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Episode 43: NYRT #2 – “I Can Do Disappointed”

All right, this is the second episode of our New Year’s Tip Series, and today I want to talk about a common worry or objection or question that I hear about New Year’s resolutions which is what if I set a big scary goal and then I fail? If you’re the type of person who’s asked me that or if you’re the type of person who’s said that to me in the past, I want you to take a second, and I want you to answer that question.

Let’s say you set a big scary goal. Let’s say you tell yourself you’re gonna run your very first half marathon by June of next year, and let’s say that you start to train, and you get distracted, and life happens, and you just can’t get it together, and you don’t end up running that half marathon. What’s gonna happen? I want you to genuinely run through that scenario because what’s likely going to happen and what you are likely running away from by not setting that goal is the feeling of being disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, it sucks to be disappointed. Disappointed feels bad, and this is one of the things that used to stop me from setting the goals that I really wanted to pursue. This is one of the things that, when I was in my place of I’m gonna pursue self-help from a place of self-hate, I would tell myself, “Oh, I can’t set a goal like that because I’m never gonna make it, and then I’ll just end up disappointing myself.”

But here’s the thing. A couple of days ago, I was talking with my partner about something. I thought one thing was gonna happen. That thing didn’t happen. We didn’t schedule a trip the way I thought we were gonna schedule a trip, and so, we weren’t gonna have this date together that I thought we were gonna have, and I was disappointed, and I cried a little tear, and he gave me a hug, and I felt disappointed, and it felt like heat in my chest. It felt like heaviness in my hands. But guess what? I survived.

And so, that is one belief that I have built about myself that allows me to pursue big scary things is I can do disappointed. Let’s say I set a goal next year to run that half marathon and I don’t do it, the worst thing that’s gonna happen is that I feel disappointed, and I am totally capable. I can do disappointment. Yeah, it’s gonna suck. Yeah, it’s gonna feel awful. Yeah, I’m probably gonna cry about it. Yeah, I might have some thoughts about myself and my worth, but I can coach myself out of those thoughts. I can take a deep breath. It’s gonna fade with time. I can do disappointed, and guess what? You can do disappointed too. I bet you can list countless moments in your life where you have felt big, big disappointed feelings, where they have consumed your body, and, yeah, it felt bad, but guess what? You’re still here. You are okay. You can do disappointment too.

What I think about is the option of, on one hand, I can set this scary goal, and there is a possibility that I do achieve it. There is maybe even a super slim possibility that I achieve it, but it is possible, and if I do or even if I don’t and I pursue it all year long, I know that I’m gonna feel proud of myself. I’m gonna feel like I grew. I’m gonna feel changed. I’m gonna feel so freakin’ on fire just from pursuing that goal or potentially from achieving it. I’m not willing to let that go or, for me, I’m okay with betting disappointment in order to get that result.

It’s almost like if you’ve ever played slots. You walk in and you’re kind of like, “Okay, what am I willing to lose today? What am I willing to lose? Maybe I’m willing to lose $20 in order to have a great experience playing slots.” Do I know that I’m gonna win? No! But on the possibility that I might win, I’m not gonna go to the casino and not spend any money just because I know it’s probably unlikely that I’ll win, right? I want to have that experience! I want to have that thrill!

And so, for me, that’s what I think about is I am willing to open up myself to the possibility of disappointment because I can do disappointment in order to open myself up to the possibility of immense growth, personal change, moments that are gonna challenge me, times when I’m gonna doubt myself and move forward anyway. The growth and the change and the person that I’m gonna become through the pursuit of that is absolutely worth me potentially feeling disappointed.

I’ll tell you, this year, I competed at a powerlifting meet. My goal at the beginning of the year was to total 600 pounds at a powerlifting meet. I trained pretty much all year long off and on for this meet. Did I have the perfect training schedule that my perfectionist mind wanted? No. Did I train very diligently all year without fail? No. Did I meet that goal of totaling 600 pounds at my first powerlifting meet? No, I didn’t. And guess what? When I got done with that meet, part of me felt pretty disappointed by that. Part of me was disappointed that in the month of July I took time off training and then in the month of August I let my workout resistance win. I did feel disappointed in myself.

But the immense joy I had by competing at that meet, by getting semi-close to that 600-pound total, the joy that it brought me to move towards that goal all year long was well worth that fifteen minutes of disappointment that I experienced, that heaviness in my chest, that sensation in my upper back. I did disappointment, and it was okay. I failed at a big goal that I set, and it’s okay, and you can do disappointment too. So do not rob yourself of amazing experiences, big possibilities, betting on yourself just because you don’t want fifteen minutes of uncomfortable disappointment.

I’ll see you in the next episode!

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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.

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