Life is full of setbacks, but some people don’t see them for what they really are: temporary, not permanent, hindrances. What happens to you when the gains you made in an area—be it losing weight, mastering a sport or hobby, succeeding on the job—either stagnate or reverse? Do you usually just give up? Do you feel discouraged and angry? How much of a perfectionist are you? Do you think that anything that can’t be done perfectly shouldn’t be done at all?
Don’t be someone who lets setbacks invalidate all your previous efforts and keep you from making ongoing attempts to change your life. Don’t use them as an excuse to give up. Not being able to sweep minor failures under the carpet and get on with life is a major reason for ultimate failure. Don’t give in to the little failures—they’ll just turn into big ones. Keep your focus on the progress you’ve made. Be prepared to experience setbacks, to acknowledge them, and then to move on.
Part of this is being realistic. Know, for instance, that if one night you slip up and eat a piece of cake, you’re not going to weigh three pounds more the next day. More important, there’s no reason not to get back on track. Setbacks can be depressing, but don’t use the disappointment you’re feeling as a justification for overeating and forgoing exercise. Successful people have an ability to roll with the punches, a skill you’re going to need to master if you too hope to succeed. Some people come by the skill naturally, but others have to develop it, and you can do that by focusing on the truth: setbacks are bumps in the road; they are not the end of the road.