Why lowlights of 2018 are actually highlights in disguise

The first week of the new year is a time when some people list all of the goals they achieved in 2018 & tell you the highlights of their year. I don’t want to be a negative Nancy, but I feel lowlights need more recognition. I know it’s almost innate for us to look at a lowlight (or not achieving a goal) as a bad experience that we should quickly move on from, but honestly – the most powerful thing I’ve learned throughout the whole of 2018 is how to turn a lowlight into a highlight. What i’ve realised is it’s actually okay to no achieve every goal on your list.

This blog isn’t going to be about “how I achieved XYZ in 2018 and how you can too with these simple steps….”. This blog is going to be about how NOT achieving your goals is an achievement in itself, and why setting realistic, SMART goals + reflecting on what you didn’t achieve is just as important.

Yes, I believe in goals. If I didn’t set goals for myself, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Goals provide direction, purpose & prioritisation. However, if they’re set the wrong way & not evaluated after they’re NOT achieved, they can lead to dissatisfaction, disappointment & a lack of motivation. Poor reflection can also lead to INACTION PARALYSIS when setting new goals (where you have so much remorse from not achieving your previous goals that you fail to take action on your new goals out of fear it will happen again).

Let me tell you a little story…

On January 1, 2018 Mitch and I were in the car coming home from a beach swim. I was pumped for the New Year because I’d managed to achieve almost all of my goals from 2017 and knew this year was going to be no different (after all, I’d already manifested where I’d be at the end of 2018).  I searched in my car glovebox for a little notebook (I am so old school I always write notes in my car if I want to remember something). I opened the notebook and asked Mitch to list four things he wanted to achieve in 2018. I still remember the moment Mitch told me his goals. I remember thinking they seemed very simple and that he would definitely achieve them (I wondered why he hadn’t opted for something a little more risky).

It was my turn next. I set four goals (let’s be real half of them were unrealistic), I shut the notebook and I couldn’t wait to see where I’d be in one year.

Exactly one week ago, I opened the same notebook in the glovebox of my car and read Mitch his goal list. He had ticked off EVERY single goal on his list except for one. I, on the other hand, had only achieved ONE of my four goals. Amongst all the negative talk happening in my head, Mitch chimed in, “Yeh…but if you’d achieved all of those goals you wouldn’t have been able to achieve X Y & Z and you wouldn’t be in the best position”.

I’ve done a whole youtube video on my experience building and scaling a business over the past year (and then having to downscale that same business) to ensure my product remained viable (view it HERE). Looking back at this process, I achieved A LOT. HOWEVER, the biggest thing I’ve learned about the whole goal setting process is that THINGS CHANGE & sometimes you have to pivot in life to achieve an even bigger goal that you didn’t even know you had. You also need to TRUST YOUR GUT. No matter what goal you write down in a notebook, if the process isn’t happening or it isn’t going the way you planned, PIVOT & move on. This doesn’t mean you’ve given up! If you have done everything you can to achieve your goal and the energy is not being returned, trust in the timing (another opportunity requires more of your energy…you just may not be aware of it yet).

Since downsizing my granola business, my profits from that business have doubled and I have been able to make time for a whole new business (F.ACNE). I have also had the opportunity to focus on my passions (Nutrition at University, F.ACNE, Writing & working with amazing brands).

So what about my goals this year? This year, I took a “Mitch approach”. I set one challenging goal & three realistic goals which are all SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible). This year I haven’t written them in a random notebook & vowed to only look at them in one year. This year I’ve taken action & have primed myself for healthier goal setting habits. I’ve written down why I want to achieve each goal, measurable steps to get there & how each goal aligns with my values. I have also made a mental note NOT to beat myself up if things change and I need to pivot – but instead, to write down what I learn from challenges, as they arise (let’s be real, they are inevitable).

Here is a little exercise which I think is VERY important for you moving into 2019.

Write answers to the below questions in your diary or in the notes section of your phone. Title it “LIFE LESSONS”.

What is one challenge you faced in 2018? 

Did you overcome it? If so, how?

If no, what are three small steps you can take to overcome this challenge in 2019?

What did/have you learned from this challenge?

How has this challenge shaped short term & long-term future decisions/habits/behaviours? 

You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when you realise you actually learned something from overcoming a challenge.

If you would like to see some of my favourite goal setting diaries & what I’m currently using, i’ll be posting another blog post over the coming days with some of my favourite journals (stay tuned on my instastories as i’ll also be mentioning them there).