Setbacks happen to everyone. In fact, it is extremely improbable that you’re going to achieve any goals without a few setbacks. That’s fine! Here are three tips to help you handle the setbacks if and when they do occur.
Tip #1: Acknowledge them. Stuffing the setback under the rug, so to speak, isn’t healthy. Along with the setback being repressed and ignored, there are likely feelings tied to that setback that are being repressed or ignored. When you have a setback, whether it is picking up a cigarette, eating a food you’re not supposed to be eating, or skipping a workout, it usually helps to acknowledge the setback. Acknowledge your feelings about it. Are you angry with yourself? Are you sad? Disappointed? Maybe you’re feeling defiant: “I’m going to eat this cake because I deserve it.” Acknowledge any and all feelings associated with the setback. Once you’ve acknowledged the setback and the associated feelings, accept them as normal, don’t judge yourself, and let the feelings and the setback go.
Tip #2: Examine and learn from them. Why did you have a setback? Was there an event that set you up for failure? For example, if you don’t eat enough lean protein with each meal, your blood sugar can spike and then of course plummet, leaving you craving those sugary carbs which are probably not on your diet. Did a bad day at work or a fight with a friend send you straight to the drive-thru? What caused the setback and what can you do differently next time? In the previous example, you now know that you will suffer a setback unless you include lean protein in your meals. This is empowering and will help you avoid a setback next time. Setbacks happen and they don’t have to be negative if you can learn from them.
Tip #3: Focus on the positive. We tend to judge ourselves on our failures. We pull into the drive-thru or drive right past they gym on our way home, tossing the gym bag in the back of the car where we can’t see it. Five, ten, or even sixty minutes later we’re beating ourselves up for the decision. Rather than focusing on what you did wrong, consider what you did right today. Surely there was something! Grab a pen and paper and write down everything that went right in your day. Once you have a smile back on your face and are feeling good, look to tomorrow. Tomorrow is a chance to start over and do it right.