Failure: In Three Steps (Step Two)

This is the second post in the three-part talk about the top three ways, in my opinion, to fail at achieving your goal. If you haven’t read the first one, you can check it out here. All caught up? Great. Let’s head on to the second step to failure.


Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars.
— Les Brown


The most effective way to achieve any goal is through proper planning. Conversely, improper planning can screw you over even before you begin. And what’s the best way to get planning wrong? Aiming too high, of course. It isn’t much different to ordering food while hungry and going with every, bloody thing on the menu because at the time you think you could eat it all.Plot twist: you can’t.

It is about excitedly setting goals that are either impossible to reach or barely reachable. You go through the rounds and because you always fail to hit your target, you disappoint yourself each day. Slowly you begin to wonder why the hell you are doing any of this at all. Any of this sounds familiar to you?

I remember the motivational statement, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars.”



Let me tell you this, I have never managed to end up among the stars. My butt always remained right here on earth with my face stuffed with ice cream to soothe the disappointments stemming from aiming too high.

There have always been moments when I’ve decided that this is the time for me to finish all the novels on my ‘to write’ list. So I would do something ridiculous like aim to write two thousand words per day until I completed the novel. It is the same with other fields. As a photographer, you may decide that you would have ten shoots per week. Or maybe while trying to lose weight you would aim to get into the gym seven days per week and cut all carbs. But honestly, what happens after a couple of weeks? I can tell you what happens to me. I fail to meet the daily two thousand-word goal and after a while I decide that it was a waste of time. I would imagine our photographer and dieter wouldn’t be much better off.

I repeated the process time and time again before I started to ask myself: “Am I setting myself up for failure?” It was then I decided that maybe I needed to try with smaller, more realistic goals. I set a daily goal of seven hundred and fifty words per day and something kind of amazing happen. I didn’t meet my target. I exceeded it on a daily basis. Some days I wrote a thousand and on other days fifteen hundred. But every time I went over the seven hundred and fifty words; I felt triumphant, excited and really motivated to continue. How are the goals that you have been setting? Are they attainable or are you actually limiting your chances of success. I would suggest when trying to organize goals or a schedule to be brutally honest with yourself about what you can actually achieve. Remember, it is better to do less in a consistent manner than to push yourself to burnout. The older generation used to say “one, one full basket” and I think this is the best advice ever. Aim for consistency! The only way to be consistent is when your goals do not wear you thin or frustrate you. So go ahead, have that brutally honest talk with yourself and set goals that will hold up in the long run.