Disappointed with your progress toward the goals you set for yourself this year? There are things you can do to start down a better path for the coming year.
When you're disappointed in your progress
If you listen to The Productive Woman podcast, you're probably a lot like me. We set goals. We make plans. We take care of the day-to-day and the people in our lives.
But sometimes we don’t reach all the targets we set for ourselves and it's easy to feel disappointed and discouraged. Especially at this time of year when we can look back, we might think “There were so many things I wanted to do, but I didn't quite make it.”
Thinking about this, I wanted to share some thoughts for all of us to keep in mind as we approach the end of this year and the beginning of the next to deal with that discouragement and disappointment so we can start on a better path for the coming year.
Don’t compare yourself to anybody else.
Comparing ourselves to others can often lead to disappointment in ourselves. But comparison almost always is based on faulty (or at least insufficient) information about the person you're comparing yourself to. No matter how well you know her, you only see part of the picture. And her life isn’t yours.
You may have a friend who is just knocking it out of the park, and you look at your life and can't help but think, “I just didn't do it. I didn't get there. Why can she do it but I can't?”
Again, you only see part of the picture. You don't know what goes on behind closed doors or in her mind and heart. You don't know why she did what she did. All you can do is look at your own life and say, “I did what I could.”
Perhaps you have a small child who takes up all your time, or a family member who is ill. Maybe you have a physical limitation others don't deal with.
The bottom line is that we all need to stop comparing ourselves. Give yourself credit for what you've done, and don't measure yourself against what somebody else appears to have accomplished. You do you. Let her be her.
Let go of the “shoulds”
We are good at thinking “I should have done this” or “I should be able to do that” or “I should say this.”
All these shoulds are a recipe for discouragement. When we've made all these rules for ourselves about what we ought to be and what we're supposed to accomplish, it's almost inevitable that we will end up disappointed in ourselves because we are not reaching whatever the measurement is that we've set for ourselves.
“If I should is always running in the background, you won’t feel much peace, even when you accomplish great things.”
That's the problem with “I should.” It takes the focus off of what we've done and puts us in a position where we will never measure up.
Show yourself as much compassion as you would to a friend or child
If your friend or child came to you feeling disappointed with her performance or accomplishments, what would you say to her? Can you say those things to yourself?
Learning self-compassion may be the most important thing we can do. Many of us are far harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else.
Look in the mirror and see love, not hate. Stop beating yourself up over everything you think, say, or do. Stop criticizing yourself for all your so-called “weaknesses” or “shortcomings. Because every human being is born with flaws. Every person deserves love, support, and a heartfelt hug for trying to change them. So feel good about yourself. Feel great about yourself. Realize it’s okay to be imperfect. Look in the mirror and smile at the person smiling back at you. Because that person is wonderful and deserves your love.”
Can we learn to talk to ourselves as kindly and graciously as we do to the people we care most about? This may be a key to making a life the matters.
You’re probably doing better than you think you are
It's easy to identify where we’ve fallen short, and so much harder to see our progress. We have to intentionally look for it. If you don't see what you've accomplished in the areas that matter to you, ask those close to you to help you see it. Write it down. Maybe you didn't make it all the way you wanted to go, but you probably made progress. Celebrate that. Give yourself credit for that.
Look for the lessons to be learned
In the areas you didn't achieve your goal or make the milestone you were aiming for, what are the lessons you can learn from that?
“Try to avoid using your disappointment as ammunition to keep yourself down. Instead, focus on the fact that you can learn from where you fell short and do better in the future.”
Instead of pounding yourself on the head for not making that goal, think about what lessons you can learn from that.
A way to identify those lessons would be to think about what were your barriers to success, both internal and external, and what can you do about them? What kept you back from achieving what you wanted? Was it lack of planning? Weak time management? Overcommitment? Unrealistic expectations? Mindset issues such as fear of success or fear of failure?
Once you've identified the barriers, brainstorm ways to overcome them. What skills do you need to learn, and where will you learn them? What help do you need, and where will you get it? What habits and routines do you need to develop, and when will you start? What commitments will you let go of?
All these things can help you learn the lessons from the disappointments you're feeling now, and chart a better path for accomplishment in the future.
And the important thing is that we don’t have to wait for the new year or the first of the month or Monday morning to start a new year or new direction. We can start over tomorrow or right this minute. It’s never too late… and it’s never too soon to start moving in the direction you want to go.
What do you think?
Are you happy with how this year has gone so far? Have you achieved everything you had set out to achieve? Or are you a little disappointed for not having quite made it where you wanted to go? What steps will you take to address that disappointment to grow and learn from it and do something better in your mind in the coming weeks, months, and years? Please share them in the comments section below this post or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group or send me an email.
- The Pain of ‘I Should’ and How to Let Go of the ‘I Should’ Mentality
- 6 Reasons You Need to Stop Being So Hard On Yourself
- How to Get Back on Track After Disappointing Yourself
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