5 ways to make a comeback after a setback

Have you ever heard of any super successful person who hadn’t had a major setback or two on the way to the top? My guess is no.

> Oprah was fired from her first television broadcasting job.

> Walt Disney was once told that he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.

> Michael Jordan was cut from his Varsity basketball team his sophomore year of high school.

The thing these three people all had in common? Resilience and persistence.

When we set out to reach a goal, there will always be setbacks. Bumps in the road should be expected no matter what the goal, because that’s just a fact of life. 

You’re swimming along on your newly developed fitness plan, then you get injured.

You’re next in line for a promotion at work then your company decides to hire someone else for the position.

Your nutrition in ON. POINT then you go on vacation and it throws a wrench in your routine.

And while these things happen, and it can really sting at the time, it’s important to have a few strategies in your back pocket for pulling yourself back up when you get knocked down.


5 ways to make a comeback after a setback

1. Redefine what a setback actually means.

If you’ve ever followed a diet and you’ve had a slip-up or you ate “off-plan” more than you expected to, you know what this feels like. It feels like failing, it feels like you don’t have enough willpower to make it stick, it feels like you’re going back to square one…again.

Or maybe you’re on a kick-ass workout regimen and making some serious headway towards your goal, then you get injured.  You’re forced to take time off from working towards that goal, and again, feel like a failure, feel like you’re not in control of your body and it can be really hard to get motivated to give it another go. 

When setbacks happen, you have to redefine what it means to fail.  To be successful at anything, it takes a lot of motivation and determination, but more than anything else, success sort of requires failure.  

Setbacks are an amazing opportunity to reassess, learn and grow.

Setbacks mean we can learn to not make that same mistake again and switch things up.

Setbacks mean we can reassess our methods and strategies to build other ones that might work better.  

When we have a setback, we have two choices:

A- Beat ourselves up about it.


B- Think about what you can do differently next time. 

Maybe it’s being more mindful when you eat, maybe it’s finding another way to get some movement in, but remember that option B will keep you moving forward towards your goal whereas A will keep you stuck. 


2. Feel the anger, disappointment and frustration, then take personal responsibility for what happened.

Like I said before, when we have a setback it can feel pretty sucky.  We have goals!  We have a plan!  And when something happens and the plan gets shot to hell, we’re left feeling disappointed and frustrated and it’s important to let yourself experience that frustration.  The key, though, is not dwelling on it and getting stuck here. This is the time to look at what went wrong, what you can do to fix it and then come up another method or activity to fill the void that you’re missing.


3. Focus on the process and the WHY. Not the goal.

We can become so attached to an outcome that when we don’t meet out expectations we feel defeated when we don’t gt that specific result. So when you have a setbaack, think of another way.  There’s always more than one way to do anything so if the first thing you try isn’t working in the moment, try something new. This means you’re taking attention away from hitting that specific goal and instead focusing how different way to get there which means less pressure to GET THERE ASAP and more opportunity get creative with your methods and respect the process.

Also, and more importantly, think about WHY you want to reach this goal.  What is it about reaching your goal that drives you and makes you feel passionate about reaching it? Your answers to this question needs to be strong enough to pull you up off your butt when you get knocked down and motivate you to keep moving forward.


4. Remember that a setback is TEMPORARY

Nothing lasts forever and that’s never truer than when we’re talking about a setback.  Will your diet be “off track” forever?  No. Not unless you choose it to be.  Will your injury last forever? No. It might take a month or so to heal, but in the grand scheme of things is a month really that long?

Remember that a setback will pass. It always does. The key is learning the lesson from the setback, making any necessary changes and being grateful for the experience because you can learn A LOT from it- which leads us to our last strategy for handling a setback…


5. Find gratitude.

So you went off the rails when you were on vacation, you ate and drank more than you were planning, you only got to the gym once and it’s really getting you down. The bigger picture? YOU WERE ON VACATION!

If you get injured in the gym and can’t do certain exercises, be grateful for the hundreds of exercises you can still do!  Sure they might not be goal-specific, but at the very least you still have the opportunity to exercise.

If you get passed by for a promotion at work, maybe it’s time to finally start exploring that passion of yours for a new career that’s been lying just below the surface and waiting to come out.

When you have a setback, make a list of all the things you’re grateful for. You’ll find that a small setback is nothing in comparison to how great your life really is.


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