Cassandra here! Now I know that this is the time of year we have our yearly goals and resolutions, which we have either stuck to or paused (the key word there is paused). When you think about it, we never stop whatever progress we make in our life, because we can always continue our goals later on. You want to go back to the gym after taking a month off, then do it. The voice in your head that’s calling you a failure is wrong. Shut that voice out right now. Saying you “failed” can kill the drive to keep going.
You can hold yourself responsible for not achieving a goal, but it becomes toxic if you use it as a weapon to beat yourself down. My advice is to embrace the times when you have a set back and to learn from it. Try to ask yourself why you stopped. Was it the fact that you believed naysayers? Did you not feel as inspired as you thought you would? Did medical reasons get in the way? Determine if it was wise to stop, and by wise I mean will it benefit in making you a happier and healthier you without putting yourself at too much risk.
I believe we all have our reasons for continuing or discontinuing our endeavours. Trust yourself and tell yourself there was a reason, whether good or bad. Change what you label it. If you label it a “failure”, then everything in life you do not achieve is a failure like: waking up late, forgetting to return a call, or spilled milk. If life was full of failures, then it is a wonder why we even bother getting out of bed in the morning. Failure, by definition, is the lack of success (aka defeat). Our goals are made to boost us up, so it is strange that we use such goals to tear ourselves down when we made them because we wanted to achieve something more. It seems like a cycle of a self-defeating mind-set.
Years ago, during my high school career, I attended college. In the evening, mom would pick me up from the bus then drive me to campus. While there, I was exposed to the classic authors like: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mary Shelly, and Jane Austin for the first time. I knew I wanted to write novels. While I didn’t understand all the literary significance, their worlds and characters captured me and I knew writing was something I wanted to do. In one of my first college classes I wrote research papers based on these books with the idea I could show off my gift in writing with the world. I mean, I had been writing stories from the moment I could hold a pencil. Whether it was through comics or written word, I was always telling stories. Boy was I wrong. Handed back poor grades, I was stunned and tried to fix my writing, but never seemed to grasp it on my own. One day I was called down to a professor’s office to discuss my paper, I was practically told that my writing was awful and that I might want to change majors. This was not what I had planned.
Now, I could have given up and went for a “safe” major like nursing or accounting. I could have decided anything for my future at that time. I left the building in tears, clutching my paper with red marks scarred all over it. It was my work, my voice, and it was not good enough. That was what I told myself. And that thought had almost ended my love for storytelling, a skill I had discovered as a pre-schooler while making characters through plastic dinosaurs. I thought I was just not talented enough to write, so might as well give up.
The inability to leave was my saving grace. The only thing keeping me in those classes was the fact that dropping out might cost my parents a large sum of money since my high school had already paid the tuition. So, I thought, if I fail might as well make it count. Studying college papers online, I taught myself how to construct an academic paper and how to best form an argument. Soon, I discovered that my previous pessimism was because of the initial negative feedback. I identified what was giving me this feeling. It wasn’t because I no longer wanted to write, but because I didn’t get the glorious praise I expected from the first few papers. The problem was that I was just inexperienced. My inexperience resulted in bad grades. So how could I fix it? I gained knowledge and experience on my own, turning the writing boat right around. The next semester, I got handed back C’s, then B’s, and then the most frequent A’s.
The moral of the story is that there will always be set backs. No lofty goal is achieved without many setbacks and nay-sayers. A life seen as being full of defeat will make you unable to see the next step after being told “no”. That is the great thing about goals. You achieve them after working hard, making them worth achieving with pride. If one route doesn’t work, try another. It is not failure. It is not a defeat. Keep studying, working, and growing and you WILL get there.