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  • Sunday Sanctuary

Five Ways to Recover from a Setback

Setbacks happen to the best of us; even the most well thought out plan can go to pot with an unknown unknown throwing a spanner into the mix. As the setback is inevitable, the more important part of the process is learning how to deal with it.

Support System

Nurturing a support system is one of the easiest things to forget when things are going well. We can be our own best friend, cheerleader, and crutch when it's plain sailing, but a failure to invest time in sharing your success, hopes, and dreams with others will make it even more difficult to go to them for a shoulder to cry on when things get tough. Not only will support systems be there for you emotionally, but having a second, third, and fourth pair of eyes might help you see things through a new, positive light.


We have a real tough time with the binary idea of failure and success. Failure has so many negative connotations attached to it that we're often so focused on achieving the end goal, we forget to appreciate the importance of the growth to be found in the means. When you fall, it's vital to allow yourself to feel a bit pants about it - it's much healthier than ignoring your feelings and ploughing on, because it means any future venture is more likely to succumb to a lesson that hasn't been learned.

Don't Be A Victim

The above being said, the polar opposite isn't healthy either. Whilst you're allowed to feel sadness, disappointment, and generally bummed out, a line needs to be drawn between a healthy negative reaction, and wallowing in it. It can be easy to play the victim, blame others, and refuse to pull yourself out of the hole of 'failure' - but this is just a defence mechanism to avoid feeling bad about any other setbacks the future holds. Pull yourself together and handle your negative emotions with maturity; talking them through with loved ones if you need an objective point of view.

Develop a Growth Mindset

Rather than seeing the world in black and white; failure/success, winning/losing, take a moment to reframe your approach to challenges. Rather than seeing a setback as a failure, see it as an opportunity to learn, and try again. Developing a growth mindset has a lot more benefit and chance of success in future than a fixed one - so nurture an attitude that thrives from the process rather than from the end result.

Be Prepared

Creating a strategy for best and worst case scenarios is not only practical, but helps you feel more in control when things go wrong. Make sure to have a Plan A, B, C, all the way down to Z so that you can feel confident in the knowledge that there is never only one path to reaching your goal.

Final Note

Life can't be fun and games all the time, but whilst we can't control events, we can control our attitude. Remembering all the good things in our lives works wonders for self-esteem, and puts our problems into perspective. Next time things go wrong, practice some gratitude, hang out with people that make you happy, and give as much thought to your blessings as you do to the bumps in the road.


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