Why it’s ok to not be perfect, what to do when you miss a goal or habit

One of the things I talk about is knowing what your ideal day might look like. I’m not the only one. Aubrey Marcus discusses this in his book Own The Day. The problem is, I think, that so many of us can get discouraged when the day, week, or month doesn’t turn out as hoped or expected.

Think about it. Have you ever, or known someone whoever…

… Gave up on a diet because they missed too many goals?

… Stopped working out because they missed a week at the gym

… Tried waking up early but stopped because they didn’t do so regularly?  

It doesn’t have to be those things specifically, but as we work to build new habits, we’re going to fail. In my quest to be as efficient as possible, I have less ideal days than I have ideal days. You might as well. It’s ok, nobody has ideal days every day!

In your quest to have an effective, efficient, and successful life, what is important to remember is that you’re making the effort. Things will get in the way. Remember that you can’t control everything, but you can control how you react to everything

So don’t get discouraged. In fact, you should be excited! It’s an opportunity to grow!

Every time you miss a mark, goal, milestone, or even a single daily habit, here’s what you can do to ensure it will happen less often!

1: Understand

Look and understand what your role in missing the mark was. Remember to have an internal locus of control and look at your own place in it first. Was it a loss of willpower? Were you tired? Did you let someone interrupt your goal or objective? Look at why. Sometimes there’s a message. If you overslept, did you not go to bed properly, or is it your body saying that you needed a break from the early wake? Sometimes we NEED to have a break from a good habit. If it wasn’t in your control, then even better, let it go, but make sure you start inside before you look outside.

2: Promise

Recommit to your goal or habit. After you look at what caused you to miss the mark, commit to ensuring that you’ll work to not have that happen again. This doesn’t have to be grandiose. Just say aloud to yourself, “tomorrow I’m going to do what I said I was going to do.”

3: Go Easy

Don’t be hard on yourself. It is easy to want to berate yourself much like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, but that won’t help anyone. Remember that no human is perfect and slip ups are normal.

4: Re-examine your goal

It is always possible that the habit or goal isn’t realistic. At one point I decided I wanted to drop my day down another half hour and start waking up at 4 instead of 4:30 so I could get out of bed at 5. It turned out that I just couldn’t do it. After repeated failures I examined the setup for that goal and realized that based on how my days run, I wouldn’t be able to get to bed 30 minutes earlier and I’d hit the floor of when I could wake up. However, at least I tried and I understood that what was preventing it would require a compromise that ended in a net-negative result (I’d have to stop visiting my student leaders’ organizations’ night meetings, and I wanted to keep showing my investment in them).

5: Remember it’ll happen again

Finally, manage your expectations that it will happen again, but trust that the more you follow this process, the less likely it is to happen. Don’t measure yourself by daily failures, look at long time results and changes. And with that, positive change will be in your future.