What to Do If You Fail Your 30-Day Challenge?

The 30-Day Challenge is a Learning Lab

leadership training in DenverYour 30-Day Challenge didn’t go as well as you expected. You failed.
Here are some of the reasons that a 30-Day Challenge could go sideways:
  • Your goal may have been too aggressive or ambitious to begin with
  • An unexpected obstacle arose (such as an illness, or a new project landed on your desk and drained your time)
  • You underestimated the degree of challenge in sticking with the plan
  • You had no one to hold you accountable

The good news about failing a 30-Day Challenge is that you can learn something about yourself and try again. All of the reasons listed above could go under the “learning” category.

Here’s why.

A few years ago, a client of mine decided to add one new LinkedIn connection per day and to set up two networking meetings per day for the next 30 days.

This client was new to Denver, an introvert, and hadn’t looked for a job in over ten years. How do you suppose that first 30-Day Challenge turned out?

He learned a lot about himself during those first weeks of the challenge. One lesson was to set a more realistic initial goal. Instead of two networking meetings per day, he adjusted the goal to five networking meetings per week. Once he mastered that, he ramped up his goal every few weeks; initially to seven networking meetings per week, and eventually back to 10 per week. It worked.

His networking skills improved to the point where he started to enjoy networking! (Imagine that.)

From there it became natural to add more LinkedIn connections as he established good contacts and made friends with people he meet at sports events and professional association meetings. He also learned techniques to help maintain a consistent energy level at networking events, as well as when to stop and recharge. (After all, he is still an introvert.)

Remember, setbacks happen. Sometimes your boss co-opts your calendar. Your child falls ill and needs your undivided attention. Maybe the sacrifices necessary to meet the challenge get the best of you.

What Can You Learn From Failure?
Some important things to remember:
  • Learn not to judge yourself harshly; instead, practice self-compassion
  • Examine what went wrong, and what you did well
  • How can you repeat the successes you did have?
  • How can you build on the progress you made?
Most importantly, ask yourself:

What did you learn about yourself during the challenge that will help you create a better plan next time?

Whatever the case, it is essential to keep going. Try again. Reconfigure the goal. Get an “accountability buddy.” Break the goal into smaller increments.
What have you done to overcome an obstacle to your 30-Day Challenge?


Here’s to your success in 2018!