you can fail your goal and still move forward
The more ambitious your goal, the more difficult it is to achieve. Duh, right? But there's a bonus hidden inside that goal, an Easter egg just waiting to be discovered:
"Even if you don't reach your goal, you can make considerable forward progress!"
Take a look at what I did over the last few months..
I published my goals on this site, here: My Next Fitness Goal.
Then I published my progress each week, good or bad. If you click through to that post and read my progress updates, you'll see I hit my goal only 5 of the 12 weeks. There were another 5 weeks where I made good progress but didn't reach my goal. And then there were 2 weeks were I failed miserably.
So, if we were handing out trophies and report cards, I would have failed. 5 out of 12 means I only had a 42% success rate. But if you take a step back and look at the overall progress over the 12 week period, I actually made a lot of improvement. I'm significantly better at what I set out to do than I was 12 weeks ago. So even though I can't claim success on that particular goal, I still made a good amount of forward progress.
Never forget, the Process of Continuous Improvement is about the long-term. It's forward progress, getting better over time. There aren't any permanent finish lines - as soon as you cross one line you start working towards the next. A few weeks ago I wrote "what long term looks like". Here's a quote from that post:
The process of continuous improvement is a long term process. It's a series of tiny improvements made over a long time period. Nobody is keeping score, and the calendar keeps turning pages.
Of course I wanted to hit my goal. But what I do AFTER the goal timeframe is more important. If I hit the goal but then take 3 months off, I'd be in worse shape than if I miss the goal but continue to move forward..