I’ve written about strategies to reach a goal, but what happens if you have a setback or outright failure on your journey? Spoiler alert: you probably will because life rarely (if ever) goes perfectly to plan. So, today I’m sharing my best tips for how to overcome failure and ensure you aren’t derailed for good.
Before we dive in, did you see my post on Instagram? I hinted that I have some big news about Twist of Fate on the way and that my valued email subscribers will be the first to know, in addition to getting a free gift for being so damn awesome. Not subscribed yet? What are you waiting for?! I’ll never spam you, I promise.
Now back to how to overcome failure. This post is inspired by fitness journey. I’ve lost a significant amount of weight by eating healthy food and working out at home. I have a thyroid condition, so every pound I’ve lost has been a struggle and huge milestone. Imagine my surprise when recently the scale started to creep in the wrong direction and my hard earned progress was in jeopardy.
It’s easy to get complacent, stop working hard, fall into old habits that no longer serve you and take the path of least resistance. And when that happens, it’s very easy to get down on yourself, start up the negative self-talk and ultimately feel worse (and perhaps even lose more progress).
How to overcome failure
Don’t rely on motivation alone. I don’t know about you, but when I watch a motivational talk or read an inspiring book (Big Magic is my favourite), I’m all gung ho for like 12 minutes. Real life kicks in quickly and if you’re relying on wanting to do something or feeling inspired to do it, then ultimately you’ll fail.
There will be hard days and you’ll have to rely on your drive, determination and commitment rather than a deep rooted desire to give up cheese and chocolate or to type until your hands cramp.
From a writing perspective, I shared tips to beat writers’ block, which I feel is more or less a lazy excuse for not wanting to sit in the chair alone in the room and do the work. Not so glamourous, right? I’m never panicking to meet deadlines because I don’t procrastinate. I do the work, even when it sucks.
And if there’s a rare day that I don’t, I forgive myself and move on, doing the work the next day instead.
Don’t forget how far you’ve come. Gaining five pounds back when you’ve lost over 60 isn’t a nice feeling, but it’s also not the end of the world. I tell myself: you lost all that weight before and you can do it again. Celebrate how amazingly awesome you are, how hard you’ve worked and how far along you are on your journey rather than punishing yourself for a misstep.
Don’t make excuses. I just told you not to punish yourself for missteps, but that doesn’t mean you can board the excuse train either. There will always be extra cake in the lunch room, someone’s birthday to celebrate, or a “reason” to eat like crap and/or skip a workout, so you can’t keep putting it off until everyone around you is only eating carrot sticks.
Make the time for yourself, whether that’s at 5 in the morning or 10 at night, and get your workout in (it’s easy when you workout at home for free). Meal prep in advance so you aren’t making decisions while hangry and stuffing your face with cupcakes because you don’t have anything else for lunch.
Reframe your mind. My daily meditation practice is critical to my wellbeing and ensuring I’m in the right headspace to approach challenges. I’ve called this article how to overcome failure, but don’t think of yourself as a failure.
You are an imperfect human being, like all of us, but can you honestly say that you’ve done your best (not just done what’s easiest)? Make sure you’re putting in the work because your body (or your unfinished manuscript) is keeping an accurate tally even if you aren’t.
Take it one day at a time. If you’ve gained a significant amount of weight, chances are you don’t have a great relationship with food and there is some pathological behavior that needs to be changed, whether that’s not binge eating anymore or not using food as an emotional crutch.
The thought of never eating a donut again (try a healthy one!) might just be more than you can stand. But what about today? Can you not eat a donut today? Get through the day, and the next one becomes easier because you’re stronger and have seen that you can do it.
Changes don’t have to be life shattering, but they do have to be consistent. Consistency eventually pays off, so just keep going. I promise there is an intersection at hard work and success.
How do you overcome failure? Share your tips with me in the comments!
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