forward with your goals is actually much easier than it seems.
All it takes is making (small) progress every day.
Start each day with the intention of making it perfect. At the end of the day, acknowledge what you did wrong and strive to do better the next day.
Making even the smallest progress will help you get closer to your goals.
So instead of overthinking how hard it will be to stay consistent during the upcoming months, focus on one day at a time.
Time will fly, and you’ll be there before you know it.
Find new ways to stay inspired
If you want to stay motivated and keep your goals in mind, you need to find sources of inspiration and use them as much as possible every day.
The goal is to remember why you are doing whatever you are doing.
There are countless ways to can cultivate inspiration throughout the day.
You can, for instance:
- Create a digital vision board and set it as your wallpaper on your laptop and phone
- Buy a book about the goal you are trying to achieve and read it every day
- Listen to an inspiring podcast
- Meditate to overcome your negative thoughts
- Surround yourself with inspiring people
- Find a mentor
Instill sources of inspiration in your daily routines to stay focused on your personal goals and always remember why you started.
Make time for self-care
Now this sounds obvious, but you won’t be able to achieve your long-term goals if you are burnt out.
Your ability to get things done and be successful is highly correlated to your physical and mental health.
This is why self-care and rest are so important when it comes to being successful and changing your life.
You can consider self-care anything that helps you recharge your energy, unwind and get in check with your feelings.
It can be:
- Doing deep breathing exercises and meditating
- Taking a bubble bath
- Hanging out with friends
- Working out
- Preparing a healthy meal
Self-care will help you find balance in life which is key to long-term success.
To overcome failures, you need to understand what you did wrong and right and create an action plan for your next challenge.
Dealing with failure can be a difficult and emotional experience, but it’s important to remember that failure is a natural part of life and can provide valuable lessons for personal growth and development.
Having a written plan, including SMART goals, milestones, and realistic deadlines, will help you draw a clear direction for the upcoming months and reach success.
Reflecting on what went wrong is definitely a first step to move forward. I agree that self-care is important as it is something we forget about when going through hard times.
Yes, self-care is so important to finding balance and reaching long term goals!