Why I failed to keep my goals

Cheers!

I raised my pint and smiled, feeling slightly guilty.

How long did it last this time? Five days?

I nodded, sipped my beer and looked at my friends amused. We had all decided to do the dry January after spending the New Years day on the couch, eating pizza and feeling terrible. Yet here we were again.

But hey, it’s just one beer. We’ll continue tomorrow.

We never did.

Changing your life is just one decision a way

Looking back the past ten years, it’s been a turbulent decade filled with laughter and tears. Love and heartbreak. New friends and goodbyes. Bitter failures and achievements that I never even imagined possible.

I even jumped out of a plane.

What all of them have in common is that I made a decision and took action that changed everything, whether it was to respond to a text, accept a job interview or take the risk to put myself out there.

Yet not all of my decisions led to success. Mainly because I didn’t follow them through.

Top 4 reasons why I failed to keep my goals:

I speak a lot about motivation, but I’m no saint. I do struggle as well when life throws obstacles on the way.

I’ve had my share of people not believing in me, including myself.

I decided to share with you the main reasons that set me off track. I truly hope they’ll help you!

1.Setting up a goal, but not taking it seriously

When I decided to do the dry January with my friends, I didn’t take it seriously. I was actually curious to see how many days it’d take until we’d break it this time.

It was all good intentions, but none of us actually believed we’d succeed. In fact, we didn’t really want to succeed.

Have a look at your goals:

  • are you seriously going to do it?
  • Is that really what you want to spend your energy on?

If not, take it out. Don’t waste your time.

2.Setting up a goal, because someone else pressured me to do it

Often other people, especially our family members, want us to change a bad habit, be it over-eating, smoking or working late. While they mean well, the only way you can stick to your goals is to do it for YOURSELF.

I remember when I was told to settle down, that I was getting old. That even if things weren’t going great in the couple, I shouldn’t throw it away “because maybe I couldn’t find anyone else” – so I set myself a goal to move in together.

I was miserable.

Six months later I had to make one of the hardest decisions in my life, break my resolution and let it go. It hurt, but…

a huge weight came off my shoulders.

Have a look at your goals:

  • which ones you feel like you SHOULD do, because other people pressure you to do it e.g. having a real job, getting married, having kids?
  • Is that really what YOU want from life?

3.Setting up a goal, but not having an accountability partner

I like to say I’m strong and need no one, but what comes to goals this attitude led me to many failures. Having someone who encourages you and keeps you on track is essential, whether it’s a friend or a coach.

Once I started having friendly competitions and challenges, it became easier to stick to the goals. We were in it together.

Have a look at your goals:

  • Do you have anyone on your circle who’d be willing to do the challenge with you?
  • Are there any online or offline groups that have the same goal you do e.g. losing weight, launching business, writing a book…?
  • Which rewards you could set up regularly to keep you both motivated, e.g. one hitting the goal first gets a bottle of champagne or free massage?

4.Setting up a goal, but not fully committing to it

End of 2018 I launched my failure challenge, because I was tired of seeing only sugar-coated posts on my news feed. I was concerned how it was affecting our mental health, because we can’t help comparing other people’s life with ours. Yet what people post on social media, including LinkedIn, is just a snapshot. That’s not real life. People never post about their marriage problems, depression or feeling like an impostor.

I wanted to show you that we all struggle, that it’s ok to fail as long as you learn from it.

I announced that I’d be posting blogs and videos every week, telling a story from my personal and professional life. I made sure to tell it EVERYWHERE to ANYONE who wanted to listen.

Did I post a blog and a video every single week? No.

I could tell you that life got on the way. That I was struggling physically and mentally. That I was overly ambitious. That I was busy.

But that’d be BS.

On the other hand …

In the beginning of the same year I decided to become an International speaker. Despite being absolutely terrified of public speaking few years before, I had been working on my confidence on stage by doing internal presentations, exercises and participating in panel discussions.

But I knew taking it to the next level would change my life.

Two months later I was speaking in the Women in Strategy conference in Times Square, New York.

Now I’ve spoken on stages across three continents in 15 different countries. I’ve had an honour to be a keynote speaker, judge and chairwoman across the world and I’m loving every second of it.

What’s the difference between the two?

I got really excited about my failure challenge, but did I ever really commit to do it like I did with speaking? No.

 There’s a huge difference between wishing for something and being fully committed to make it happen.  

Some say I’m doing speaking for personal branding and because I want to shine. Can’t say it hasn’t helped, but the REAL reason why I’m doing it is for personal growth and helping people to become the best version of themselves. I give them ideas and hope.

I can’t explain how happy it makes me when people come up to me afterwards to tell me how inspired they feel to make a change and how I touched their hearts. It’s priceless.

Failure challenge was an idea that I was excited about. But for speaking I wrote down a very, very strong reason why I’m doing it.

Have a look at your goals:

  • Be honest: Did you write “I’d like toinstead of  “I will”? If you did, change it. It’s a much stronger commitment.
  • After your goal, write the real reason why you’re doing it e.g. I will find my real purpose in life, because…

Ah and by the way: just because you failed to do something last year, doesn’t mean you can’t do it again this year with more commitment.

Oh yes, the failure challenge is back ; )

Who are you going to be this year?

Maybe I’m crazy, but for the first time ever in 19 years I made a decision to skip the New Years eve party and spend it at home, reflecting on the past decade and my goals for 2020 so I could wake up ready to conquer the new decade as the best version of myself.

Maybe if I went out, I would have met the love of my life. Maybe not.

But life is all about decisions. This one felt right.

What is that one decision that you’re going to make this year? Who are you going to be? There’s no limitations in life if you truly decide to put your heart and soul in it.

Wishing you all the success for 2020.

Never forget you’re amazing x

Pauliina

Ps. if this was useful in anyway, please do like, share or comment. I’d really appreciate it : )

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for the article

    “Maybe if I went out, I would have met the love of my life. Maybe not.”

    And maybe, you are yourself is the love of your life,

    Din

  2. Hi, Pauliina, Happy New Year! You motivated me! Thank you. I had the feeling to translate this article into Chinese when I have time.
    Xiangxin (Karin) from Beijing

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