When faced with tough challenges, it can be tempting to throw in the towel. But experts say the power of goal-setting is fierce and the discipline behind it can help anyone overcome obstacles.
“Failure has the power to break you or it has the power to push you forward,” says Scout Bassett, a U.S. Paralympian in track and field. “Use your experiences as an opportunity to reevaluate your goals and move forward from there.”
Having lost a leg early in her life in China, Bassett spent her early childhood in an orphanage before being adopted by an American family. She came to the United States at the age of seven just wanting to fit in. As a child she discovered a love of running and set off on a path to qualify for the Paralympic Games. In her first attempt in 2012, she came in dead last and did not qualify for the team. She briefly considered giving up her dream.
This year, she is relishing the progress she has made. As a member of Team USA who competed in Rio, she’s showing off her skills on a global stage and participating in Citi’s “#StandForProgress” program to inspire all Americans to think about the progress they want to achieve in their lives.
Bassett offers the following insights into goal-setting.
• “Progress” doesn’t always come in the form of a medal or an award. Sometimes progress means you have to take a few steps back, go back to the drawing board, see what worked and what didn’t, and find a way forward from there. Most of us experience setbacks, disappointments and even failures sometimes, but ultimately those moments can be the greatest motivators.
• The biggest struggles you face may not be the ones handed to you by fate or outside forces. They may be the battles you fight within. Look past your own inner voice discouraging you from your hopes and dreams. Developing mental fortitude is a continuous process.
• You can’t change the past but you can help write the future. Embrace and focus on what you have gained, not what you have lost.
• Don’t let naysayers hinder your progress or cause you to lose faith in yourself. The beauty of being underestimated is you have an opportunity to defy the odds. Use pessimism to motivate you.
• No one can do it alone, so don’t be afraid to rely on the help of others. Even at times when you don’t believe in yourself, there may be others who do.
Citi’s Stand for Progress program explores how all of us define progress, set goals, overcome obstacles and support and inspire others to do the same. Americans can share how they stand for progress by using #StandForProgress and posting their own goals on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Whether it’s eating healthier, saving money for a house, or spending more time with loved ones, it helps to clarify your goals by writing them down.