I love the start of a new year because it provides an opportunity to reflect and reset. Every year I write down what my goals are and the specific steps I am going to take to achieve them. This is a good practice; for the most part, it’s been successful for me. I encourage others to write down their goals as well. There’s something about putting it down in writing that is very powerful. It also helps to clarify what you want (and don’t want) so that you know what to focus on. Then, in order to get the most out of the process of goal setting, it’s important to review the goals periodically and assess if you are still on course (or not).
I also keep a bullet journal, which I write in daily. I’ve made a habit of reviewing my daily goals and writing down tomorrow’s goals before going to bed. They can be simple ones like “clean the bathroom” or they can be more complex, like “create a career plan and share with my manager”. I struggled earlier in the year because my life is pretty satisfying and I wasn’t sure what my next big goals were going to be. That’s when I stumbled upon the FIRE movement. It galvanized my efforts and gave me something concrete to shoot for–something I really believe in and can break down into smaller pieces to gauge progress. Since then, I’ve been excited about adding to my real estate portfolio, cutting frivolous expenses, tracking spending and researching where Mr. B and I will move to once we hit our financial goals. All good.
What part does “embracing failure” have to do with all this?
I’m a thinker, a planner, a doer, and a perfectionist at heart. In August, I had a career setback that put me in a tailspin for several months. I blamed myself for everything, wasted valuable time wallowing in despair, and ended up in counseling for a short time. I saw how destructive perfectionism can be, and how it paralyzed me from being my best self and taking action for a better future. Learning how to accept the highs and lows, to take responsibility when appropriate, and hold others accountable for their part are all things I’m working on. This is an ongoing pursuit, not something that will end with a declaration of “Yay! I’m done!”.
For 2019, my challenge is to learn to live comfortably with “good enough”. Embracing failure is an opportunity to learn a new skill, improve an established skill, and celebrate the journey of becoming. It definitely doesn’t mean letting up on my goals to become financially independent so that I can retire in five years; it simply means that I can learn to live with the uncertainty, discomfort and messiness of imperfection while I’m trying to get there.