I’ve always loved goal setting. Even from a young age, I was the person who sat down each year to write my new year’s resolutions. And while I may not set new year’s resolutions anymore, I always have financial goals that I’m working toward.
But I’ll be honest – I didn’t always set the new year’s resolutions I set when I was younger, and I definitely haven’t set every financial goal I’ve set for myself as an adult.
Obviously, it’s disappointing when you don’t reach a goal you set for yourself. But that also doesn’t have to be the end of the road. Here are a few things you can do when you don’t reach your financial goals.
What to Do When You Don’t Reach Your Financial Goals
Take a step back
I tend to push myself way too hard sometimes, and can definitely be hard on myself if things don’t go as planned. Because of that, my instinct when I don’t reach a goal is to double down and work even harder towards it. This is especially true when it comes to financial goals in my business, such as signing new clients or accomplishing a certain income goal.
But when I do that, I tend to get burned out pretty quickly. So instead, I force myself to take a step back and do some resting and reevaluating before I hit the ground running again.
This gives me a chance to take a break and give myself a breather so I don’t overdo it. It also gives me a chance to reevaluate to figure out what I can do differently, and whether or not that goal is still important to me.
Take a look at what went wrong
If you fell short of your goal, chances are there are some things you could or should have done differently. Now is the time to be brutally honest about them so you don’t make those same mistakes again.
I’ll be honest and say that sometimes when I don’t reach a goal, it’s just because I flat out stopped trying. Other times, however, there was simply a flaw in the plan and things got a bit derailed because of it.
But looking at what went wrong can help direct your next steps. If I was going after a goal that I simply stopped taking steps to reach, there’s a good chance it’s no longer really important to me.
And for goals that are still important to me, looking at what went wrong can help me to change my strategy.
Suppose my financial goal was to reach a certain amount of income in a month. If I don’t reach that goal, I can look back at the month before and consider what I could have done differently. Did I pitch enough prospective clients? Did I write enough each day to reach my goal?
I can use all of that useful information to help me move forward.
Try again (or don’t)
Now it’s time to decide whether or not you want to continue to tackle that goal. Maybe there was a great new job opportunity available that you thought would be perfect for you. You gave it a shot, but it didn’t pan out. It sucks that you didn’t get it the first time around, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go for it (or a similar job) again!
Every time I’m working toward a business goal and fall short, I take some time to think about whether that goal is really important to me. If so, then I give it another shot. If not, then I forget about it and move on to the next project.
Don’t be afraid to abandon a goal if you decide it really isn’t important to you, but also don’t shy away from trying again if you don’t reach it the first time!
Here’s some honest truth for you: I pitched hundreds of websites on my journey to becoming a full-time freelance writer. Yes, hundreds. And guess what – most of them never responded. There were plenty of times I wanted to quit, but where I am with my business today is proof that I made the right choice by not quitting.
Reignite your passion
Failing sucks, there’s no doubt about it. And even if you failed at a goal that’s still super important to you and you want to go after it again, chances are your passion has waned and you’re feeling a bit discouraged. Now is the time you remind yourself why you set that lofty goal to begin with! Remembering your why will go a long way in getting you motivated to start again.
When Brandon and I first set the goal of buying an RV to travel full-time, we hit plenty of setbacks. And there were definitely times when it felt like we wouldn’t reach our goal.
Every time those feelings crept up, we focused on why we were saving for the RV in the first place. We wanted the chance to have adventures and see the country before settling down and buying a home. Both of us had always wanted to travel but hadn’t had the opportunity much. And we knew that buying the RV was that opportunity.
Do it differently
If you decide you’re going to reach for that goal again, approaching it the same way you did previously isn’t going to bring about a different outcome.
Now that you’ve taken some time to figure out what went wrong when you were going after your goal, you know what to avoid next time around! This time you’ll be even more likely to reach that goal because you’ve learned from your mistakes and are ready to tackle it from a new angle.
When I’ve had an income goal I was struggling to reach, I would change up my strategy for finding new clients. Similarly, when Brandon and I were struggling to reach our goal of buying an RV, we considered other ways we could cut back our spending or increase our income that we hadn’t tried yet.
We changed our strategy, and I ultimately met all of my income goals and we bought our RV.
Falling short of your financial goals is one of the worst feelings. Trust me, I’ve been there. But falling short one time doesn’t mean you’ve failed, and it definitely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again! There are SO many goals that I didn’t reach the first time, but did reach later on. The effort is totally worth it!