What do you want to fail at this year?
Rather than setting a New Year’s resolution I encourage you to choose a 2019 Impossible Goal for yourself
A goal that is so impossible that in trying to reach it you will have the opportunity to fail many, many times. The more failures you can rack up in trying to achieve your impossible goal the better.
One of the first things that happen when we set any goal is that the brain seizes up and tells us why it’s a bad idea and won’t happen. We focus on all that chatter associated with indecision and self-doubt.
But, if we tell our brain that our goal is impossible from the outset, we can get on with preparing for all the steps we will take towards it, and all the associated failures that we can achieve along the way.
We sometimes avoid setting goals because we don’t want to be uncomfortable and ultimately disappointed, because we know we won’t follow through. When you start the goal with a different language, your brain really loses its “scaling back to comfort” effectiveness. You already know that the goal is “impossible.” You already know that you will fail. So now what? What does your brain argue with now?
Your brain might say, “If you know you are going to fail, why in the world would you do it?” Because the alternative is also failing. It is just failing ahead of time. When we fail ahead of time we are losing out on the learning. We have no idea what your lost opportunity could have been. We set a goal and then defeat ourselves before we even give it a solid effort. We think this type of failure is better because “nothing lost.” So even though we consider that if we don’t try, we can’t fail, I think it’s a lie.
Failing ahead of time is failure, but you learn nothing and stall your evolution and growth. If you think about it, failing repeatedly is how we accomplish most great things. But in this process, that is not even why we are doing it. We aren’t just willing to fail so we can win eventually. I’m encouraging you to fail for the sake of learning how to fail and learning from failure. You never know where your failures might lead you.
Worthy failures are going to be fails not because of the action you don’t take, but rather because of the action you do take and not getting the exact result you want.
Imagine you choose the impossible goal of losing 100 lbs in 2019. The strategies that you focus on to reach your goal may include:
- Tuning into your bodies hunger signals and learning to recognise physical vs. emotional hunger
- Learning what to do when you want to eat because you are unhappy, bored or deserve a treat
- Understanding why you sometimes self-sabotage what you truly want by over eating
- Cutting back on sugar and refined foods
- Drinking plenty of water
- Getting the right amount of sleep
- Putting strategies in place to manage your stress
- Taking regular exercise
- Establishing processes in place to quickly plan and prepare meals
- Developing strategies for managing social occasions and eating out at restaurants
- Feeling confident that you can enjoy treats and special occasion foods without it meaning that you’ve ‘messed up’
- Working with a coach who will support you and help you learn and fail and put strategies in place for moving forward and overcoming obstacles
As you start to put these strategies in place you will learn by trial and error. The more you try, the more you will fail, the better you will learn, the more progress you will make. You discover what foods are right for your body and you discover many practical tips for managing family meals, dealing with social occasions etc. You are all in but repeatedly fail at regularly losing 8.3 lbs per month necessary to make the 100 lb loss in 12-months. Maybe you 4 lbs some months and 7 lbs others. You might find that in 2019 you lose 50 lbs or 75 lbs and totally fail.
But, you will have learned so much in the process. Imagine, if you hadn’t set that impossible goal. Imagine if you hadn’t set out to learn and fail at so many strategies that can help you stop over eating forever. You may still be over eating, you may in fact have gained weight. You may still be struggling to manage your hunger because your body is struggling with the blood sugar roller coaster, or you may still be eating when you are bored, unhappy, frustrated or feeling that you deserve a treat.
Why failing is important
We are taught to never fail. ‘F’s are BAD when we are growing up.’ ‘Do it right or don’t do it at all.’ But this pattern of life is very limiting. It steers us away from beginning things and being new. If you limit yourself to what you already do well, your world becomes small. When you open yourself up to doing the impossible and failing regularly, your life becomes so much bigger.
Writing, surfing, speaking, coaching, making a million dollars, and running a marathon can all be included in your life when you are willing to fail at the practice. When you surf, and you are failing at surfing, you are surfing! You might be failing at staying on a wave for longer than 30 seconds, but you are still surfing. If you are willing to surf (and fail at staying on the wave) for an entire year, you might end up staying on it longer, but regardless, you will be in much better shape and understand the sea so much better at the end of it.
It is the same if you set an impossible weight loss or health goal. If you are willing to stick at it for an entire year, repeatedly learning and failing and learning and failing, imagine what you could achieve.