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On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Three Keys to Keep You From Feeling Like a Failure at the End of the Day

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Josh Christophersen, who is a web developer, church planter, and blogger. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and seven kids and is currently working on creating a board game with his four oldest. Visit his blog at 31kings.com.

A lot of people go to bed at night feeling like a failure. Either they don’t get done what they wanted to do or what they did get done felt insignificant and unsatisfying.

How To Keep From Feeling Like A Failure At   The End Of The Day

Steve Jurvetson (Creative Commons)

Most people have hopes and desires of being successful, but for many, the problem is their definition of a successful day is undefined, vague, or unrealistic.

So let’s fix that.

Key #1: You have to be definitive

Many people are plagued by a vague sense of guilt that they’re not doing enough.

Until “enough” is defined, the voices will never be silent. And until success is defined, you won’t be focused on what needs to get done, much less accomplish it.

Defining success makes success possible. Defining the specific action items necessary to accomplishing success is what makes it practical.

So you can’t just define the outcome. You also have to define the process.

Key #2: You have to be specific

Some people have a definition of success, but their definition is too vague.

If your definition of success isn’t concrete, then any attempt at determining whether you’re successful (or not) will also be vague.

It’s no fun being unable to determine whether your day was a success or not. Merely hoping it was successful is a far cry from knowing it was.

A vague definition of success robs you of the satisfaction of knowing you ended your day well.

Key #3: You have to be realistic

Lastly, having a definition of success that is unrealistic sets you up for failure.

The more often your definition of success is unrealistic, the more often you will fail. And the more often you fail, the more often you’ll feel like a failure.

The more unrealistic your definition of success is, the higher your hopes will be, and the greater the let-down, which can make your heart sick.

So let’s put it all together…

What’s your definition of a successful day? That may be too broad of a question. So let’s be more specific, because each day is different.

What’s your definition of a successful today?

What’s the minimum that needs to be done to make today a success? Defining that allows you to create small wins that create momentum. Which empowers you to get way more done than any guilt ever could have accomplished.

Exceeding expectations leads to satisfying and significant work. So here’s how you can make tomorrow a success:

  1. Pick the minimum number of tasks required to make your day a success. Do this first thing in the morning or the night before, and try limiting the list to no more than three items.
  2. Do those things first. Make them a priority ahead of everything else.
  3. Get more done with whatever time is left in the day. Use that sense of accomplishment you feel to create momentum.
  4. Go to bed with the feeling that your day was a success (because it was) and do it all over again.

 What few things could you accomplish today that would make you feel like today was a success? Share in the comments.

About Josh Christophersen

Josh Christophersen is a web developer, church planter, and blogger. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and seven kids and is currently working on creating a board game with his four oldest. Visit his blog at 31kings.com

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