Should You Always Follow Through on Goals?

Herd of sheep blocking road

Over on the JibberJobber blog, Jason Alba talks about a goal that he had set to walk 500 miles in 2010. But he had some setbacks that affected his progress toward that goal, and he ultimately fell short.

Is that really a failure?

If you just look just strictly at the fact that he made a goal and then didn’t accomplish it, that could be considered a failure. But how realistic is that? To consider the achievement of a goal (or lack thereof) a success or failure, you need to take into account the circumstances of a situation.

In Jason’s case, at the beginning of 2010 he was coming back from a serious calf injury he sustained in 2009. Partway through 2010, he started feeling some discomfort in the leg he had injured previously. A few months later, he twisted his ankle.

Can you blame him for easing up on his schedule in light of what happened? I sure don’t. And I certainly wouldn’t consider his missing the mark a failure.

How often do we judge ourselves without looking at events that can impact the outcome? We may set goals, but even with best-laid plans, life has a way of happening and makes the road to their achievement difficult. In those times, we need to make a Plan B.

Does that mean that you gave up on your goal? No, it’s simply an adjustment, a correction that needs to be made due to new factors entering the scenario. Really, when you set a goal for yourself, you are making that decision based on incomplete information. As the days/weeks/months pass, you experience life and see how the unexpected will take it toll on the smooth, straight path you had charted.

When it comes down to it, not all goals were meant to be fulfilled. Sometimes they serve as an inspiration to get us moving, and then as we get to work, the true direction we are to take is revealed.

Have you ever set a goal, but ended up falling short or going down a different road? How did that work out in the long run?

Image courtesy of Brian Forbes

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