I hate it when I set a lofty goal, full of enthusiasm and organization, all my ducks in a row, only to vie off track a few short weeks later.
It always makes me feel miserable for myself.
One missed day turns into two, and then three. Then the realization that I’ve failed once again makes me overeat.
It might also result in a night of excessive drinking. Or several nights of excessive drinking. Or an online spending binge on crap I don’t need.
A full-on pity party.
I stop showing up to my new exercise class because I’ve secretly returned to being a fast food dumpster.
Or I give up on my wonderful writing class because I’ve got nothing to share since I haven’t written anything coherent for days. Weeks, maybe.
And I don’t want anyone to know.
I hate being like this!
It makes me feel such disappointment with myself for not being able to stick to plans that I know would be good for my health and wellbeing.
The sting of failure doesn’t last too long, and life goes on. You try again.
Maybe you say to hell with that idea anyhow and tuck it away with all the other first starts.
I have always been an all-or-none kind of chick.
I jump all in, promising to be diligent and disciplined and stick to the plan!
Every day, damn it!
I get my star stickers ready to stick in my calendar for all those successful days to come.
But then, I miss a day; or a few. I start to feel like a complete failure for not being able to stick to anything consistently.
God, what’s wrong with me?
And then, the “none” kicks in.
The calendar gets shut because I can’t look at all those starless square blank days.
The carbs fill my cupboards, and the drive-thru lady knows me by name and has already placed my order before I say a word.
Back to the hamster wheel of my otherwise not very exciting life.
“Better luck next year, loser!” my self-loathing chides me.
But not this year.
This year has to be different.
In December, I wrote out all the things I wanted to accomplish this year in three areas of my life.
Three very big plans.
It’s January 23rd, and I have stuck to not one of my plans, as I planned them.
It's disappointing, yes. But this year, I’m not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.
I’ve missed some days. A lot of days actually in the past week or so. But it’s okay. I can pick it up and start over.
So here I am, starting over again.
Understanding How I Set Myself Up for Failure
This morning, I looked back at the plan I handwrote in my notebook in December.
The first thing I noticed was it was too much. I must have been on some heavy caffeine that morning because my 2021 plan was 6 legal pad sized sheets of paper filled from top to bottom, with side notes.
I realized right away that I set myself up for failure with how I plan my goals for an upcoming year.
Looking at all that “to do” made me want to jump off the wagon!
I was unrealistic and didn’t take my plan to the next step of breaking it down into specific goals with realistic timelines.
Oh, and I forgot to consider that I have a full-time job. And I’m a wife and a mother, which means these people need to eat and like clean underwear.
Now that I’ve already failed again this year, instead of picking up my proverbial ball, quitting in shame with profound feelings of failure, I’m going to get over it, regroup, and start over.
Besides, I’ve only failed 23 days of this year. There’s 342 more to go, so.
Three things I’ve done to regroup.
The first thing I did was to throw out my six handwritten legal pages of rambling BS.
The second thing I did was to define my goals briefly with specific timelines.
The third thing I will do is make my goals public, like in this post, or with a writing buddy for accountability.
So here goes.
My specific goals for 2021 are:
Eliminate alcohol from my life.
Timeline: Today — the rest of my life, I hope. I’ll keep you posted on this one.
I have four writing goals for this year.
#1: Finish and publish “how-to” that’s been a WIP for four years.
Timeline: January — March
#2: Finish the self-help book I’ve been working on for years.
Timeline: May — July
#3: Finish my romance series or novel, both of which have also been WIPs for years. Not sure which one I’m going to work on first. I’ll figure that out in writing class.
Timeline: Sept — November
General Writing Goal: Write and publish one post a day.
Timeline: 30 days. Reassess each month.
Pay off all revolving debt and close those credit cards.
Timeline: By April 15th
This goal plan is so much easier to look at and feels manageable.
It was easy to transpose into my calendar by breaking it down into weekly and daily goals that are manageable if I don’t make excuses and change the plan along the way.
My health goal is a tough one that I will write about prolifically someday. It has been a lifelong struggle of pain, heartache, and mistakes.
But this has to be the year.
It just has to be.
My writing goal? It looks like a lot, but I’ve already been working on all three of these WIPs for years. I know what the result should look like and what needs to be written. So get on with it, girl!
It is the discipline of sitting myself down in the chair daily and dedicating the time needed to finish these tasks uninterrupted that I have lacked.
It’s quieting the naysayers in my head and putting my fingers to this keyboard, writing down the words, like what comes out or not.
Putting in the work is the only way I will ever see the fruition of these goals.
As far as my general writing goal? Today is day one, and here is my first post.
My financial goal was the first thing I worked on by setting everything in motion via auto-pay to accomplish this goal by the middle of April.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, this goal should be reached.
Have you slipped off your goal path? Are you not seeing the results you had hoped for? Go back to your original plan. Is it feasible? Is it realistic?
Does it fit in with the rest of your life? Especially if you have other humans and animals in your stratosphere, who need to eat and like clean underwear?
If you’ve gotten off track, take some time (not too much time. A day at the most.), and re-write your goal plan.
Assess the plan and figure out where you went south.
What can you change to get back on track?
Re-write the plan with specific deadlines to keep you on track.
I am at the beginning, once again, of my goal path. I don’t know if I will be successful this time with this plan, but fingers crossed.
I’ll keep you posted.
I’d love to hear what you’ve done to realign and get back on track if you’ve dropped the ball on something you wanted to achieve.
What changes have you made to start over again?
And if you’re still going strong, how do you maintain your momentum?
I’d love to hear what has helped you.
Talk to me.
K Bennett is a mother of 6 awesome males, music lover, photographer, avid reader, autodidact, Ninja Writer, Taurus in menopause, trauma survivor, seeker of peace.