Why I Didn’t Achieve All My Goals for Last Year and I’m OK with It

The new year has already begun and it’s a really exciting and light feeling to start fresh. It can also be uncomfortable, overwhelming and stressful as it’s also the time when we get bombarded by messages from media about the importance of goals. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a true supporter of the whole goal-setting process – writing down your aims, seeing the list daily and reviewing your progress often.

But what do you do if you haven’t accomplished the things you wanted?

Does this make you feel bad and disappointed with yourself? Here is my story about not meeting all my last year’s goals and why I decided to be comfortable with it.

In mid of December last year I took my two goal lists ( I have one for general life goals and one specifically for financial goals ) and went to a local coffee shop.

It was a quiet afternoon with not many people around and while enjoying my latte and carrot cake, I started making myself accountable of how I performed according to the goals I set for myself back in January.

The summary was like that – the number of the objectives I achieved and couldn’t achieve was the same. There were a few which I achieved to a certain point, so I marked them as half-achieved.

But what struck me was that for the first time I was totally ok with not gaining everything I was aiming for instead of getting self-critical and frustrated.

And here is why:

1. Some of the goals were no longer of interest to me. We change, circumstances change and it’s beneficial for our peace of mind to accept that we outgrow things and we don’t have to feel guilty about that.

2. After spending the first quarter of the year vigorously chasing tasks and being extremely busy, it dawned on me that life is not only about accomplishments. We all know this but in fact we can get so caught up in ticking boxes that we forget to live. And this is not success, it is a recipe for burnout. I realized that life is meant to be enjoyed .

3. Unexpected circumstances hindered me from taking action. Let’s face it, we don’t live in a perfect world and great many things can go wrong. And as much as this may sound like an excuse for many, I prefer to think that it’s evidence that we don’t have control over everything. And that’s ok, we have to continue as soon as we can but in the meantime, to be kind and gentle to ourselves.

4. I’ve set up too many goals. As in many other aspects of life, I found out that “Less is more”. When you have less goals, you are more focused and use your energy more constructively.

5. Some of my goals were not clear, concise, time-oriented. I reminded myself that the five features that make a statement a goal are: specific, meaningful, action-oriented, reasonable and time-oriented.

6. I wasn’t held accountable in front of other people. It’s essential to track your progress and speak about it with someone else – your mum, sister, partner, best friend, colleague. Make sure it’s somebody who will be supportive of your strivings and won’t put you down.

In conclusion, I must say I had an amazing year, probably the best I have had for a long time! This is proving that it’s not all about the destination but about the journey as well.

So, if you’re secretly fretting that you haven’t done much last year, check if any or all of the above are relevant to you, too. Appreciate your efforts and praise yourself  for whatever you managed to do, no matter big or small. Then write a new list with amazing goals for this year – one that empowers you but it’s not too overwhelming or unrealistic. If the article resonated with you in any way, please feel free to leave a comment. Good luck and dare to go for your dreams!

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