Being Hard On Yourself, Where Do You Draw The Line?

Dec 09

Being Hard On Yourself, Where Do You Draw The Line?

This is a guest post by Jackson Anderson of Not Another Rat.

“I’ve got to make $5,000 this month otherwise I can’t be happy”

“If I don’t do 500 push ups in 10 minutes, I’m a failure”

“If my writing pitch gets rejected that must mean I’m a pathetic writer and should quit!”

Sound Familiar?

We often find ourselves being extremely negative.

You know how the saying goes “we’re our own worst critic”.

Well I’m here to tell you; enough is enough.

Beating yourself down every day is only pushing your dreams further and further away, and that’s only going to cause you more grief and shame.

But you say “well, if I’m not hard on myself and disciplined I’ll never achieve my dreams, I’ll be working for the man forever”.

A valid comment; I hear you loud and clear (and understand you more than I want to admit).

You need to trust me here though when I say, it’s not helping.

For example right now as I write this, it’s halfway through November and I’m in the midst of my 30-day challenge like Kevin completed here.

I have to be honest though, I haven’t hit my mark of 1,000 words each day; there were even two days where I didn’t write at all… life got in the way.

It would be so easy to beat myself down right now and question if I even want to make a career out of blogging and freelancing or if I’m just a pathetic joke who can’t stick to anything.

The truth is life fucking happens.

It gets in the damn way but it can only stop you from achieving your dreams if you let it.

Rather than beating myself up for not sticking with my goal, I’m just going to write as much as I can each day for the rest of the month and let that be my accomplishment for November.

I know I don’t want to feel defeated throughout the month so I’m going to need to make a more conscious effort to get my writing done and find a way to plan it into my days a bit better.

Truth is though some days I may not succeed, I need to be prepared to accept that and move forward with a smile and enthusiasm for what tomorrow may bring.

The Same Applies For You

You’re going to face this problem with everything you do in life, especially when you’re straying away from the traditional path.

Every time you set yourself a goal or challenge you’re opening yourself up to a chance of failure and there’s only one solution…go forward.

The road is not always going to be smooth and potholes will be there to slow you down.

Some days you may not even get one step closer.

But you don’t need to beat yourself up about it.

It’s Not Worth It

Assess where you went wrong, remember why you started this journey in the first place and create a solution to keep yourself going.

I know I can’t finish November with my original goal in mind but I can come damn close.

One step closer to my dreams is always better than no step at all.

So remember next time you hit that pothole you just have to keep pushing on and not let the disappointment of today bring you down.

You’re still going to arrive at your destination; the only difference is you might not get there the way you planned.

I leave you now with this question – What goal have you given up on because you messed up once and became discouraged?

Let us know in the comments below and lets get you back on track!

About The Author

jax andersonJackson Anderson is a freelance blogger aspiring to escape the 9-5 rat race and won’t stop until he does so. He writes honest, helpful and thought-provoking posts weekly at where he inspires and motivates others to escape the 9-5 prison too!



Photo Cred: Shane Robinson

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  1. What goal have I given up on? Hm… I don’t think I’m going to be writing another eBook for a long time. I wouldn’t say I failed or messed up but it took a lot out of me. It was definitely a feat I underestimated and I just wasn’t prepared. I’m just happy it’s done with but I can’t help but wonder if it could have been 10x better.

    • Hey Vincent!

      While it doesn’t sound like you gave up on your goal, the fact you’re asking yourself could you have done better probably means you rushed it and know it wasn’t to the best of the ability.

      It would be so easy to get yourself worked up and upset about that.

      Truth is though, you finished it and you shipped it (the part most people never get to!)
      Sometimes waiting for perfect is never going to come and now if and when the day comes for the next eBook you’ll be much more prepared and know what it’ll take of you to give 110%!

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Kevin Cole /

      Hey dude – I had similar feelings about my ebook when I first published it. I think it’s soooo common for bloggers to judge their work. I do it all the time with blog posts.

      But if you received positive feedback then I’m sure it was rocking.

      Also – you learned so much about the process from the first one that if you do decide to do another it’ll be awesome.

      Thanks for sharing man!

  2. I tend to draw the line when I’m on the verge of tears and all I want to do is embark on a ‘Castle’ marathon. That’s when I know that I should perk up and embrace the fact that I gave it a damn good go.

    The thing is, success in anything is never linear. We have ups and downs and the trick is to not get too excited with the ups and not get too down with the… downs.

    Focus on the little goals and keep the big picture in mind. As you said, one step closer to your dreams. That’s all we can do – move forwards!

    • Hey Jamie,

      That’s great that you’re able to acknowledge those feelings and give yourself that friendly reminder, that hey, you’ve done well, be proud!

      Spot on man, we’ve all seen that picture with the arrows, what people think success looks like and the reality of the ups and downs, lefts and rights before finally reaching out goals.

      Just one step every day, it’s all you need!

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Kevin Cole /

      Totally agree man. Keeping the highs and lows in check is hugely important.

      I also love what you said about focusing on the little goals while keeping the big picture in mind. Spot on!

  3. Hey Jackson,

    Great fucking post!

    I can definitely relate to much of it.

    “If I don’t do 500 push ups in 10 minutes, I’m a failure”

    –> I fancy myself a fitness-kind-of-guy, but I’ve thought this ;)

    Awesome that you’re doing a 30-day experiment of 1000 words per day. I’ve gone through that as well.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Haha 500 pushups in 10 minutes is pretty intense stuff. But you’re definitely the kind of dude who could pull it off.

      Glad you resonated with this man!

    • Hey Ludvig!

      Thanks so much for the kind words, I’m really stoked it landed with you man!

      I think it’s definitely an experiment all bloggers should go through at some stage, you really learn a lot about yourself and your best operating times as a writer.


  4. Hi Jackson,

    I relate to this blog post. I recently had some personal issues and I didn’t write for my blog.

    I keep telling to myself that it’s not a big deal, but it bothers me.

    All I can do is catch up with my writing!

    I guess you’re right:
    “You’re still going to arrive at your destination; the only difference is you might not get there the way you planned.”

    Great post! :)

    • Kevin Cole /

      Yeah, I’ve been there before as well Karen. It can be super tough when you fall off track with your writing.

      Something that I like to do is have blog posts scheduled long in advance that way I know I can take a break and still have content to post.

  5. Hey Karen!

    I’m so stoked that this post could help you out and thanks!

    By letting it bother you, it just ends up making you feel bad and discouraged, it’s time to just get back on the horse (or in front of your laptop) and get to work :)

    All the best!

  6. Great post! One I can definitely relate to. I’ve learnt in recent years (and continue to learn) how important it is to keep a healthy balance between having high goals and standards whilst being good to yourself. Sometimes I’ve gotten so fixated on the goal I’ve not allowed myself to appreciate or value my progress. It’s definitely important to do both.

    • Kevin Cole /

      You make some really good points Micah. There needs to be a balance between achievement and appreciation so that you never stagnate but still enjoy the journey.

  7. Micah!

    So happy you can relate!

    That’s it man, just a second to appreciate what you’ve actually done so far on your journey is it all you need sometimes.

    Gives you the strength to keep going when you feel low and truly appreciate when you feel good about your progress!


  8. Let’s see – I think I decided I was going to blog every week this year. That was my new year’s resolution. I probably did about 40 posts so came up a little short on the new year’s resolution. It was partially because I became lazy and partially strategically to write less posts for my blog. I tried not to take it too hard on myself realizing that my writing or my posting schedule doesn’t define me as a person.

    THe big picture as others have mentioned are still in tact – still inspired to write, writing regularly and connecting with others along the process. And still motivated to keep going.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Hey buddy, thanks for sharing that. I never knew you had set that goal.

      52 posts in a year is no easy feat. But so is 40 posts in a year.

      At the end of the day, you still made huge amounts of progress in one year’s time.

      Here’s to a badass 2014!

  9. Hey Vishnu,

    Firstly, thanks for stopping by and contributing!

    From the sounds of it and the looks of your blog, I see a pretty successful 2013!

    You may have not stuck to 52 posts like you had once intended but sticking to ANYTHING for 12 months is a massive achievement in itself and you’ve really built solid foundations to build off in 2014 if that’s how you choose to proceed!

    Keep that fire alive in 2014 and don’t forget to pat yourself on the back on December 31st for a job well done!


  10. I haven’t given up on too many goals because I’ve messed up or been discouraged, but I’ve definitely given up on several because I’ve been too hard on myself.

    I’m one of those people who has the natural tendency to always set my goal posts a little beyond where I am at any moment. For example, if I planned on losing 5 pounds, I wouldn’t celebrate after I lose the weight; I would instead set an even higher goal of losing another few!

    Lately I’ve found a comfortable balance by finding ways to respect myself and always be happy, but at the same time always push myself.

    Awesome post, and an awesome reminder.

    • Kevin Cole /

      I definitely feel you on that Chris. I try to follow Tim Ferriss’ method of balancing achievement and appreciation.

      Because if you can’t be happy right now it’s going to be hard to ever be happy. And if you stop achieving and growing, then you’re dying a slow death.

      Thanks for sharing buddy!

      • Hey Chris!

        That’s it man, all about that balance.

        Like just imagine what goals you may have accomplished had you not been too hard on yourself? We all go through it though, the biggest thing is now that you’re acknowledging those feelings and finding a balance to continue to achieve and grow but taking that second to smell the flowers too along the way!


  11. I can relate strongly to this. I have this thing that when I do something very good, I take it for granted. I better do good.

    But when I do something bad, I can be very hard on myself. I used to be worst tho so luckily I’ve matured a little bit out of this.

    • Kevin Cole /

      I know what you mean Sebastian. It’s where the feeling of winning feels okay but the feeling of losing is heart wrenching.

      What’s helped me with this is just acknowledging progress on a regular basis. That way I know I’m constantly winning. By savoring those moments it tends to be a bit sweeter.

      Thanks for sharing man!

    • Hey Sebastian,

      I know those feelings, sometimes something works so well and you don’t even appreciate the fact you even put effort in so you expect in all other aspects of your life.

      I’m glad you’re finding your way out of that mindset and that the post related so well with you!

      Thanks for contributing!


  12. Kevin,

    Thanks for this post. It’s easy to get discouraged on goals sometimes, but I decided at some point that I’m going to have a “no-fail” attitude about certain things. I just won’t quit.

    So here’s a trick I’m trying out – instead of structuring goals in a way that are easily “messed up” like writing 1000 words a day (that can get messed up by missing just one day!) I’ve started structuring my goals so that I can catch up later on. It seems to be working.

    Other goals are proving harder. I used to be a runner. Used to be. Now I get blasted with killer migraines every time I try it. So right now I’m trying to figure out how to restructure that. I’m sorting out my goals around it, and if there are other ways I can actually achieve the same ends. So thank you for the reminder to be gentle with myself as I struggle with this goal!

    • Kevin Cole /

      That’s a really good approach Jessica. I’ve found that making things public also helps like crazy. I almost failed the 1000 words per day challenge, but the only thing that got me through it was the countless people who were waiting and watching.

      Structure plays a huge part in making goals become reality. i’m sure you’ll figure out a way to make running suck less :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Fantastic post, Jackson Anderson!

    Each of us (especially the people with big goals)have to learn to forgive and be merciful to our self’s. When we fail or don’t reach a goal, to readjust and focus on what we can do now or in the future rather than what has happened/or not happened. To forgive and then move forward.

    • Kevin Cole /

      “To forgive and then move forward.” That is the essence of this post man. You nailed it.

    • Hey Dan!

      Spot on bro, pretty much summed up the post in one paragraph haha!
      But that’s it man, as long as the end result is to “move forward” your head is in the right place !

      Cheers man!

  14. Hey Jackson, this post resonated with me. Sometimes I’m my own worst critic or my own worst enemy. It stems from perfectionism. I want everything done a certain way and I’m particular about it. But over the years I’ve learned to be more tolerant. Not everything will be perfect, in fact, it’s impossible for most things to be perfect.

    I do tend to be hard on myself and I come down hard, but I don’t let it discourage me. In fact I can’t think of a goal I’ve given up on over the past several years because of being hard on myself.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Hey Steve, it sounds like you found a nice balance between being hard on yourself and not letting it deter you from making things happen.

      I totally know what you mean about being a perfectionist, especially as a writer. But as we both know – done is better than perfect.

  15. I don’t let “failure” get in the way. I take it as a learning opportunity. I like how you point out it’s not worth it. It really isn’t.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Totally agree Alicia. The energy spent on worrying about failure could be spent in much better ways.

      Thanks for commenting!


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