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Moving Forward When Goals Fail

Even us superachievers don’t always accomplish our goals. I recently came across Heidi Grant Halvorson’s work in her book, Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals and wanted to share the valuable information she has for moving forward when we fail to reach our goals.

Unfortunately, even the best planned and written goals sometimes fail. How do we move forward? Here’s how to keep going:

Get grit! Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals and to persist in the face of difficulty. You can increase your grittiness by choosing the right goals – ones that you want for yourself (not what you “should” be going after): self-chosen goals create a mindset that makes hanging in there for the long haul much easier.

Blame your effort, not your ability: If you believe that you are having a hard time reaching your goal because you lack the necessary ability, and that you can’t do much to change that…well, there’s no way to put this nicely: you are wrong. Effort, planning, persistence, and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed. Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

You can’t have it all: While it’s almost never a good idea to abandon a goal because you think you lack the ability to achieve it, that doesn’t mean that it’s never in your best interest to give up on a goal. It’s important to recognize that you only have so much time and energy at your disposal to achieve your goals, and sometimes that means something’s got to give. Don’t be afraid to abandon a goal when achieving it becomes practically impossible.

Sometimes the price isn’t worth paying: It’s also perfectly okay to walk away from a goal, even when it’s something you’ve really wanted and could in fact reach, when the costs of achieving it are too great. Some sacrifices aren’t worth making – they are too painful, or they require you to give up too much.

Out with the old, in with the new: Knowing when to give up a goal that is just too difficult, or too costly, to attain is an essential part of being a healthy, satisfied person. To make the process not only easier, but even more rewarding, be sure to replace your old goal with a new one. This will enable you to maintain your sense of engagement and purpose, and to keep moving forward with your life.

There you have it superachievers! Hang in there and move on when it’s required.

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