12 Jan Making Peace with Failures and Uncertainty for a More Growth-Filled 2021
By embracing what past failures teach you, identifying the behaviors that led to those
failures, and planning to adapt
For many, 2020 was decidedly not a great year. More likely than not, we all saw at least one of our goals fail despite our best efforts. However, failure isn’t necessarily a waste, and if we can gather the courage to reflect on our failures, we can learn from them, identify the behaviors and habits that led to that outcome, and change our approach. After a 2020 full of disruption, we could also benefit from being more adaptable in our planning approach. Our 2020-induced failures can be a powerful catalyst for growth in 2021.
First, be comfortable with your failures. It’s definitely easier said than done, as facing our failures brings about a lot of embarrassment. Most of us would rather forget and move on. However, we shouldn’t be so eager to forget our failures in order to not repeat them.
It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to face your failures and move on from them. To do so, according to Julia Pugachevsky on Forge, it’s important to regard failure as an event, not an identity, to not make your failures so linked to your self-worth.
Habit to let go of: referring to yourself as [x] i.e. ‘I’m a failure’
Habit to change into: this thing is [x], ‘I failed the interview’
Once you’ve gotten the hang of this mindset, it’ll be much easier to look through your past failures in order to learn from them.
Second, identify which behaviors led to the outcomes. A factor that can lead to your goals failing is bad habits that inhibit the achievement of the goal. And habits are behaviors that persist because they’ve become so automatic to your situation. Why must we identify these behaviors? It’s because of how behaviors are linked to habits, both good or bad. When you cut out behaviors that lead to bad habits, you can begin to cut out these bad habits as well. If your goal is to be a better and more present friend, you might identify your constant need to check social media as one of the habits inhibiting that goal, and specifically your need to check Twitter while eating as a behavior your need to eliminate. To make it easier to form better habits, tie the new, positive behavior to a reward. Say every time you get through lunch with a friend without checking social media, reward yourself with a little treat. Though make sure that treating yourself doesn’t become your new bad habit!
Third, since 2020 has pretty much proven that the future is resistant to the plans we made for it, make your plans more adaptable. A way to do so is by having smaller, shorter milestones. Your plans before the pandemic might’ve looked like a list consisting of points A – B, in which A is your current position or starting point, and B is your end goal. A zero to 100 real quick. However, 2020 has proven that anything can happen, any time, so it’s best to put a lot of checkpoints and milestones that serve as a place for you to assess your progress and see whether, given recent developments and circumstances, whether the original goal is still feasible.
Last but not least, practice self-forgiveness. Rigidly following plans from the start without adjustments further down the road can lead to the goal failing. Practicing self-forgiveness gives you a mindset that better allows you to achieve what you can given the circumstances. With this, we hope you can have a more productive 2021! Happy New Year.