Writer. Editor. Leximaven. Game Designer. Vorpal Blonde. Bisexual Brainlicker. Midas's Touch. Schrödinger's Brat.

Twas Brillig

What Now? When You “Fail” Your Goals.

What Now? When You “Fail” Your Goals.

posted on: January 9, 2018
in: Creativity, Writing

Did you make a resolution for 2018? Set a goal? Plan a dream? Maybe all of those things? Me too. And I’ve already botched them. And you know what? That’s okay. Because I know I’ll reach them anyway. Here’s why:

I often start the new year (or a new season or a new birthday) with big intentions, most of which get washed away by that unplanned-for “thing.” You know, a sudden deadline or event that keeps me from writing what I’d wanted to write. Or someone’s birthday party full of glorious cake that made it nearly impossible to reach my goal of cutting down on sugar. Or bad news (or just a bad day) that causes you to slide back into old habits, no matter how much you don’t want to. At that point, it’s tempting to throw up our hands and decide we’re done. We’ve failed. We might as well just not even try (or maybe that’s just me — I often end up there. Of course, part of the reason for that is that I set my goals too high. Setting myself up for failure by laying out unreachable, impossible goals is a well-documented Shanna-ism.).

What I’ve learned to do is take stock after that initial bump. Okay, birthday party is over, deadline is met and passed, shitty day is kicked in the ass (or at the very least, lived through). Now where am I? Do those goals I set before still matter to me? Are they something I want to continue to pursue? The answer, not surprisingly, is yes.

With that process, each week becomes its own “new year.” Every week, I say, “Do these goals still matter to me?” If the answer is “yes” then I pursue them with purpose. Last week’s failures no longer matter. They stop holding me back, because only what’s next matters. By renewing my goals each week–regardless of whether I achieved them or not in the past–I give myself the power and the desire to continue pursuing them.

At the end of the year (or of the project, dream, hope, goal, etc.), does one failed week matter? No. Do two or three? No. Even four or five failed weeks? Nah. You won’t even notice them by the end. You’ll only notice what you accomplished.

But do 52 failed weeks matter? Yes.

So this week I renewed by goals: write more fiction, eat less sugar, live with greater intention, write a blog post that means something to me (and hopefully to those reading), and continue to pursue the goals that matter to me with kindness and an understanding that stumbling isn’t the same as falling.

Live your joy,

P.S. If you like these posts, you can now subscribe and get them in your inbox (just fill in the Subscribe to Me section on the right-hand side of this blog). I’m not on Facebook or Twitter these days, but you can find me and Ampersand the Wonder Dog on Instagram.


  1. Cyle Grantham
    posted on Jan 18, 2018 at 6:01 PM

    I miss seeing your posts on Facebook. I wish jerks didn’t drive you off. I think you are an excellent role model for my daughter Braelyn (she’s almost 2 now). Hopefully I can keep up with this blog.

  2. Craig Sorensen
    posted on Jan 10, 2018 at 4:44 AM

    The past few years have been very full, with many changes in my life.

    Last year, I planned one thing, and got another. The year ended up being a year of reflection, where I did a fair amount of traveling to places from my past. That wasn’t my plan at the start, but it rapidly turned into it and I embraced it.

    It turned out to be a good year.

    This year, my plan, and we’ll see if the fates are on board, is to live very much in the present. I want to explore California, where I live now, more. I want simplify my life and help my kids reach their goals. I want to write, and write, and write. I want to get my novel based on my days in the Army in Germany published. A very long time goal, but the earlier efforts weren’t “there” yet.

    It’s a course that I’d like to follow, but if the river turns a different way, I’ll deal with that when it comes.

    Happy New Year, Shanna.

  3. posted on Jan 09, 2018 at 10:47 PM

    Honestly? I don’t make New Year’s resolutions for this very reason! I like to take the year as it comes. I’m a bit of a different person this year than I was the beginning of last year in that I’m fully accepting myself as I am and whatnot, so making a resolution for an entire year? Sounds like wasted effort.

    But maybe I’m just a nihilist.

    Also I miss you on social media! I hope we can talk sometime. I’m still slightly intimidated by you so I’m not sure how to reach out haha ;_;7

  4. Jeremy
    posted on Jan 09, 2018 at 4:13 PM

    Hey Shanna. I have missed your uplifting presence on my assorted social media, so I’m glad to have this way to hear from you.

    I’m not sure if word made it through the grapevine or not, but I started my own new resolution this year. I certainly had no intention of doing it until the very tail end of the Year That Shall Not Be Named, but a New Year’s Resolution it turned out to be.

    You see, on Dec. 23, my wife’s cousin committed suicide. Tyler Fox was many things: a son, a brother, a cousin, a father, and a Marine. He was loved by everyone, but PTSD got the best of him in a low moment that none of us will ever forget.

    So this year, I am committed to running the Marine Corps Marathon for him, along with Alli, his sister Jennifer, his friend Joey, and anyone else who wants to run to honor and remember him.

    And we’re doing it with #goddamnitTyler.

    • Shanna Germain
      posted on Jan 09, 2018 at 4:23 PM

      Jeremy, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend and family member. What a beautiful way to honor him together. I know you’ll reach your goal, and I hope it’s a beautiful experience. <3

  5. Pixie
    posted on Jan 09, 2018 at 4:12 PM

    I never make resolutions. Ever ever. I’m happy just to be. I do like the one thing a week thing though! This week my goal is to get this new position at work. So far i’ve done the work I can do to make sure I do get it, now it’s in the hands of others. Would I be disappointed if I didn’t? Absolutely. Would it be the end of everything? Nah.

    So, thanks for the suggestion. Weekly goal, not a yearly goal. I like it. I can work with that. You do good, booboo. *grins*

  6. Brian
    posted on Jan 09, 2018 at 3:21 PM

    My resolution is to go to film school this year and write two screenplays.

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