Mental Health

Bouncing Back After a Setback: Anything But Failure!

Bouncing Back After a Setback: Anything But Failure!
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Have you ever fallen short on something? It could be that you did not hit a weight loss goal, you missed a deadline at work, you promised your kids that you would bake cookies and you ended up buying them boxed cookies, or you wanted to hike the entire trail and gave up before hitting the first marker. 

These things happen to everyone, but as the Lark DPP check-in said, there are ways to handle setbacks. How you react to them and what you do next can determine your progress in the future, maybe to hit those goals!


It can be frustrating to fall short when there is something you could have done to prevent the setback. For example, shopping the day before could have permitted the purchase of ingredients for your kids’ home-baked cookies, and training more could have enabled easier completion of the hike.

Despite temptation, there is no purpose in getting mad at yourself when you realize that something went wrong. Instead, it is more productive to look at what happened, recognize anything you could have done differently to get a better outcome, and make peace with yourself. That way, you can trust yourself going forward.

…But Don’t Forget

“Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” Your personal shortfall may not be as monumental as, say, the fall of the Roman Empire, but still, why repeat a mistake unnecessarily? Benefits of analyzing and remembering setbacks can include:

  • Feeling motivated not to repeat them.
  • Figuring out why they happened and what you can do better next time.
  • Realize that since you can survive a failure, it is okay to reach further and take a chance.

Make It Actionable

Once you know what happened and are ready to do better next time, how can you take action? In general, being positive, recognizing what worked and what didn’t, and working with what you can do will help you make progress next time.

These are some examples.

Nobody is perfect, and those imperfections can be valuable as lessons and motivation. When mistakes happen, or goals stay unmet for the time being, there is no need to feel defeated. Instead, picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and charging forward can get you where you want to be in health and life.