Failure is something we often take personally, especially if we put our hearts into achieving a goal only to have it remain out of reach. Instead of letting failure beat you down, however, there are ways to bounce back from it. Here are 10 tips for dealing with failure.
Find the Reason
There is always a reason for failure. Maybe your running time was less than average because you were nervous. Perhaps you fell sick and had to stop working out at the gym for a while, even though you're striving to partake in a marathon. Try to answer the "why?" question when faced with a failure so that you know what you're dealing with and how to improve in the future. For instance, you could partake in relaxation techniques before a performance test to keep your anxiety under control.
Get Busy with Plan B
Just because you didn’t manage to run that marathon, it doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. A great way to deal with failure is to start working on a new plan. Reset your goal and focus on alternate routes to achieving it. Getting back in the game boosts your self-esteem and inspires you to keep moving towards success - minimizing the effects of failure in the future.
Learn From the Failure
Sometimes you know you made an error that resulted in the failure. Now's your chance to fix it. Other times, however, it seems the failure occurred due to forces outside of your control - so you can't really adjust your efforts. It's likely there could still be things to learn. If you don't know why you failed, check in with a friend who has the same goals as you, check into the FerrignoFIT forums for advice from the community, or reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook.
Change Your Meaning of Failure
Stop associating failure with weakness or not being good enough. This can make you feel depressed and lack motivation to try again in future. See failure as something else, perhaps as a way of fine-tuning your skills or taking up new opportunities that could present themselves because of this failure. Failure is just the first step to greater success. Be open to it.
See Five Years into the Future
You might feel down and depressed now, but try to picture what life will be like for you in five or more years. Will this failure even matter? This helps to gain perspective on what you are going through and could also motivate you to try again so that in five years' time you can look back and see that the failure was just a stepping stone to greatness.
Reframe the Failure
Your failure is not a characteristic of you. It is just something that has happened in your life, so don’t take it on as being part of who you are. A 2011 research study published in Anxiety, Stress and Coping: An International Journal found that things such as positive reframing help to deal with setbacks. Positive reframing involves catching yourself when you have a negative thought and then analyzing it for evidence and fact instead of just believing it. Positive reframing is about challenging thoughts to ensure that they help instead of harm.
Allowing anger to get the better of you just makes things worse. Letting off steam can be a good way to get rid of negative energy, but try to choose healthy options, such as going to the gym or playing an active sport. By staying calm and releasing energy, you allow your logical brain to find solutions that are sometimes clouded by emotion.
Find the Funny
Laughing might be the last thing you want to do when faced with failure, but it can help you to gain some perspective, lose your worries, and stop kicking yourself. Chat to a friend who can help you see the lighter side of what happened.
Boost Your Own Ego
Your self-esteem and ego can take a knock when you're hit by failure, so boost your confidence by achieving smaller tasks. If you are an excellent hiker, go on a hiking weekend. Likewise, if you're great at hitting aces in tennis, go play a few rounds with friends.
Stop Worrying About Others' Views
Sometimes the toughest part of dealing with failure is not the actual event but how we think people are going to judge or criticize us over it. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who can help you through your difficult time and don’t think about what society will say. Everyone has experienced failure at some point and will again at some stage.
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