Anna Maria Locke

what I learned from failing to reach my biggest 2015 goals

January 2016, 2016Anna LockeComment

Well, we're midway through January and I'm sure you've been inundated with all the goal setting and New Years Resolution motivational messages from every news and social media outlet. 

This post is going to be a little different.

Because with all the energy and positivity and excitement of the new year comes a darker side that no one really talks about, so I want to talk about it! What I mean is the fear, self doubt, overwhelm, and anxiety that crops up as we consider making changes or challenging ourselves to do something we've never done before.

When we're working to change our habits or parts of our lives, we bring to the surface all our insecurities and past failures, and usually end up sabotaging ourselves again by February because heck, if we couldn't do it before what's different this time? And then we hold ourselves back in this endless self fulfilling prophecy and remain stuck in old habits.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a personal fan of the New Year's Resolution rush. It’s overwhelming and intimidates me.

Everyone’s jumping at the gate to dive into ambitious new projects and fitness challenges while I’m still recovering from the post-holiday emotional let down, trying to combat seasonal blues and darkness.

January doesn't scream FRESH START! for my energy. It’s more of a “shit, it’s cold, I want to hunker down in hermit mode with my cozy blanket in front of the space heater with Netflix and knitting and hibernate until spring, see ya then” type of vibe. Not super conducive to making grand visions and schemes strong and inspiring enough to carry me through the rest of the year.

I don't feel motivated to start new things in January because I’m still processing everything that happened in the year that just ended, and I’m learning that’s ok. It won’t throw off or ruin my entire year if I give myself some extra time to figure out what I want to do, because January 1st isn't the only opportunity we get for a fresh start. Every single day, every single minute, every single breath you take is an opportunity to start over.

The thing is, a whole year is a super long time. It’s almost impossible to plan that far ahead and decide what you’re going to be doing 6, 8, 11 months from now. It's really scary to trust yourself enough to set a long term goal because who knows what will happen! The great unknown is a big obstacle.

I learned a lot last year about how to follow through with goals and intentions and plans. I learned how important it is to make goals that are connected to our values and how we want to feel, instead of what we want to accomplish for the ego boost of checking things off lists. But then I still let my ego decide on two really big stretch goals for 2015 revolving around the size and status of my business and my income.

Isn’t it funny how we ignore our own wisdom and make the same mistakes over and over, like we forgot how much we learned the last time?

So yeah. I set these goals because they sounded good and made me feel super pumped up and inspired on the inside...but then I didn't follow through for myself. In 2015 I ended up falling super far short of both of my biggest career goals, and for a while in October (when it first sunk in that they weren’t going to happen), I stressed out and dealt with a lot of anxiety because I’m terrified of failure.

Could I still love myself if I didn’t reach XYZ milestone in my business? Could I still feel worthy and successful? Was I still good enough? These are literally the exact questions I scrawled into my journal, feeling like I was being torn apart and probably crying a little bit.

One of my biggest, most paralyzing fears is that I’ll never live up to my own expectations.

Part of that fear comes from the fact that I’m a go-getter and an overachiever and tend to set EXTREMELY high expectations for myself, and then fail to reach them because they’re impossible and I’m a perfectionist (if I don’t think be able to do something perfectly the first time, I won’t even try).

So then I burn myself and create even MORE fear that I’ll never be able to reach my dreams or feel happy to just be myself, because I can’t prove to myself that I can accomplish what I set out to do.

The bright side of all this? I learned a LOT about myself, and forced myself to dig deeper and uncover why exactly I failed to follow through with my two biggest business goals.

Why didn’t I achieve my goals?

  1. They hinged partially on factors that I had absolutely no control over, like the behaviors and actions of others.

  2. I wasn’t ready to do what it would take to reach them.

  3. They aligned more with my ego’s need for outside validation to prove my self worth, instead of coming from my actual values.

  4. I ignored the fact that my energy moves in cycles, I need periods of rest to balance periods of growth.

  5. They relied on me making my business my #1 priority, at the time I was learning I didn’t want to be a workaholic anymore and wanted to relax and enjoy my freaking life for a second.

  6. I feel more safe when I’m striving and working towards a goal, because I can tell myself “I’m just working on it” and protect myself from the vulnerabilities of failure. That mentality prevents me from doing the big things I need to do in order to make ACTUAL progress! Self sabotage at its finest.


What I learned from failing to reach my biggest 2015 goals

  • It’s hard to actually 100% fully commit to a goal because you have to believe you’re good enough and you deserve it! Fully committing to a goal means that you’re potentially setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. The catch-22 is that failure is actually ONLY POSSIBLE if you don’t even try your best. So by living inside the striving without fully giving ourselves permission to go for it...we automatically fail. Soooo you might as well go for it!
  • It’s SO IMPORTANT to focus on gratitude and positivity, and what we can give of ourselves instead of what we can get or do or achieve. I have so much in life to be grateful for...but the better things get, the more we tend to sabotage ourselves and hold ourselves back from just feeling the joy...we make up random stories in our heads to keep ourselves down in the "struggle" when really we were created to be happy. Focus on gratitude, and negative feelings will fade.
  • If you fail to reach a goal, it’s possibly because you weren’t ready to do the work. Setting goals is hard and scary and we have to trust that we’ll be able to grow and stretch and evolve to become the person we need to be to reach them. Sometimes we're just not ready. And that is ok.
  • LIFE GOES ON! And guess what? We're blessed with another year :)

Remember there's really no rush in the grand scheme of life.

So slow down, find joy in the process, and most of all have fun and give yourself lots of patience and celebrate every single milestone, tiny win, speedbump, and obstacle you face. It all just makes you stronger.

When in doubt, write this over and over in your journal until you start to believe it:

I am still successful, still good enough, and still worthy of sharing and receiving love.

I accept myself for where I'm at, and I promise to show up fully for myself every single day.

xo Anna