Are you really falling short or are you too hard on yourself?

Whether it’s your career, your role at home, or even your fitness goals, how often have you felt like you’re not doing enough? This appears to be a common feeling for ambitious people. At least, that’s what I’m seeing based on requests for content.  

The reality is, sometimes we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. We do not give ourselves grace like we might for others.

To help manage unrealistic expectations, it is helpful to reflect on your accomplishments. Is there a way you can measure progress toward your goals at work? At home? In the gym? Elsewhere? 

With the new year around the corner, a time of year when people tend to set new goals for themselves, one statistic to keep in mind is:

“of the 20 percent of the population that does set goals, roughly 70 percent fail to achieve the goals they have set for themselves” (Reliable Plant)

In order to reach the goals set in the new year, people must keep in mind their bandwidth and what is manageable. The goals must be measurable and broken down into clear action items. 

Part of the reason you may feel like you’re falling short is that you aren’t able to measure your ongoing wins.

Let’s take health and fitness as an example. In this Harvard Business Review post by James R. Bailey and Kelley Vargo, the authors focus on exercise guilt when people are unable to work out or meet high fitness standards. The authors also address how cumulative movement throughout the day still contributes toward overall health and fitness goals.

In one section, the authors question exercise to factor in towards aerobic minute goals, “One-hundred and fifty versus 300 minutes of activity is a pretty broad range. Which is it? Can that total be met by doing more intense activity for a shorter amount of time or should it be prolonged? What’s the difference between moderate and intense aerobic activity? Does it vary across people?”

As you can see, when a goal is as broad and unclear as “participating in 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week,” the likelihood of failure is higher. This applies to any goal that is set.

If you can set specific, measurable, actionable goals, you will be able to measure your progress and check in with yourself. You will be able to see your progress.

It’s like rock climbing. You can see the progress you make with each small step. At first, the progress is not clear. Over time though, the progress is obvious.

Chances are, if you feel you’re falling short in multiple areas of your life, you are being harsh on yourself. You may be spread thin, but that is life. There is constantly a lot going on (especially in New York City). 

You don’t need to torture yourself to reach your goals. 

Enjoy the journey to your goals and learn along the way. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

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