Have you ever been disappointed in yourself because you failed to accomplish a goal you set for yourself? (I have!)
How many times have you cursed yourself for not having self-discipline? (I have!)
Have you ever given up on yourself because you convinced yourself it was too hard to continue? (I have!)
You are not alone.
I can't tell you how many times I've started a new diet; or signed up for a gym membership only to fizzle out after a few weeks; or declared my intention of giving up wine and cheese nights.
I can go on and on.
I hate to admit it, but there are plenty of times in my life when I've let myself down by setting a goal, only to give up because I got tired, bored or frustrated.
I've seen so many talented fellow coaches leave their coaching businesses because they failed to reach their goals. They convinced themselves that maintaining their businesses was impossible.
In my line of work, I coach and work with many motivated, experienced professionals who work hard every day, yet they fail to reach their goals. Ultimately, they get frustrated and burn out.
If you are frustrated because you never seem to reach your goals, you might need to re-evaluate your goal setting practices.
Giving up on yourself is easy. Staying the course and pushing through the discomfort is hard work. The problem is, most people don't hang in in the discomfort zone long enough to succeed.
I've seen so many people who have failed simply because they didn't set their goals in the way that would allow them to succeed. They started out with no plan, no commitment, and no stamina.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret that produces big results: The key to accomplishing your goals is in the goal setting.
If you get the goal setting right, accomplishing your goal becomes so much easier. It's almost effortless. You simply follow the path--step by step--toward your goal.
1. Start with the big picture.
Many people miss this important step. First, you must ask yourself the "why." Why is this goal important to you? Think of the positive effects you will get when you accomplish it. For example, you might get a raise or finally live the lifestyle you want. For my fitness goals, my Why was my desire to live a fit, healthy lifestyle so that I can enjoy my life fully until the last breath.
2. Next, break down the big picture into smaller pieces. Then, choose a focus area.
Brainstorm ideas that will help you get closer to the big picture. In my case, the smaller pieces included eating better and exercising regularly. I decided to focus on exercising regularly.
If your big picture goal is excelling in your career, your smaller pieces might be feeling more confident, communicating better with your boss and colleagues, or finding your passion and pursuing it.
3. Finally, find the easiest, smallest step in the focus area.
After you've picked your focus area, determine the easiest, smallest step in the focus area. If feeling more confident is your focus area, you might want to start working with a coach to guide you as you build your confidence. Your smallest step might be taking coaching seriously and being fully present during each session.
I knew my challenge was the "regularly" part, so I joined a boot camp that met at 5:15 a.m., so I had no work or personal excuses to not go.
My smallest step was to simply show up. I knew once I got there, I'd enjoy the workout. All I had to do was get there and be present and engaged.
After you accomplish the smallest step, move on to the next small step. Continue moving forward, one step at a time. Before you know it, your small steps will bring you closer to your big picture goal.
Remember, it's okay to fall off the course. Rather than dwelling on what didn't work out, use that energy to figure out what you can do to make it better next time.
It's okay if you decide to change course. It's vital to re-decide every day to stick to your plan. Sometimes that means making new decisions that serve you in a better way.
Remember, just because things don't go as planned, it doesn't mean you've failed. It just means you might want to change things up. Every experience offers a chance to learn something new, or to learn what doesn't work for you.
There really is no failure until you label it a failure. It's not how many times you fall that matters; it's the number of times you stand back up and start again. That's what makes the difference.
Nozomi Morgan, MBA, is a certified Executive Coach and the Founder and President of Michiki Morgan Worldwide LLC. Addition to coaching, she speaks and trains on leadership, career, professional development and cross-cultural business communication.