Working Hard, Even When Your Goals Fall Short

Written by: Alicia Yuhas, CFW Health Fitness Program Manager


Setting goals is critical to accomplishing more in life. Goals are the steps we take to turn our dreams into reality. The end of the year is a great time to evaluate your goals. If you follow the SMART goal setting strategy, your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. To have the best chance of reaching a goal, it is important to make sure each of the five elements have been considered. It’s exciting to reach big goals and we feel a sense of accomplishment. But how can you stay motivated if you fall short of your goal?

First, determine if the original goal is still relevant. Perhaps the original goal is no longer important to you, or circumstances have made it necessary to change direction. As we have new experiences and growth, our goals will change. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, goals “need to be consistently pruned and trimmed down. It’s natural for new goals to come into our lives and to get excited about new opportunities.” Don’t be afraid to let go of goals that no longer serve your life, which will allow you to work hard on relevant goals.

Second, be sure that your goal is not too big. If you want to run a marathon, you must first run one mile, then 2, then 3, and so on, until you are able to run 26.2 miles. Another strategy is to create multiple goals within a goal. For example, I often break race goals into categories. An “A” goal would be pie in the sky – everything goes right, and I set a personal record. A “C” goal is to cross the finish line upright and smiling, and a “B” goal is somewhere in between. If something doesn’t go well during a race, it’s easier to continue knowing that I am still working toward my “B” or “C” goal, rather than give up because the “A” goal isn’t in the cards.

Finally, remember to enjoy the journey toward your goal! When I set a personal goal to run a marathon, it was important to celebrate running a 10K (6.2 miles), rather than focusing on the 20 additional miles to complete a marathon. Celebrating each milestone will help keep you on track. If your goals fall a bit short, you will still make forward progress. As Norman Vincent Peale, motivational author of The Power of Positive Thinking, said: “Shoot for the moon. If you miss it, you will still land among the stars”.

This month, our content writers share expert tips for finishing 2021 strong and reaching goals.

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