• Posted 13/02/2020 3:26am

Planning for Failure

How is your goal setting going for 2020?

As you set out and write down what you want to achieve this year, whether your goals relate to your health, finances, work situation or whatever, have you taken failure into account?

The Best Laid Plans

Think about the last project or goal you worked towards. Did absolutely everything go according to plan? Talk to some people about goal setting and trying to achieve their vision, and many will say that everything went wrong until the last minute.

There’s an amazing book I re-read every so often by John C Maxwell called Failing Forward. In it, he writes about how we can learn from our mistakes and what we can do to turn our failures into successes.

A famous example is Thomas Edison who experimented for years before he could get his idea of a lightbulb to work. "I haven't failed, I've just found 10,000 that won't work." he said.

Stay Well Man Christchurch goal setting Thomas Edison failure

Did you know that on average, a person will attempt to quit smoking fourteen times before succeeding. Remember, that’s the average. A very small handful of people will decide they want to quit smoking, and just like that, they are able to do it. On the other hand, there will be others that take thirty attempts to quit smoking.

Set A Goal Worth Achieving

Nobody really sets a goal with the intention of failure, but any goal worth achieving should be difficult. Quitting smoking is incredibly hard. Going back to Thomas Edison, he also said “Of the 200 light bulbs that didn’t work, every failure told me something that I was able to incorporate into the next attempt.” His perspective wasn’t that he continued to fail, but that he became closer to the idea of what would work, through eliminating what didn’t.

That’s the important step. If you set out to achieve a goal knowing exactly how to do it, being able to control all the elements around it, and doing everything right the first time, what have you really learned? It’s probably a sign you need to dream bigger and aim higher. Failure is often one of life’s greatest teachers, and it’s important that when we fail, we’re able to reflect on what didn’t work and use that experience to change what we do moving forward.

Stand With Other Goal Setters

For a greater chance of success, surround yourself with like-minded people who will pick you up when you fail and help you stay motivated. You may need a mentor to help you stay accountable and on track. How much more successful could you be if you were able to learn from someone else’s failures? For fitness goals, that person could be a personal trainer. A financial planner could help you achieve goals around budgeting or retirement planning.

If your life goals are health related, whether that’s giving up smoking, losing weight, creating a different lifestyle or generally wanting to feel healthier, I can be your health coach. I’m happy to help you set measurable goals, share my mistakes, help you stay positive, and encourage you when failure comes your way.

Acknowledge Failure, Move Forward

When you’re setting your goals and planning for success, remember also to plan for failure. That way, when failure occurs , you can acknowledge it and even celebrate it and realise that you’re on track towards your larger goal. It’s important for making sure your goals remain focussed and smart.

So when you’re setting out what you want to achieve this month, this year, or this decade, make sure you build in a goal for failure.

One final life lesson from Thomas Edison. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

If you want to try something different this year so you can live well and stay well, book a time with me to go over your health and wellbeing goals.

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