Reframing Setbacks

As someone who has started and failed countless different regimens and programs in my life, I consider myself somewhat of an expert in the “setbacks” department. Whether it’s healthy eating habits, organizational goals, ascetical efforts, or exercise plans, I inevitably fall off the rails in one way or another and really struggle to get back on track.

There is this mean and critical voice in my head that berates me for my lack of discipline and makes me question why I even bother trying. If I’m not diligent about staying on guard against these temptations to cave to shame and despondency, I will stay down when I stumble.

So what does that diligence look like? How can we more intentionally protect ourselves  from giving up when we have an “off” day, or month, or year? Here are some ways to reframe our setbacks and keep moving forward:



Factor them into the journey

When starting a new wellness venture, include setbacks as part of the experience. By having a “when” not “if” perspective, we won’t be thrown off course by bumps in the road we already knew were coming.

Perfectionism is NOT our friend and must be avoided at all costs if we want to create and maintain healing habits that can weather the storms of life’s unexpected trials and upheavals.

True transformation is a "three steps forward, two steps back" kind of journey. Accept that from the get-go and you’ll be much better at pacing yourself, rather than quitting when the going gets tough.


Embrace a growth mindset rather than a fixed one 

A fixed mindset looks at failures as proof that you are utterly incapable of reaching your goals and changing your life. It assumes if you aren’t great at something immediately, you just don’t have what it takes to master a new skill, adopt a different mindset, or embark on a new vocation.

A growth mindset, however, looks at failures as valuable information that helps you steadily improve through practice, constructive feedback, and a better understanding of how, why, and when you tend to burn out or lose your momentum. 

A growth mindset requires humility, faith and gratitude and provides the hope and resilience necessary to get out of your comfort zone and open yourself up to energizing opportunities for fruitfulness.


Give thanks for reminders to turn Godward

Often times our setbacks are helpful wake-up calls. Perhaps we’ve ceased clinging to Christ for help and peace throughout the day and the resulting overwhelm and anxiousness has triggered our passions and impulsivity. 

For me that can look like stress eating, micromanaging family members, escaping online rather than staying on task, grumbling and complaining, etc.

My setbacks are like a gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit to return to the present moment, return to God, return to prayer and stillness, and to immediately get back up and begin again.


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