Failed Goals

I'm a staunch believer in setting specific goals - and research has shown that the best goals to set are ones that you have a 50-75% chance of achieving. If we set goals too low and always hit them, we're probably not challenging ourselves. If we set them too high and rarely hit them, we're probably going to get discouraged. 

So although I don't like to admit it, I fail at some of my goals. Most recently, I failed a family goal: a Summer Bucket List, an idea we stole from a friend. We had the kids each pick a few things they wanted to do over summer break, and we as a family were going to do them. 

A few examples:

Dutch Wonderland
Dottie's Ice Cream
Beach day trip
Barnstormers Game
Lemonade Stand... 

School started up, and we barely did half of them. (Yes, I could cheat and do even after school has started, but that misses the point). 

I'm bummed about it - but not totally devastated. Instead, I'm asking "What can I learn from it?"

Was it a good goal? For sure
Was it achievable? Maybe
Would I do it again? Yes
What would I do differently? Schedule each one ahead of time

This post-mortem reflection of a failed goal can be hugely helpful as we set new ones, or recast a failed one. Not hitting a goal doesn't have to be just a failure, it can be a time to make us better.

Additional Resources

1. Joshua Becker - Greed and Worry Have the Same Effect on Our Lives (blog)
This is one of my favorites pieces I've come across in quite some time, and one I'm sure I'll be returning to frequently. Greed and Worry are separate emotional issues, but they both have the same end result: "The accumulation and possession of more things for ourselves than we need. And subsequently, the missed opportunity and joy of giving to others." What's super fascinating is that our culture seems to rightfully critique Greed, but compassionately accept Worry as harmless. Great read. 

2. Calibrating Capital - Planning > Plans (blog)
Plans are good. Planning is better. Another cross-post here from Calibrating Capital, only mentioned again because of the traction it's picked up. The completed project of a financial plan is valuable - but the actual experience of planning is better. Any plan - whether it's a financial, strategic, marketing, career, flight plan, etc. - has a short shelf life. Goals change, opportunities arise, opportunities disappear, threats appear. Nothing happens in a straight, projected, and linear way as we want them to. So rather than putting the value in a completed plan, let's put the value in the planning process. 

3. Robert Kurson - Shadow Divers (book)
I cannot remember - ever - a time that a book has kept me up at night... before I read Shadow Divers. So many people raved about this book I thought the hype had to be overdone. It. was. not. I made the mistake of reading the first two chapters one evening, and literally couldn't fall asleep afterwards because I wanted to read so much more. Although the book tells a true story of two deep-sea scuba divers discovering an old U-boat off the coast of New Jersey, it is written in a way that brings you into a world that is mind boggling. The story telling, the characters, and the history knowledge are something I've never experienced all rolled into one piece. 

I want to hear from you.

What's a goal (or resolution or project or commitment) you recently failed at? What'd you learn about it? What'd you learn about yourself? Reply directly back to this and let me know. 

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