Motivation Articles

How to Deal with Setbacks

Bounce Back from Life's Hurdles

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We’ve all hit that bump in the road, the setback, the problem. What sets people apart is how they react to that bump. Are you one to spin out of control, in despair? Or do you grab a hold of that wheel and steer yourself straight? Whether it’s a school assignment, a work project, or a volunteer mission, we all encounter things that slow us down. You just have to keep in mind that a setback is only temporary and greater things lay ahead.

It is easy just to quit, give up and ignore the hard work you have put into something. But at SparkPeople, we believe in the "two steps forward, one step back" philosophy. So what if something bad happens? Keep moving forward, developing what you have. You’ve already built a solid foundation on which you can rely. Hard work can’t be overlooked.

So how can you react when something doesn’t turn out as you’ve expected? First, be objective. Step back and look at the situation. Take responsibility where it is due, but don’t place blame on others. Is your setback really that significant, or will it just require a little extra exertion on your part? Come to terms with it and then start planning your next move. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to do this. Oftentimes, people are more than willing to give you support and advice, maybe even after being in a similar situation. You don’t have to be perfect; after all, nobody else is.

Bounce back. Reevaluate the goals you should have set for yourself at the beginning and retool them as necessary. Goals should be realistic and specific, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be flexible and are allowed for minor impediments. Instead of looking at your project as a disaster or failure, view it with success. Concentrate on how great it will feel after it is finally done, after you have put your all into it. Instead of focusing on a possible unsatisfactory performance one single time, take a moment to sit back and reward yourself for all that you have accomplished. Continued ›

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About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.

Member Comments

  • I must remember to keepi my solid foundation and never give up! - 3/1/2016 8:47:18 AM
  • Good morning Liz, well written information. I have found at this point in time, I am more conscientious about what I eat at each meal and snacking. Do I have the proper ingredients for protein, fats, carbs, etc. I am trying not to fly by the seat of my pants when I go out with friends. Skip the fries and replace with a salad. I am really enjoying my food groups and exercising more often. My energy level has also increased. - 1/28/2016 10:57:05 AM
    very inspirational. So glad to have found this page on how to deal with setbacks. I am finding Spark People has so many helps that I have not used before. - 11/2/2015 3:05:13 PM
  • The last sentence was a bit of an over-simplificati
    on: Wanting it badly and working very hard to achieve it are not absolutes; we humans are very complex. Up to that point, I found the article to be very encouraging. Thank you for posting it. - 10/15/2015 1:18:22 PM
  • Great article. I have been feeling pretty badly about my journey. I really needed this.


    Nola - 9/21/2015 6:56:52 PM
  • I'm too hard on myself! I've been doing SP for more than 7 years, have kept most all the weight off, am nearly 80, cook for 7 people and beat myself up when I get off track. Sometimes I am just too tired to give myself special attention.
    Thanks for this article, I needed that! - 9/10/2015 6:05:24 PM
  • Lovely article. Just what I needed to hear today. - 7/8/2015 1:00:06 PM
  • I need to refocus and think on this article. Thanks! - 5/18/2015 9:40:21 AM
    This was perfect for today. stuck at 205.8. So close to my first small goal. I'll get there.
    Thanks. - 3/7/2015 7:30:03 AM
  • Thank you! - 10/14/2014 10:57:43 AM
    You are all beautiful........
    .me let's get back on track......togeth
    er - 6/20/2014 11:14:02 PM
  • Thank you - 12/29/2013 11:18:09 AM
    thank you, I needed this today. Good timin - 9/27/2013 6:26:01 PM
    TY - 1/23/2013 10:16:49 AM
  • I personally have been going through some difficulties lately where I can't seem to get out of the darkness thats encasing me but I really enjoyed reading this article & its giving me hope that the light will shine again hopefully soon! Thank you for writing this article! - 12/10/2012 8:08:50 AM

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