What To Do When You Don’t Accomplish Your Goal

In August I started the #100Somethings challenge. The point of the challenge was to do something 100 times before the end of the year. Some 350 people took on the challenge.

Missy Mangelsen walked her dog 100 times. Christa Jimenez walked 10,000 steps 100 times (that’s 1 million steps!). Who else completed theirs?

I committed to writing 100 blog posts by 2017.

Today is January 2, 2017, and I have written a total of 34 blog posts. This one will be 35.

I officially didn’t accomplish my goal. Not even halfway.

Now what?

I had to think about this for a while.

On one end of the spectrum, there’s this perspective:

“Don’t stop until you get there. You committed, now follow through. Finish what you started. No excuses. This is where the real learning happens— after you’ve had a few small wins and now you’re starting to get complacent or distracted. Get back on that horse and ride it until you’re home.” 

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s this perspective:

“Who cares about the details, you got more than what you hoped to get out of the challenge in the first place. Your intention was to come into 2017 anew; with unexpected momentum in an inspiring direction— and look! You’re officially a professional writer. You just finished your first paid writing project— and wrote your first ebook. The challenge served its purpose. Now set a new goal and move on.” 

Both of these perspectives resonate with me. What’s truer? What inspires me?

This is how my friend Jerrik advised me to handle situations like these: imagine fully committing to each option, one at a time. As you consider the first option, assume it turned out wonderfully. Assume it was the “right” choice. Then do the same thing for the other option.

Neutralizing your options like this—by imagining each separately as if it was the best choice you could have made—lets you compare fairly, without the distraction of negative associations. In other words, you’re comparing two things for how good they could be—instead of weighing pros and cons against each other.

So that’s what I did. And surprisingly, the “finish what you started” route felt better.

And not because I’m a stickler about finishing what you start—I’m not. I believe in shifting directions and course-correcting as you learn more and gather more information.

But I also want a powerful relationship with my word. I want to be able to say I’m going to do something, and know with confidence that it will get done. I want to have the people around me relating to me as someone ridiculously reliable and honest—someone who can say “party at my place” and everyone who’s been invited knows it’s about to pop off.

And I think the best way to do that is by treating my relationship with my word like a muscle: Practicing it. Growing it. Paying attention to it.

And if it becomes relevant to edit my goal or course-correct, I will.

So I’m still going to publish 100 essays. My priority isn’t quantity anymore though. It’s producing great stuff that will make a difference for people.

Here’s my revised commitment: 65 more essays to complete the #100Somethings challenge by the end of this year, 2017.

I’d love to hear what other folks have been dealing with, internally, as they completed (or didn’t complete) their #100Somethings challenge. How far did you make it? What kind of inner monologue did you have going? What shifted as a result of taking it on in the first place? When should we start next year’s challenge?! 😉

Photo by my lovely sister, Jamie.


2 thoughts on “What To Do When You Don’t Accomplish Your Goal

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