You get up each day and have in mind a list of things you want to accomplish. Some are short-term projects, others works-in-progress, and still others part of long-term goals. But what happens when you become frustrated, have to deviate from your task, or are forced to stop completely?
While everyone experiences frustration from time to time, it’s never pleasant. Often, it’s difficult to know what to do to overcome it. Here are some suggestions.
Always Have a Plan
Think of any goal as a kind of journey. Before setting out on a trip, the wise course of action is to have a plan. Without knowing what route you’ll take, where to stop for gas, a bite to eat, side trips you’d like to take or alternate means of getting where you want to go if you encounter road construction, bad weather or snarled traffic, the journey could be haphazard or worse.
Working toward any goal could become problematic when any powerful emotion gets in the way. And frustration certainly counts as a roadblock to goal achievement. That’s why it’s important to make a plan and commit to sticking to it, even if some parts of the plan cause frustration.
Even daily schedules can sometimes wreak havoc. Things happen that interrupt your flow. The point is to always have a plan. Then have a backup plan in case the original plan doesn’t work out. With more than one plan, you have options. You’re not stuck wondering what to do next. No longer powerless, your self-confidence increases at the same time your frustration level decreases.
It’s great that you have one or more plans, but don’t be so rigid that you’re unwilling to deviate from the plan when something goes haywire. In other words, don’t cast your plans in stone.
When you try to force your plan to work – and it doesn’t – this adds to your frustration. The more frustrated you feel, the more your stress builds, along with anxiety and a sense of failure.
But by staying flexible, you might come into contact with other solutions that will get you past this impasse. You could do things a little differently, rearrange tasks and reassign priorities. The key is to keep your options open by remaining as flexible as possible. As with most other good habits, you’ll get better at this with practice.
Set Expectations That Are Reasonable
If you’re too hard on yourself, always demanding perfection, you’re bound to amp up your frustration. While you want to achieve your goals as quickly as possible, when you take on challenges you’re not yet ready for or try to force a result that requires more time, effort or resources, you’re going to add to your frustration at the same time as you defeat your goals.
The workaround here is to take the time to set reasonable expectations for yourself. The most difficult task or project may not be the best one to tackle at this point. Perhaps it’s better to work on the easier ones first. This helps establish a track record of success, makes you feel good about your accomplishments, and reduces the frustration you feel from putting too much on your plate at one time.
The recommendation here is to avoid taking life so seriously. Granted, life does deal some unexpected challenges and not everything you get involved in is light-hearted, easily accomplished or without difficulty. Still, the frustrations you experience today probably will be a distant memory six months from now.
When you lighten up and learn to take things in stride, you’ll greatly decrease the frustration that keeps you from your goals.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. That’s a given. It isn’t the mistakes you make that matter, however, but what you learn from them that counts.
Granted, no one likes to fail. There’s something distinctly unsettling about falling down or obtaining results less than you’d hoped. It stings, no question about it. Yet there’s still something you can glean from the experience that will serve you well the next time you’re in a similar situation. You can also extrapolate lessons you can adapt to other circumstances.
Timing is also important. Maybe you rushed into things without proper preparation or tried to speed through a project when it required more time. In any case, looking back you’ll probably see how you could have done things differently. If you pay attention, this is a lesson well learned. This makes you smarter the next time.
Keep It Positive
It’s easy to see how frustration leads to negative thinking. But that won’t turn things around. What will help is to keep it positive. An attitude that’s positive in nature helps you see solutions that might otherwise remain elusive. When you do feel frustrated, a positive attitude will help ratchet down the frustration and motivate you to get back to work on your goals.
Evaluate Your Accomplishments
When you’re stuck, feeling frustrated, you need some motivational self-talk. You can do this by taking stock of the accomplishments you have already achieved. This helps remind you that you have what it takes to get the job done, notwithstanding any frustration you experienced along the way.
The fact that you have a supply of effective strategies that worked well in other situations adds to your self-confidence and self-esteem – especially when you’re thinking about or tackling something new.
Stopping frustration from derailing your goals will be a unique approach to each person. It may also turn out to involve adapting techniques you’ve used before, adding to them with suggestions you’ve learned from others, or taking a completely different route.
The only way you’re going to reach your goals is to start over, begin again, try something new. This means regularly revising your goals, adding new ones, modifying or eliminating those that no longer apply. It also means striving to learn something new each day, applying what you know works to new situations, networking with others who may have good ideas on how to best deal with recurring problems, and maintaining a positive attitude.
You want your life to be as happy, healthy, productive and fulfilling as possible. In essence, then, when you are frustrated over not being able to complete your goals, you simply need to start over. Eventually, you will succeed in reaching your goal or determine that another one takes precedence.
* * *