Written by 8:30 am Pursue Greatness

How to Still Make Progress After a Setback

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Setbacks suck.

Injuries happen in the gym. Layoffs happen in the office. Miscarriages happen in the relationship.

Life is full of setbacks & challenges that can feel like a punch to the gut. It’s so easy in these moments, when we find ourselves flat on the floor after something knocks us out, to simply quit. The pain of that moment – or perhaps the pain of our expectations around what we loss (health, job, etc) – feels like more than we can handle.

So we retreat into ourselves, promising to never feel that way again or go after that one thing again.

For one day, this is completely ok. It’s good to grieve this disappointment. It’s 100% ok to sit in the pain of this moment. None of us are invincible. Everyone hurts during life’s toughest moments.

But it’s only Champions who choose to get back to their feet the next day.

We all get the grace to grieve, scream, curse, and complain for a day. But at midnight, it’s a new day and time for Champions to get back after it.

Most people use the pain of one setback to be their excuse going forward.

  • I tore my ACL. I just can’t workout at all for a year.
  • I lost the job I loved. The world is out to get me. I’ll just bury my sorrow in Netflix and booze.
  • I was making great progress at my gym, now it’s closed. I can’t workout at all.

All three things – torn ACL, lost a job, closed gym – suck. But what sucks more? Those people’s responses. It’s devoid of responsibility for their actions and lacks the awareness for what they really are – excuses to not do anything.

Take for example:

  • I tore my ACL. It sucks, but I can still lift upper body while rehabbing my knee.
  • I lost the job I loved. I need to reconnect with my network, clean up my resume, & start looking for new opportunities.
  • I was making great progress at my gym, now it’s closed. I better sign up for an at-home workout program & keep my progress going!

Setbacks happen. Injuries occur. But don’t use the excuse that just because you can’t do exactly what you want, you can’t do anything.

Understand what’s in your control. Shift your perspective from what you can’t do to what you still can. Ask yourself, what can I do with my controllables (action, attitude, effort, focus)?

  • What can you still do?
  • What modifications can you make to your workouts or work so you keep progressing?
  • What attitude will you choose to have today? (This is a big one because each one of us are being watched. How we handle adversity helps tell others how they should too).

Set a time limit for your disappointment. Utilize the alarm in your phone and set it for an hour, an afternoon or just one day. Learn about the Midnight Rule and how winners utilize this mental trick to get past disappointment and get going again after their goals.

Focus on just today. Get your eyes off of what was so you can make the most of what is. We fail to make the most of what we can still do when our focus is fixated on what happened in the past. The past is past. Don’t stare at it too much or you’ll miss out on today.

Don’t let what you can’t do be the excuse that keeps you from doing what you can. We can all make excuses when we aren’t able to do everything we want. Most people do. Be someone who still looks for what they can do, even if it’s not exactly what they want. It’s the one, sure-fire way to make sure that you’ll be able to do what you want again one day.

Choose an optimistic perspective. Manage your focus and self-talk. Choose to be optimistic. This isn’t fake positivity, but instead being real with the challenge you’re facing while still looking for the opportunities to grow & improve.

It sucks you’re injured, but now you can work on different muscles & take back some gym time for more family time.

I know you loved that job but you hated your boss. Now you can work on finding a better culture to continue thriving in your career.

Be real with what happened. Look for positive opportunities in what you can do going forward.

One key to building an optimistic perspective lies in how you talk to yourself. Here are a few steps to improving that voice in your head for the better.

Life won’t go according to plan.

We’re going to experience setbacks, failures, & injuries along the way to our goal. How we respond during those challenging storms will determine how setup we are to succeed once we get through them.

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