Whenever we make big changes it’s inevitable that we will encounter a few setbacks along the way. Trying to improve our career prospects, health, fitness or working on any other personal goals can be difficult. We grow from these positive changes, but it’s not always comfortable. Plateaus and setbacks are perfectly normal, and it may be the secret of success that you need.
Sometimes we may even relapse into unhealthy habits. We may start to wonder if we should just give up. But recovering from a setback can make us even more resolute in our new habits.
A study from the Queensland University of Technology found that, when parents interfered in their children’s natural recovery from failure, they negatively affected their ability to learn from their mistakes. Wanting to cushion the blow of our children’s failures can stunt their personal growth. Those parents were guilty of “overparenting” and made their kids feel like they couldn’t solve their own problems.
Failure is painful. It can feel impossible to bounce back. But recovering from a setback can make us feel proud and instill in us a sense of confidence and self-reliance. In fact, failure is actually essential in achieving success, according to Forbes. By experiencing failures and making mistakes, we learn how to overcome obstacles in the future, how to refine our plans and goals and start to develop strategies for coping with unexpected outcomes. In short, we become more adaptable and flexible the more we fail.
So the next time you find yourself facing a barrier to success, remember these essential steps.
Give Yourself a Break
If all our changes in life were easy and stress-free, would we ever learn anything? It is through adversity and struggles that we challenge ourselves and begin to think more creatively to solve our problems. Remember that you are only human and making mistakes is a very necessary part of life. Don’t beat yourself up, accept the failure and make a plan to move forward.
Learn From Your Mistakes
It’s also important not to dismiss failure without any introspection. Failures can only teach us something if we bother to learn from them. Write down what happened, and ask yourself what elements led up to the failure? How could it have been prevented? And what can you do next time to prevent the same outcome?
Set Up Provisions for the Future
Set yourself up for success by making it easy to avoid the barriers and obstacles that led to your previous setback. This might mean preparing your snacks the night before if you are trying to eat healthier, or packing your workout gear and putting it in the car if you want to commit to exercising more often. Small practical steps can make it easier for you to achieve your goals.
Assemble your Support Crew
It’s okay to ask for help! Enlist the help of people you love and trust. Let them know how they can support you in achieving your goals. And alert them to previous challenges you faced so that you can avoid them in the future.
Remember You Are in Good Company
Scientists understand the importance of failure perhaps more than any other industry. All the major scientific and medical breakthroughs in the history of mankind have come after innumerable mistakes, failures, and setbacks. That commitment to persevering is what has led to all our modern discoveries. Many successful creative people also encounter rejection and failure before realizing their dreams.
JK Rowling, for example, received 12 rejections from publishers for her novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. When she gave a commencement speech to the graduating students of Harvard, she told those gathered:
“Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.”
So what is the secret of success? It’s to embrace those setbacks, make a new plan for the future and get right back on track.
Bouncing back from a setback of your own? Don’t forget to show yourself some compassion. Try the Compassion Meditation in the Fabulous app to give yourself some much-needed love.