Motivation Articles

How to Deal with Setbacks

Bounce Back from Life's Hurdles


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.

Above all, don’t live with regrets. Approach life with perseverance and dedication to the things that matter most to you. Success is never easy. It remains up to you whether you will give up, or fight through the tough battles to earn whatever it is you want.

A fragment of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson is telling:

"Finish each day
And be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and
Absurdities have crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can."

Move on with your life. Keep reaching for your goals and you will achieve them. One minor setback is nothing if you really want something and are willing to work for it.

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Member Comments

  • Just broke a week long stall. 1.8 pounds!
    Well said. Thank you.
    Today I don't concentrate on one little miss-step but all of the tiny successes I had that day.
  • Just what I needed to read today!!!
  • Fall down seven times...stand up eight!
  • I have been on this plateau for over a year!!!! Doctor says that is ok, but to me, with the effort I am putting in it is definitely NOT OK! The frustration level is high yet I have tried to maintain my focus. It may be time to make some drastic changes. I will reflect on that and see what I can do. This is my one step back, time to take two steps forward!!
  • Love the quote! Interesting article!
  • Trying hard not to be my own worst critic...and enemy!
  • This helps me greatly! I lost 92 pounds and in the past year have gained back 45. So the reality is I have learned some wonderful things and established many great habits. So, this helps me re-evaluate and just move forward, after all, God gave me a new day!
  • That was a timely article. Haven't had a great week of results and it was good to get some perspective.
  • Well, I did lose enough weight to help me be at my optimal size using SparkPeople several years ago, but now I'm back to the original size that I was when I first started on SparkPeople. #facepalm Oops. But, I'm not going to feel bad. I've done it before and I know I can do it again.
  • I had been staring at this article for weeks. It was added to my daily tabs that open every day my browser was clicked, so it was always before me, waiting for me to actually read it. Today I did, and I am glad. Feel a little more encouraged about my flaws.
  • I just can't seem to lose. I have been at the same weight for two weeks. I lost some at first but it has stopped. I have begun to do more exercise and I am not cheating on my diet. no more than 1200 calories a day . anyone got any idea what I can do to get going again. I want to just quit but I can not do that.
    Great article if I may add (for me) daily I give may all to God, and at the end of the day I leave everything with God. because His word tells me in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." and when I feel I have not reach the mark I hold true to God's word with: Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
    Now once again this is me, but maybe just maybe someone out there it is them too... :)

About The Author

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

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