Wisdom//

How to Stick with Your Goals Through Setbacks and Rejection

Don't give up, you've got this.

By 2j architecture/Shutterstock
By 2j architecture/Shutterstock

Are you good at setting big goals and dreams?

Do you start right out of the gate full of passion, confident you’ll reach your goal?

Our big goals and dreams can feel so vivid and real, especially as we embark on the path to bring them to life.

At the beginning of our journey, our resolve to reach our goals has yet to be deflated by setbacks, roadblocks and doubt.

Being an avid goal-setter myself, I relate well to the excitement of putting big dreams in motion. I empathize with how it feels to have your important goals tested repeatedly due to setbacks and rejection.

As a writer, I’ve found the biggest stumbling block is to learn how to weather and grow through self-doubt and rejection.

The golden ticket as a writer, or anyone on the path to reaching big goals, is to separate your ego and worth from your work.

Yet even with all the reminders and lessons in place, there will be those times when we are pushed to our limit. We may reach a point, or several points along our journey when we want to give up.

If our big goal is still relevant and the thought of throwing in the towel brings more anguish than relief – a reset is often what is needed.

These are the tried-and-true strategies I turn to when I’m ready to quit, but quitting isn’t an option I’m willing to entertain.

Return to Your Why

As we get swept up in the doing of reaching our goals, there is the tendency to feel buried in the minutiae of it all. When we feel stretched to our limit, it’s easy to forget why we ever started toward our big goal in the first place. This is when we need to take a step back (along with several deep breaths), and return to the beginning. Reignite your passion by bringing to mind the main reason you put your dream in motion. Why do you want to bring your dream to life? Who will be impacted by reaching your dream? How will you change? What will it feel like to reach your big goal? Stay in this reflective mode as long as it takes to reconnect to the original feeling you had when you created your goal.

Get Re-Centered

Overwhelm and exhaustion are both dream killers. Bringing our dreams to life can feel like running a daily marathon. It’s critical that we pace ourselves and take care of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Being centered will help us move through our obstacles with more ease. When we start to fall apart, or feel fragmented, it’s our cue to re-center. Our methods for getting grounded and centered in our truth look different for everyone. Some ideas to start include: Getting adequate sleep on a consistent basis. Taking regular breaks to get outside for fresh air and fresh perspective. Practicing healthy boundaries so you don’t over-commit your time and energy resources. Connecting to your physical senses through exercise, yoga, meditation, prayer or whatever that looks like to you.

Focus on Your Journey

It’s disheartening to experience setbacks and rejection on the path to reaching our big goals. The bigger the goals, the bigger the obstacles. It’s not always easy to dust ourselves off and get back up, particularly when we’ve been trying for what feels like forever and that lucky break seems to come for everyone else but us. If you find yourself feeling this way, or comparing your journey to others, you aren’t alone. But do whatever you can to stop. When we are measuring our journey against someone else’s, it’s our red flag to take a step back and regroup. My favorite Mark Twain quote I draw on over and over again is, “Comparison is the death of joy.” This will always be true. Stay in your own lane and focus on your journey.   

Remove Illusions Around How It’s Supposed to Be

The path to reaching our big goals is rarely linear. Instead it will zig and zag and require us to re-calibrate our course and stay open to traveling in uncharted territory. When we are in the thick of the doing, it’s easy to lose sight of the excitement and adventure. Many of us want to micro-manage all the steps and “hows” toward reaching our big goals. But when we remove the illusion around how we think it’s supposed to be, and we instead stay open to the mystery and excitement of how it’s actually unfolding, it becomes much easier to stick with our big goals through setbacks and rejection. Being a dreamer and big goal setter makes you an adventurer, so buckle and remember you’re on an adventure!

Start from Where You Are

Instead of quitting the race, simply slow down. I’ve used this mindset shift many times in my years of being a runner. The discomforts of getting through a long run can feel similar to the discomforts of experiencing setbacks along the path to reaching big dreams. Both can feel physically and mentally exhausting. When we are exhausted, it’s easy to ignite our monkey mind, or negative part of our brain that is willing us to give up and quit. Instead of quitting, give yourself a hug, slow down, and start from where you are. Make small steps forward that take into account how you are feeling, and where you are on your journey right now. You’ve got this!

Article written by Emily Madill, originally published on emilymadill.com

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