6 Things to Do When You Fail at Your Goals

6 things to do when you fail your goals

Please welcome my friend (and fellow TV-lover!) Amy Bennett as she shares some encouragement and real-life tips with us for dealing with unmet goals. Thanks for guest posting, Amy!

We’re halfway through January already! And if you’re like me, your goals are already starting to slip through your fingers—and that’s putting it nicely.  When we fail at meeting our goals, it’s really easy to slip into believing we’re failures at everything and give it all up.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here are 6 things we can do when we fail at our goals:

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Before you look at your losses, celebrate your wins.  Maybe you haven’t exercised, but have you made your bed every day?  Celebrate!  Even if you haven’t met your goal 100%, celebrate what you DID accomplish. Write it out.  I made my bed for 14 days.  I flossed for 14 days.  Woohoo!  Celebrate!

Admit Your Failures

Cue the sad music—admit where you failed.  As they say, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.  Sit back down with your goals and highlight the lagging goals.  Don’t beat yourself up when you do this—it’s been two weeks and I have yet to crack open one of the devotionals I committed to doing this year.

Evaluate the Failure

Once you know where you’ve failed, ask yourself a few questions:

Is this goal specific and measurable enough?  Maybe you are feeling like you failed because your goal is too broad. A goal of “eating healthy” isn’t going to make anyone feel like a winner.  Something like “only use 1 teaspoon of sugar in my coffee instead of a tablespoon” is much more doable—and measurable (literally)–than “eating healthy.”

Is this goal too aggressive?  Maybe you made a goal that was 10 steps too hard. If you haven’t been working out and your goal was to exercise 1 hour, 7 days a week, maybe it’s just too big of a leap.

Is this goal still really important to me?  Maybe you’re like me and you get a little too goal-happy.  See if the goal is still something that is important to accomplish.

What is stopping me from making this goal?  Time? Laziness? Ignorance? Really think about what’s stopping you.

Adjust the goal

If you’re not meeting your goal, make adjustments.

If your goal was not specific enough or too aggressive, start smaller.  Maybe you made a goal to exercise five times a week.  Instead, make it a goal to exercise once a week.  If you find you are able to meet it for a month, adjust it to be two days a week.  Think small.

If the goal is not still important to you, just strike it out. No one is going to be upset if you decide making your bed every day just isn’t as important as you thought.

If time is an issue and you still want to meet that goal, you’re going to have to give something up to make it happen.  Find something in your schedule that can be given up—come on, I know that hour of Netflix on Thursday night can wait—and then schedule your goal in place of it.  If you schedule it, it’s much more likely to happen.

If you haven’t met a goal yet because you don’t know how to complete it, get educated!  Find someone you know that is already doing what you want to do and get some help.  People love to share their knowledge about a subject, given the chance.  I may always put off canning because I don’t know how.  Maybe this is the year I invite someone over to do it with me the first time.  Also, the Internet is jam-packed with tutorials. Commit to learn about the goal first if it’s stopping you from actually doing the goal.

If you find you’re just plain ignoring the goal, perhaps it’s time to find an accountability partner.  Find someone you know who will ask if you’ve done it. Give them a date and permission to ask you about it. It’s amazing how motivated we get when we know someone else is involved!

Start Again

The beginning of the year is a fun time to make new resolutions, but there is nothing wrong with treating tomorrow like New Year’s Day.  There’s no rule anywhere that says we can’t begin again tomorrow. It’s much better to achieve your goals by 25% than not at all. Don’t give up!  Progress is progress, even if it isn’t exactly like you hoped.

Give Yourself Grace

We all have bad days, lazy days, busy days.  Some days it just isn’t going to be perfect.  As Mary says, give up the illusion it will be. Goals are goals, not laws.  Give yourself grace not to meet them perfectly.

While I find it extremely important to make goals, I also find it extremely important to be able to handle it when it doesn’t go the way you want.  I hope these tips have helped you get back on track.

What goals are you struggling with so far?

Amy Bennett is wife to her police officer husband, Scott and mommy to two beautiful girls, Emma and Lexi. They reside in South Carolina, in a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina with their two dogs Tucker and Bella and a picket fence to hold them all in. Amy spends her day writing code for a bank and her evenings writing blog posts at AmyJBennett.com.

2 Comments 6 Things to Do When You Fail at Your Goals

  1. Kay Wilson January 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    One thing I have learned about setting a goal is to make a plan of action, without a plan of action, there is no map for my DMO to ensure my goal is reached. Hope it helps for others reading your post, thanks for sharing.

  2. Robin January 20, 2014 at 8:49 am


    This makes me think of the Les Brown quote, ““Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

    Setting goals is good in and of itself, right? Because at least there’s forward motion. Your post in some ways says that but much better :).

Comments are closed.