How to Move Forward After a Setback, Not a Failure

Moving Forward After a Setback

So you’ve had a setback while working toward your goals. It’s not a failure unless you give up and don’t try again. Now the question is, how do you motivate yourself to address the setback, recover and move forward again?

Definition of a Setback

The term “setback” itself can be misleading. It can make us feel like we’re going backwards and erasing the progress we’ve made. This gives the word a negative connotation, but a setback is ultimately a positive thing.

If you’ve had a setback, it means you had the strength to reach a place that you would like to return to. It is not some dream conjured up in your head. You know it’s real because you’ve already been there.

Think of setbacks instead as a check in progress and an opportunity. You can only experience one after you’ve experienced success. There was a time you might not have believed you could do what you did. Now that you know you can, try to imagine your current challenges as opportunities that are making you more capable and stronger for tomorrow.

Get Your Head Back in the Game

Here’s something you might not have been told yet: you’ve never really been out of the game. You haven’t actually fallen off the wagon. You just started paying more attention to the forces around you than the power within you.

To score again and recover from a setback, remember what you practiced before that made you feel like you could be victorious. Then, take some time to re-evaluate the current challenge that lies before you and ask yourself:

  • What is my vision? Where do I want to be in the future?
  • What is my desire? Why am I doing this? What is motivating me to change?
  • What is my capacity? How can I increase my knowledge, resources and support systems?

Key Takeaways

A setback doesn’t have to be negative. You can turn it into an opportunity to re-evaluate your current challenges against your vision and desires. In other words, you can consume the bad energy in your mind and let it weigh you down, feeling guilty and frustrated with yourself, or you can use that same energy to move yourself in a new direction. The choice is ultimately yours!

For more on this topic, read “Gettin’ Your Head in the Game: Regrouping After Setbacks” from the Obesity Action Coalition, Producer of the Your Weight Matters Campaign.

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