What to do after you fail at your New Year’s Resolutions

How are your goals for the new year going so far? Have you failed yet? 🙂

hang in there

In NLP we have this phrase “there is no such thing as failure, only feedback.” This is the essence of a growth mindset or a learning goal orientation. Because I can improve my abilities, when I don’t immediately get what I set out to accomplish, that’s information I can use to continue to improve.

If you’ve failed at your New Year’s Resolutions already (which most people have), what have you learned that can help you to improve your goal pursuit? Did you set too high a bar and want to try lowering it? Was your goal too all-or-nothing? Perhaps try chunking it down, making your goal more feasible, but still making sure it is exciting enough to be desirable.

As far as my goals for the new year, I’ve made some progress and had some learning too. I have one fitness goal and one career goal. I keep my goals private to increase “goal shielding” so I won’t mention what they are. Basically I don’t want to get praise for having set a goal, as that can decrease motivation to actually pursue the goal.

With the fitness goal, I’ve already failed at progressing at the speed I wanted and felt discouraged for a a little while, but then realized I just needed to slow down the progression a bit. Feedback, not failure. Yesterday I met my lowered progression goal in my training – it was hard, but I did it! I might have to keep going at a slow pace, but it will still be worth it.

With my career goal, so far I’ve already tried a bunch of things and changed my mind about what exactly I’m going for, but I feel I am making progress. I’m also going slower than expected with this goal – I thought I’d have completed a bunch of things by the end of the first week in January, but as it turns out I haven’t yet. But that’s OK – I’m learning a lot, and continuing to try things.

And if you want more science with that advice, check out this fantastic interview with Kelly McGonigal over at the TED blog.

How about you? What are you learning this year so far?

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