Updated: Oct 23
In the week 40 affirmation I discuss success, even if you don't fully meet your goals. Some have asked what that process looks like visually, so I prepared this brief blog post to share. Remember, success is learning from and progressively realizing a worthy goal. That means you can have success, even if you don't fully accomplish your goal. You might note this is different than a lot of motivational posters and such, but just follow along with me for a minute and see if you don't like it better.
Some goals are fixed, particularly those imposed upon you e.g. at work. Some work and most of our personal goals, however, are arbitrary. For example, "I want to lose 30 pounds by my anniversary", why? Why not 20, or 40? For lots of reasons you chose the number, but from another perspective another number could be just as valid. Don’t get too caught up in the full accomplishment of an arbitrary goal as the only measure of success. The mental consequences can be tragic, lowering esteem and confidence and why? It simply does not make sense to be too hard on yourself.
If you follow the below process you can (and should) count success with any level of accomplishment. Why? Simply because you made some progress (remember the definition) and you learned something. Success! In the above example let's say you lost 10 pounds, not the 30 you had set in your goal. That is a success, especially if in the learning phase you realized that (for example) when you go out twice a week you simply cannot lose any weight. As you revisit your goal, say to lose the other 20 pounds, you take steps to ensure that you have a handy and better meal than eating out when you think its going to be an issue. Say you lose another 5 pounds by the new goal date - Success! In the learning this time you realized that unless you get bed by 11, you simply cannot get up in time to exercise the way you want to - Success!
Get the idea. These are arbitrary goals, but still important to you. By avoiding the beating yourself up, feeling like a loser, the negative self-talk, you are in fact mentally stronger and better able to learn and continue to succeed.
Goal – The process starts with setting a goal, ideally a SMART goal. (We discussed these in week 30, but just in case you were not with us then - Specific - Measurable - Actionable - Relevant - Timed.)
Effort – A goal without effort is a dream, with effort it becomes reality. This should include specific actions within specific timelines.
Progress – Any effort leads to progress. This can be either learning from your effort, and or, progress toward your goal.
Learning - No matter the accomplishment of the goal you learn from your effort as an explicit part of your goal.
Success – Is the progress on your worthy goal. If you got all the way, good for you! If you did not, you made progress! Even abject failure can be success if you learned critical lessons in the process.
Repeat – Once you reach your deadline you analyze your progress and modify the current goal or set an entirely new one. This makes for a lifelong process of growth, learning, and accomplishment.
In living an intentional life you will inevitably set goals. Success is defined as both learning from and accomplishing your goals. Imagine if you succeeded in accomplishing your goal, but then didn't learn anything in the process. How do you duplicate the accomplishment if you don't learn? When the environment changes and the path to accomplishment changes how do you know what to change unless you have a history of learning? The learning part of the process helps you be more successful in the future, and prepares you to continue to succeed under changing circumstances.
This process and definition of success avoids the mental pitfalls of feeling like a failure when you don't fully accomplish your goal. You develop better habits and a stronger mental model that supports you in your life long journey of learning and accomplishment. All my best on your journey!
HVASF exists to reinforce intrinsic motivation, the foundations include self-efficacy, self-compassion, and self-esteem. I have created affirmations and related insights which you can learn more about on my website www.hvasf.com. More recently I have partnered with artists to create beautiful art and affirmations and placed them on useful things like cell phone covers, my shop can be found here hvasf.redbubble.com. Have a great day - and if you want to see posts and updates please check out my Facebook page, and if you think it could be a positive part of your life - like the page. :)