Setbacks may be inevitable. However, that doesn’t make them any easier to accept or the accompanying pain or disappointment that we at times experience. In many ways, 2020 was a setback for most of us. Dreams, plans that we had, goals that we wanted to achieve, all may have been postponed or delayed more or less.
The greatest challenge is getting the desire and will to move forward again, especially when a setback may cause a voice of discouragement inside us to say, “what’s the use?” or “why even bother trying?” It is that same voice which suggests to us that we have now moved further away from, rather than closer to our goals. Moving past that voice is crucial.
“To have a comeback, you have to have a setback.” – Mr. T.
We’ve been hurt and disappointed by something that was unexpected or didn’t work out in the way that we had planned or anticipated. However, there are steps that we can take toward making our own comeback now. These steps can move us past our pain and get us back on the road toward our goals and dreams once again.
The first step in moving on is taking small and gradual actions that begin to push us forward and further away with each step, from any disappointment or setbacks that we have been through.
Here are four strategies that have helped me to start moving forward again and beyond setbacks:
1. Write About It and Create a Vision Board
Journaling is a great way to get out any frustration, disappointment or anger that you may feel toward a disappointment in life. It feels great to just release all of that onto the page and in a way to start freeing yourself of it. However, after pouring out that frustration onto the page, the inevitable next question is, “What’s next?” and for me that seems to arise naturally as a part of the journaling process. It’s an exciting place to be because our viewpoint is naturally starting to change on its own. Journaling lets you begin to consider that question and to also begin thinking about those first moves toward meaningfully moving forward again.
After journaling, creating a vision board with beautiful images also serves as a great way to get motivated again. There are so many beautiful images in magazines or on the web that you can print out and then paste onto a brightly colored piece of poster board. Collect images that uplift you and that reflect that next chapter or experience in your life that you want to have. It’s great to have something that is aspirational in front of you and represents for you alone, where you’re moving toward each day.
A vision board can help keep our standards high and keep us looking forward toward what we want, rather than focusing on the past.
2. Start Exercising
Exercising helps us to get that winning attitude back into our lives. It helps us to take control of our path again. We move out of the mind and get into the body. The release of endorphins and change of focus does something powerful. All of a sudden we’re not thinking so much about the setbacks that have taken place, but have rather changed our focus to doing something right in the present moment that is good and progressive for ourselves. Great ideas also tend to come when we’re relaxed or doing something that doesn’t involve focusing on the problem or a disappointment that has taken place. Exercising makes us feel better, puts us back in control and helps with fostering a can do attitude that we can use to help propel ourselves forward. It’s a small and progressive step that can lead to positive changes both physically, as well as directionally in our lives as a whole.
“I think whether you’re having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude.” – Colin Powell
3. Answer Only The Fans
Our time and energy is precious. Give back to those who contribute to you in some way. We don’t need to use our resources arguing or responding to the haters who aren’t in our corner anyway. It is not as though we are going to convince them to suddenly change their minds about us. We are not accountable to our haters, but can be responsive to those who are on our side, who have supported us and who continue to add value to our lives. A fan club is a collection of people who support or value the work of a celebrity, athlete, singer, performer etc. Celebrities often give private VIP concerts and performances just for those who are members of their fan clubs. We too can use our energy to share ideas, inspiration and our own responsiveness with those who we know are in our corner in a similar way.
4. Start Small But Make It New and Different
Modern day passenger ships are built in pre-constructed blocks that are then put together to form a massive vessel. We can do the same by making a small effort to work on something that is new and different and that moves us in the direction that we now want to go in our lives after a setback or disappointment. We don’t have to build the whole ship at once so to speak and be overwhelmed by the enormity of the project or what we now want to do differently in our lives.
We can just pick one new thing and begin working on that small metaphorical block in our lives. Eventually all of those blocks can be put together to create something new, radically different and positive in our lives. In a way, the setback has now led us on to this new path and we can begin on it through one small, building block type action at a time.
Writing about our frustrations, but then asking positive and forward moving questions in a journal, creating a vision board, exercising, using our energy only to respond to those who give energy back to us, and starting small on something new and different are all small and gradual steps that we can use to successfully start moving away from any setbacks that we experience. In a way, the setback can be the event which finally propels us forward onto a new, brighter and even better path than we may have ever otherwise anticipated.