Although it would be ideal to always be moving forward, succeeding, reaching our goals, or improving, setbacks will and do occur. It is naïve to think that you will never have a setback, problem, or failure in your life. The key is how we react to them and overcome them that will ultimately determine if we will continue to be successful and move forward or if we will give up and quit. Setbacks and failures can happen in all areas of our lives: professionally, academically, socially, romantically, emotionally, personally, athletically, financially, intellectually, and so on. Setbacks and failures are most often viewed as negatives, but it can be extremely beneficial to think of them as positives, or ways to change, learn, and grow. We all have our good days and bad ones, but making sure the bad ones don’t impact us more than they should is crucial to our happiness and well-being.

Try again or try an alternative. Sometimes practice does make “perfect” (although expecting perfection can set you up for failure and is not realistic. Rather determine what you consider successful or positive for you). You may have a setback or a failure the first time you try something, but try again. Maybe it was bad timing, you weren’t feeling your best, the other person was having a bad day, or some other factor was contributing to your setback or failure. Try again! You will never know if you can do something if you don’t try. You can also look at the setback or failure and see if there was another way you could have approached or attempted it and try an alternate method that still gets you to the goal or outcome you want. There is always more than one way to do something, so keep trying!

Accept it, learn from it, and move on. It’s okay to have negative feelings or reactions to a setback or failure, it’s human nature. Everyone has times of feeling down, stressed out, overwhelmed, or hopeless, but it’s important not to wallow in the negative feelings and make the situation worse. Focusing on the negative will only lead to a cycle or downward spiral of negativity. You need to be able to acknowledge the negative feeling, understand it is okay to have negative feelings, learn from the situation, experience, or feelings, accept the emotions and setback or failure, and move on. You cannot go back and change what happened in the past, so sometimes the best thing, even the only thing, to do is accept it and move on. Take a step back or time to relax and keep going.

Prepare for future setbacks or failures. Knowing that setbacks or failures will occur in your future can help you to be able to better prepare for and overcome them. Keep your goals in mind, why you started in the first place, the importance of the goal or outcome to you, and how far you have come. Know what areas or triggers could result in setbacks or failures and have a plan or alternative in place for predictable situations. Try to be more mindful and present in the moment, find ways to relax and feel peaceful, know that sometimes you can’t change the situation and will be able to move on from it. But most of all, don’t judge yourself or think negatively about setbacks or failures, they happen to everyone and they are an opportunity to change and grow.

The next time you find yourself in difficult situation, setback, or failure, know that you can and are going to get through it and come out a better, stronger, more resilient person than before. You will be ready and you will be able to handle it!