A few months ago, I came home to find my year-old son upset because he could not complete the number of push-ups required in his P. He was frustrated, humiliated, and disappointed in himself. That one sentence ignited a spark.
How To Bounce Back From A Setback
My son began rising at 5 a. He walked in the door from school and did push-ups. He did push-ups before he went to bed. Sure enough, his repetitions increased—and so did his confidence. In the meantime, I was working toward my own goal—a century bike ride. One hundred miles in one day.
It was a daunting challenge for this year-old, who had begun riding just six months earlier. But I had been training hard, I'm physically fit, and I had recently completed an mile ride at a pace I was proud of. Eighteen more would be a cinch—or so I thought. The morning of the ride dawned. It was cloudy, gray, and humid, and I knew when I woke up that something was "off. I couldn't find my pace. I couldn't get my breathing under control. My right hip cramped, and my left knee ached. I slogged along, getting slower and slower.
Everything hurt and my legs were screaming at me to stop, but I wouldn't—I couldn't.
I kept at it, blinking back tears and gritting my teeth while dozens of riders passed me by. Riders who were 50 pounds heavier. Riders who were 20 years older.
5 Step Plan To Turning Any Setback Into A Comeback
Riders who hadn't been training as long as I had—until eventually I found myself alone on a long stretch of road with just my inner critic for company—and she was a real bitch! Why don't you just quit already? Alternately cursing and crying, I completed 55 miles before I finally threw in the towel and admitted defeat. It was a long ride home, and when I got there, I burst into tears and told my waiting family, "I just couldn't do it. At that point, my year-old got up, wrapped his sore arms around me, and said, "Today, Mom.
1. Understand what went wrong
It was a turning point for me—a chance to find out if I am as resilient and strong as I think I am. To find out if I really believe that age is a number, and if I am willing to put my money where my mouth is when it comes to teaching my children to be kind not only to others—but to themselves. I am fond of saying that it is not our setbacks that define us but how we bounce back from those setbacks that determine who we are. My son had worked hard and had not only completed but exceeded his required number of push-ups. What was I made of? I had a choice to make. I could wallow in self-pity, licking my wounds, or I could swallow my pride, assess the situation, listen to my body, get some rest, and try again.
I decided to try again, and I completed my first century ride just four months later. We all have that inner critic—but it is up to us whether to listen to her or whether to tell her to sit down and shut up. The only real failure comes when we let her win. I'm all about a good cry, but know when to dry your eyes and get on with it. Everyone has an "off" day, but it doesn't equate to an "off" life. A little perspective, please! This is a tough one for me, as I tend to be "slightly" competitive. But there's no shame in taking some time off to rest and regroup.
It doesn't make you weak; it makes you smart! There are plenty of "friends" who need you to fail—it validates them. Find the ones who are around to pick you up and dust you off when you do—those folks are the real deal. In this case, I still rode 55 miles, even while not feeling my best. Was it what I wanted? Could I have done it better? But did I accomplish something I couldn't do just six months ago? You bet.
Did you get it?
You can't be the best version of yourself every single day. There are days when you are a powerhouse and days when you need to treat yourself gently. Learn to recognize the difference and adjust accordingly. By doing this you can start the process of transformation, for it is on the other side of the setback that we realize we are not going to be the same person we were before. We are going to be wiser, stronger, and better for it. Acknowledge that through the tough times, the miracles of transformation happen, and we can flourish on the other side.
We are capable of doing amazing things—and even more if we can grow through our challenges. Things happen for no obvious reason sometimes. Exploring the way forward is much healthier than trying to blame someone or something for a setback that is irreversible. Spirituality can sustain us in times of uncertainty and difficulty. Spirituality reminds us that we are a gift , and have gifts to offer the world. Our job right now is to discover these gifts and to remove the setbacks so we can give them to others in the future.
Just as we need to allow time for wounds and broken hearts to mend, we need to allow ourselves time to overcome our setbacks. Impatience only makes them harder and longer than they need to be. We are in such a hurry to fix our problems and move on; usually this impatience is a pattern that overflows into other areas of our life. I am terribly guilty of impatience, and the only solution I have found is focusing on and enjoying other things while allowing a setback to be resolved in its own time.
I try to remember what really matters. I think back to happy memories and keep faith that after this setback I will be where I want to be. It serves no purpose to dwell on a problem. Allow the movement of time to push you through it. Time does heal!
We can learn so much from other people who are dealing with their own challenges, but we have to share our own to do it. Setbacks can be overcome—even sickness. I know I will be in a better situation on the other side of this, especially if I hold onto my faith and joy. I am confident I can beat this! Yes we are all going to deal with setbacks in life, but we can overcome them if we see them as part of a bigger life picture, and commit to seeing them through from start to finish.
Affirmation Pod / Coming Back from a Setback
Photo by h. Tracey Jewel is a manifesting goddess advocate and believes all that's needed to make our wishes come true is a little me-time, she space, and a wish tribe to help us be the women we wish to be. This site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice.