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So much in this world is centered around the word failure. As a mom, failure never seems farther away than around the next corner. When you juggle your career, children, spouse, hobbies, housework and everything else, there are so many places to fail.
There was an eight-week weight loss challenge at my work recently and I am not one to turn down a challenge! I formed a team with my co-worker and set out to lose ten pounds over eight weeks. I was already in fairly good shape; I worked out daily and had a reasonably healthy diet. After the first few weeks, I got hurt and couldn’t work out at all. Failure! The scales were relentless. After two weeks out with a torn knee, I forced myself back on my fitness track. I did everything I could to reach my goal but at the final weigh-in, I had lost eight pounds, not ten. Failure!
But what is failure? Is it NOT reaching your goals? Failure, by definition, is an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success. And what does it mean to you when you fail?
I started out angry with myself for not losing those two last pounds, similar to how angry I would be with myself for not having time to clean the kitchen and fold the laundry. It is reminiscent of when I failed my first exam in college and beat myself up completely. But I am older now and, this time around, I decided to consider my failure from a different point of view. What if I had set my weight loss goal at five pounds instead of ten? Then I would have exceeded my goal and should be righteously celebrating! Who dictated that I need to clean the house and do the laundry all in the same day anyway?
>> Read more: 17 Ways to Reward Yourself for Reaching Your Goals
The fact is that YOU define what failure means to you. And even if you do fail, YOU are the one who decides whether to get back up and try again. I decided that I was fine with losing eight pounds instead of ten. I learned a lot during the challenge and came out more knowledgeable — not to mention lighter — and that is success to me. I continue on my path toward being fit and healthy even with the challenge’s conclusion.
Oh, and that first exam? I got to take it again and I got an A. I realized that the pressure to pass my first exam was so heavy that I set myself up for failure. And now my house is clean and my laundry is folded, but the world didn’t end because those two things didn’t happen in the same day.
Setting goals for yourself can help you achieve the things you need, but we should exercise caution and be realistic with our goals. Failing to reach your goals doesn’t mean that you are a lazy, lesser person. It is what you choose to do when you fail that shows your true colors. And remember, there is a new day tomorrow, too.