Getting past the hard stuff, facing failure, and creating a better tomorrow

Goals can be …

an anchor during life’s storms
– a way out of deep holes
-the key to greater self-esteem
-an answer to lingering gloom


No matter who you are, you will have a certain amount of sorrow, disappointment, grief and pain to get through in life. No one is exempt. It seems to be part of our journey, our battle to survive here on earth. Life’s goals can be an anchor in the storm.

“When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong; when he is cheerful, everything seems right.”

The words of the famous proverb ring painfully true. And it is a wonderful thing when someone offers that word of encouragement at just the right time, but all to often those closest to us seem to kick us when we are down. Then what?

Depression affects our ability to set goals. When we are down it is often very difficult to see our way out of the pit. At times like this, it is a good idea to set ourselves up for success by setting small short-term attainable goals.

Small success’s can help us to feel better about ourselves, and motivate us to continue.

“The only thing that stands between a person and what they want from life is merely the will to try it and the faith to believe it is possible.” – Richard M. DeVos

Ultimately, it is much easier to believe in oneself, when one can begin to see small success’s achieved, even when success is no more than getting up when we have fallen, refusing to give up, continuing on in the face of adversity … perhaps these are the greatest success’s of all.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, The Living Bible.

How do we get out of these times of lingering gloom when it seems as if we can’t do anything right?

We feel helpless, misunderstood, rejected and alone?

There are many answers, such as recognizing and changing our inaccurate thinking about ourselves, seeking outside support and setting goals.

We cannot reach a destination we don’t have.

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Don’t forget this whole thing started with a mouse.” – Walt Disney


If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never get it.

You are sure to miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

To set goals, three questions need to be answered:

1. Where Have I Been?

Look at childhood experience and evaluate it for what it was. Recognize the beliefs you hold about yourself. Hold onto what messages were true and constructive – remove chains of the garbage. Be aware of internal dialogue.

2. Where Am I Now?

Where we are in life is a product of our past choices and experiences. Our future will be a product of today’s choices – take responsibility! Evaluate your self. How are you doing in the following areas: health, family, financial, social, spiritual, mental, career and fun? (That’s right fun is essential in life, so we should set fun goals as well.)

3. Where am I going?

Today’s dreams –Without dreams, we lose hope and motivation. Take time to dream. Close your eyes and imagine what you would like your life to be like. If there were no obstacles, what would you do? As you visualize involve your five senses. Dream about vacations, cars, homes, money, career, family, friendships, health and education. Then write down your dreams. Be specific and write down why each is important to you. Think not just about outward things you want, but think about who you want to be. Your outer life reflects your inner life. When you change your inner life, your outer life will automatically follow.


Goals provide direction to your use of time, money, and energy. To be effective, the goals you set should be an extension of your values. The key to goal achievement lies in your willingness to constantly review and update your goals as circumstances change.

Goals should be:





Seek help from family and friends. If you keep the frustrations of working on your goals a secret, you’ll have a harder time dealing with them. Frustration may lead to depression, moodiness, withdrawal and an increase in disagreements with those close to you.

We’re not suggesting you tell the world you are discouraged and depressed. If you do have those feelings, though, it is essential that you enlist the help of the people who care the most about you. Whether or not they have information and advice to offer, their emotional support is vital.


You may need a sounding board (mentor) – a special family member or friend to talk to once a week. This must be a person whose opinion you respect, though he/she doesn’t need to be able to coach you. Accountability and support will help keep you motivated. At times you may simply want him/her to listen to your frustrations and fears.



We all need people in our lives who are positive and supportive – especially when we are experiencing major changes. Changes are stressful so the more support you get, the better.

Doubts affect your ability to adapt and learn, and drain away your motivation. Don’t dwell on them. Work hard at maintaining a positive attitude! The people close to you can greatly affect your attitude. Try to associate with people who have positive attitudes.

They may be family members or close friends but they don’t have to be. When those closest to you are not very supportive or can’t help, friends, colleagues, counselors, community workers or a support group may be able to provide the moral support and practical help you need.

Your attitude and behavior will influence how those around you react to the change. If other people will be affected by your decision (especially family members), be considerate of their feelings. If you involve them while you are planning for the change, they are far more likely to give you the help and encouragement you’ll need later on. If you simply announce a decision and impose it on them, you are likely to get resentment and resistance in reply.

Talk things over with the people close to you and ask for their advice. Especially if your decision is going to create changes in their lives. Explain what you are trying to accomplish and what options you see open to you.

Together, explore how each option will affect you and them. Let them know that their needs are being considered too. You may have to ask for help sometimes. Even when your family and friends approve of what you are doing, support may not come automatically. With encouragement, they will improve.


It may take a while for people to adjust. They may refuse to take you seriously or keep trying to talk you out of it. They may even try to make you feel guilty, hoping you’ll change your mind.

There is no easy way to deal with family opposition. If your family continues to oppose your plans, it will be difficult to keep going. On the other hand, if you give up your plans, your resentment and regret may create other family problems. Trying to carry on as if nothing has changed, doing everything you used to do isn’t a solution either. You soon become physically and emotionally exhausted – you are not superhuman!

Accept your limits and theirs, and try to be patient. Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open. With time and patience, many family members and friends come around. Your needs and interests are just as important as anyone else’s. Do what is most important, and only what you can handle at home. Let your family know you still care, try not to feel guilty, and look to people outside the family for the support and encouragement you need to keep you going.

If co-workers, friends or relatives outside of your immediate family continue to be negative, avoid the subject when you are around them. If they keep harping on it, you may have to avoid them as much as possible for the time being. You need to maintain a positive attitude.


Seek out other people who are making changes similar to yours. Make use of other available resources too. Keep your eyes open for workshops and seminars on stress management, assertiveness, decision making, time management, financial management, or any other subject that interest you and might be helpful. Don’t be afraid to reach out and let someone help!


“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear… It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold onto.” – Marilyn Ferguson, American Futurist

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – Andre Gide, French Novelist

When something in our life like a relationship or a job ends, initially we go through emotions of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, disenchantment and disorientation.

As we are forced to let go not knowing what the future holds we feel fear, emptiness and a state of loss. This is the most difficult place to be: in-between past and future. It is a time to take stock of what we have, and determine where we want to go. This is a time to set goals. Eventually life brings us to a new beginning, a time of hope, where we establish a new identity for ourselves and we become full of ideas for a new and better future.


1. Taking Action Without Planning

When it comes to your goals and future, impulsiveness is the mother of regret. Considerable thought must be given to the ends as well as the means of your strategy.

2. Planning Without Taking Action

Endless preparation is worse than action without planning. Accept that things will never be perfect. Questions will forever exist. Plan well and launch!

3. Unrealistic Timeframes and Expectations

Life is a process not an event. Nothing great was ever built easily. Exercise wisdom and learn to be patient. Unfortunately most things in life take longer and cost more than the best-laid plans anticipate.

4. Reasons “Why” Are Unclear

Why you want to achieve a goal is more important than the goal itself. Before taking action on anything it is imperative that you ask yourself this key question: “Why do I want to achieve this goal?”

5. Denial of Reality

It’s far easier to deny reality than it is to accept. And far too many people take the easy way. Success is information dependant, when we deny reality for whatever reason, we devalue the integrity of our information, thus ensuring failure.

6. Conflicting Values

When we have not clarified our reasons why or defined what success means to us personally, we operate on someone else’s definition. When that occurs values are sure to be in conflict and progress is short-circuited.

7. Diffusion of Energy

Attempting to do too much is a recipe for mediocrity. Rather than doing an excellent job at a few chosen goals we spread our energies over a vast terrain and diffuse what matters most; time and energy.

8. Lack of Focus

Success demands focus. It is the hallmark of all truly great people. Your ability to get and remain focused or lack there of is perhaps the key determinant of your success.

9. Trying To Do It All Alone

Nobody goes through life alone, we all need the cooperation and assistance of others. Put your pride aside and learn to ask for help when you need it. Learn to leverage and share knowledge for your own well being as well as for others who are dependent upon your cooperation.

10. Fear Of Failure

Fear of failure is the “Grand Daddy” of them all. Far too many dreams have suffocated and died because of it. Fear resides where knowledge does not exist; the more you know about anything the less intimidated that you feel. Replace your fears with knowledge and watch your performance leap.


Failure & Perception

Put failure in the right perspective, it’s an opportunity for regrouping and evaluation while accepting the experience as part of the journey of success. Rich lessons are the fruit of failure and you can extract them at will.

Failure & Change

Change depreciates the value of past information, thus making predictions difficult, ambiguous, and correspondingly risky. In the presence of change, you must adjust your course-of-action to align with desirable new realities.

Failure & Limitation

In a world of limitation, the fundamental question is not whether people should accept failure. Rather, the question is how to anticipate failure and redirect resources to grow from the experience.

Failure & Information

Information scarcity will present itself somewhere, somehow, sometime. The key is to learn from what this new failure teaches and prevent it, if at all possible, from happening again.

Failure & Perfection

Perfection is unattainable, but failure is always possible! Any assumption regarding perfection stands at odds with the most fundamental premise of success: failure is inevitable.

Failure & Planning

Because the future is so hard to predict, we must attempt to pierce uncertainty’s fog as best we can. Your goal is to estimate and anticipate failures with tolerable precision.

Failure & Execution

Failure is not only the output of an unsuccessful activity; it is also the input of a successful one. Performance only changes and improves to the degree that you change and improve.

Failure & Mistakes

Those with an eye for success respond first by anticipating mistakes. Second, we accept responsibility for them. Life is for learning lessons and mistakes are some of your best teachers.

Failure & Consequence

Some look at failure as an extremely blunt instrument and surrender their dreams because of its potential consequences. Although tempting, do not allow the consequences of failure to harden your heart.

Failure & Progress

The world is littered with the victims of failure. Yet failure leads to victory. Use each failure as feedback in your constant progression toward your goals. Our world is one of adjustment, of conflict, and of mutual gains and losses. In short, of failure and progress.

“Ten reasons why people fail” and “Ten insights on failure” are taken from the Goals Guy Knowledge.


7 Steps to Goal Setting

1. Write down the objective.

2. Write down the date by which you expect to accomplish the goal.

3. List the obstacles you may encounter. (A very important step, so you can plan to overcome them.)

5. Identify people, organizations and groups you will need to work with. (Nothing great is ever accomplished alone!)

6. Identify what skills/knowledge you will need.

7. Devise a plan of action. Identify all the benefits to yourself. (These are your motivation.)

Wishing you healing, love, and a life beyond what you imagine possible in 2011.

Brian and Anne Bercht

©Copyright 2010 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.