You’ve probably experienced at least one time when you know you could have done better. Whether you wanted to keep a resolution, reach a goal, or do better on a project, it’s important to get back on track so you set the tone for all areas of your life.
Figure Out Why You’re Really Disappointed
You probably know what you’ve done to disappoint yourself, but take a moment to consider why. Is it because you disappointed someone else? Is it because you didn’t reach a goal you set for yourself? Are you putting too much weight on the things you’re trying to accomplish? Were your expectations poorly managed?
If you notice a negative shift in your normal attitude, get in touch with your emotions by asking yourself why you feel the way you do. Maybe you’re feeling stressed out by a project because you think you can do better — not because of the project itself. Try to zero in on the real issue rather than continuing to feel emotionally distressed.
As we’ve mentioned before, getting in touch with your emotions after failure can help a lot:
Failure can take a hefty emotional toll, and that’s OK. What’s important is getting the negative feelings you have out of your system so you can regroup and tackle what’s next. Don’t keep how you feel trapped inside of you like a shaken up soda.
If you know why you’re disappointed, you’ve got a head start on being able to make an action plan.
You might feel you shouldn’t try to move forward after disappointing yourself or others, but try to avoid using your disappointment as ammunition to keep yourself down. Instead, focus on the fact that you can learn from where you fell short and do better in the future.
Dr Julia Breines, who studies how social experience influence the way people treat themselves, explains how you can use your feelings of guilt and disappointment to move forward:
Research suggests that criminal offenders who recognise that doing bad things does not make them bad people are less likely to continue engaging in criminal activity. And remorse, rather than self-condemnation, has been shown to encourage prosocial behaviour. Healthy self-forgiveness therefore seems to involve releasing destructive feelings of shame and self-condemnation but maintaining appropriate levels of guilt and remorse — to the extent that these emotions help fuel positive change.
Her example of criminal offenders may be a bit extreme, but realise that just because you’ve disappointed yourself this time you’re not helpless to avoid it in the future. Use the emotions you’re feeling to motivate you to improve.
Review Your Past Actions And Adjust For The Future
Go over what happened so you can learn from the situation. Determine what your barriers to success were and how they contributed to you falling short of your standards. Some common behaviours and tendencies that lead to disappointment are:
- You had poor time management and organisation. How you organise your time can be challenging to alter, but there are many tips on how to manage your schedule better. One example is to block out the parts of your week that rarely change and build out how you’ll spend the rest of your time around those static time slots. If you’ve never even taken a look at your time to see how you spend it or what you commitments you know you have to meet, then that’s a great starting point.
- You didn’t have a plan. There are a lot of great productivity techniques that can help you prepare for any goal or project. Find the right one for your work style and schedule by giving several a try and see which one works best. You may even decide to combine elements from different methods to make your own custom technique.
- You overcommitted yourself. If you’ve promised more than you can deliver — even to yourself — learn to say no. You may feel awkward or guilty doing this at first, but remind yourself that this is better for both parties in the end.
- You had unrealistic expectations of yourself or others. You can manage feelings of self-doubt by creating clear expectations. Set realistic expectations to help both yourself and others know what results are ahead — and to make sure you reach your goals.
The best way to prevent the same situation — and resulting disappointment — is to make a plan of action. Now that you have a list of your roadblocks, figure out how you can overcome each one. This won’t be easy, so start with the simplest one and go from there. You may not be able to get through this list quickly, but tackle even just one or two roadblocks ASAP to make some progress.
In order to defeat those roadblocks, you may need something you don’t currently have. You could need more knowledge, training, or tools, for example — and acquiring those will have to go into your action plan. As you formulate that plan, determine milestones to measure your progress, too. Whatever you do, do something. You’ll feel much better about your previous disappointment if you feel like you’re working to get better instead of staying stagnant.
You’ve put in a lot of work to create a solid action plan for yourself, make sure you stick to it. One way to ensure success is to set reasonable and meaningful goal. James Clear explains why meaningful goals are key to your success:
It’s remarkable how much time people spend chasing things that they don’t really care about. Then, when they don’t achieve them, they beat themselves up and feel like a failure for not achieving something that wasn’t important to them all along.
You only have so much energy to put towards the next 24 hours. Pick a habit that you care about. If it really matters to you, then you’ll find a way to make it work.
Use the milestones you built into your action plan to create checkpoints for yourself.
It can be difficult to overcome failure, especially when you’re the one who set the standards in the first place. Stick to these steps and you can avoid future disappointment.