What Happens When You Don’t Achieve a Goal?

January 28, 2019

As humans we tend to constantly beat ourselves down when we don’t achieve what we set out to do and when setting out a goal, we never ask “What happens when you don’t achieve a goal?” We tend to not think of the alternative because it’s better to live in the moment and think that with hard work and determination, anything can be possible…right? And to a certain extent, I totally believe that. With enough grit, determination and hard work, things do work out. But a crucial factor that I’ve been trying to grasp in my own life is that timing is everything. 

I am always creating goals and have consistently accomplished them (definitely not trying to brag). College – check, get not one but two degrees – check, get a first job – check and so on. Once one is done, the next is already formulating in my mind. It’s a never ending cycle that fuels me. And recently, I’ve come to a roadblock of not being able to meet some goals. Ones that I have worked my whole life towards, and it somehow didn’t work out. I will get more into that when the time is right. Right now I want to share with all of you what I have learned from this. My personal realization and answer to “What happens when you don’t achieve a goal?”  

For me, it stops me from being able to do anything for a  while – I let it consume all of me and paralyze me to the point where I am unable to momentarily see the positives in life. It’s as if the failure of a few goals sucked all the life out of me. How do you set a new goal when you can’t even accomplish your current one? I know I know – I am usually trying to spread positivity to you guys, but with this one, I have to be honest. I really did not feel like myself at all. People left and right telling me that it will eventually work out. And all I could think of was how are the rest of my goals and more seriously, the rest of my life, going to play out?

After some time has passed, it is still hard to realize that hard work is not the only thing that can make a goal happen. Re-thinking the question of “what happens when you don’t achieve a goal” has me thinking how time-centric we all have become. Every goal has a timeline attached with no spontaneity. I stopped working hard for ME, I stopped questioning the PURPOSE of my goal. Instead, I focused on the time aspect of all things. My life was in motion but everything was a blur – I became focused on one thing and forgot all the rest. Looking back at that couple of months, I felt as if I lived in a constant state while the rest of the world was speeding past.

Growing up, I had my entire life planned out. I was going to achieve so and so at this age, this and that at blank age and so forth. I just thought that’s how life worked. If you don’t have a timeline for your plan, how do you know how to work towards it? Granted, I am still this way at times. And through all of my failures, I learned that timing is crucial. When my parents use to tell me certain things happen in our lives at specific times for a reason, I totally just brushed them off. But with all the coincidences coming together, it’s a hard truth I can’t reject. Things do happen at certain times for a reason and some things just aren’t meant to be at that time. It doesn’t necessary mean I didn’t work hard enough…just that the opportunity wasn’t completely right. The universe will eventually align itself to make your preparation meet the perfect opportunity.

I am still learning what failing means and what it can teach me. Succeeding at goals doesn’t just take hard work and dedication, but also timing and a lil’ bit of luck for the right opportunity to come around. Like my parents said, “Not everything in life is smooth-sailing. You are young and you have your whole life ahead of you, don’t let one setback determine your worth. There is always time to try again.”. A failure is another chance at an opportunity, another chance to come back stronger than before and be even more qualified. It’s so important to not let our failures knock us on our butts so hard we can’t get back up.

So through all this rambling on this subject matter, one main message I want you to take away is: focus on the lil’ wins in your life. They MATTER. The negativity aspects of your life will consume you if you let it. One thing wrong in your life doesn’t mean everything else has to go wrong. Mindset is everything when it comes to success. It’s hard to focus on this in the moment, believe me I’ve been there, but it’s nonetheless an important mindset to strive for. I thought the rest of my life was going to unravel before my eyes with each failure I’ve faced. But each one has managed to strengthen my grit and determination. Being in the present more and experiencing genuine happiness with where I am in life is a state of mind I am constantly trying to achieve right now.

A million and one thanks for reading — until my next lil’ thought then!

xx jen

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  • Reply SundayDahlias January 28, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    It’s easy to fall in a rut if you focus too much on unachieved goals😓 You’re spot on about focusing on the little things. They may be little but that doesn’t mean they’re not important!

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen February 7, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      yes yes yes I totally agree with you – so perfectly said!
      xx jen

  • Reply Radi January 29, 2019 at 2:39 am

    I feel like when we don’t achieve something that’s when we learn the most lessons. Every situation teaches us so much!

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen February 7, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      I agree with you 100 and 10% Radi!
      xx jen

  • Reply Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's January 31, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    My approach is that what’s done is done and the only thing to focus on is what we can do next instead of being hard on ourselves over something not turning out the way we planned it. It was a learning curve and took me awhile to accept, and at times it’s stillll hard for me to accept, but I’m working on it! Thanks for this wonderful reminder 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen February 7, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      I love how you put this!! So beautifully said!
      xx jen

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