When You Fall Off the Wagon with a New Goal


New goal journal


New Year’s Goal

Picture this: It’s the New Year. You sit down to set some goals and feel motivated to reach each one. First week, you rock it. You remember what your goals are and you are doing things to move forward. Second week, still pretty good. Maybe you have some friends working on the same goals too and checking in to see how you are doing, which helps. Third week…all it takes is that one day you get out of your new routine and it’s hard to get re-focused again. Then, you feel annoyed, which is really because of guilt, embarrassment, and frustration, when people ask how your new goals are going, and you end up giving lots of excuses. Deep down you are frustrated at yourself because this is more than likely not the first time you haven’t completed a goal you wanted to. If this sounds all too familiar, let’s talk about how to change this scenario.

Reality Strikes

First of all, it is silly to think that we will start a new goal and be amazing at it immediately. A new goal typically involves a new habit. New habits involve a lot of work and focus to make them part of our normal routine. Acknowledge that your new goal will take time and effort and you will not be perfect at it. This does not give you permission to “fall off the wagon” on purpose. You are giving yourself the grace you need to actually be successful at your goal. You will have slip ups, just like everyone else, but because you already expected this you can refocus yourself after it happens. Try creating goals you can have a weekly, maybe even daily, plan for. Then, when you have a slip up you already have the plan to get yourself back on track. I find that coming up with a plan after I got off track is much harder because I can easily talk myself out of continuing the goal.


What About Streaks?

Let’s touch on “streaks,” when you want to complete a goal every day for a period of time. If you miss a day of your streak, you have two options, and you guessed right, neither of them are stop doing the streak! First option, you can restart the streak, but let’s be real, if you are on day 45 and trying to get to day 60 starting over is going to more than likely kill your drive. If you are on day 5 of a 30 day streak then definitely just restart it. Second option, skip that day in your counting and pick up the count on the next day. Back to the first example above, if you are on day 45 and miss day 46, continue the streak the next day and that is now day 46. It’s our nature to get upset at ourselves when we “fail” at something, but remember that grace we are giving ourselves now with our goals. You missed a day of your streak which just means you’ll add a day at the end. Move on. Focusing on the missed day distracts you from the end goal.

The Real Goal

At the end of the day, we create goals to become stronger, healthier, smarter, and overall a better version of ourselves. We do not create a goal to beat ourselves up, remind ourselves of past failures, or to feel less capable. So, expect that you will have slip ups and conquer them with a plan. Show yourself grace when slip-ups happen and push forward to the next day. Remember your ultimate goal is a better you, not feeling worse about yourself. No need to feel embarrassed or give excuses. Just get back up and rock it!

Originally written for: Über Moms

Photo credit: Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

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