With a change in routine or learning a new skill comes failure. Failure is uncomfortable and, if we let it, it could stop us from pursuing the healthy lifestyle goals we want to achieve. This is because our mindset plays a big role in whether we take action and see our health goals through to the end. But, the sting of failure doesn’t have to stop us in our tracks. How can we turn failure into a source of motivation?
Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable is a great first step. Many of us struggle with the need to perfectly accomplish every goal and task at hand. But we’re really asking too much of ourselves. We can’t expect perfection especially when it comes to learning new skills.
If we embrace failure for what it is, a single moment of defeat, this can help us see it as an opportunity to grow. When we fail at learning a skill or incorporating a new habit in our routine we have the chance to re-examine what it is we are trying to achieve and what changes we can make to follow through successfully next time. A moment of failure helps us determine what our weak links are and then we can make the necessary changes to become stronger, physically and mentally.
Because failure is a normal part of change, planning for it will help us to pick ourselves up and move on. A helpful plan will make sure that we have concrete steps to keep moving along when failure strikes.
For example, when we hit a roadblock, we may have to aim our efforts to change in a different direction or start the process again at a different pace. Do we know how we will do that? If we have a plan, we won’t have to second guess what our next step after failure will be. This means we can still make progress and not have to take time off from pursuing our goals.
The process of changing our lives and routine is really personal. But we can’t take the failure we experience along the way personally. Failure isn’t who we are, it’s only an instance where our efforts were unsuccessful.
Going through the experience of failing time and again helps refine us as a person and gives us the opportunity to build resiliency and grit aka mental toughness. These are important qualities that will help us take on future challenges that come our way.
What it comes down to is that we have to realize we will not see any success if we let failure dictate our actions in a negative way. Yes, it is frustrating to experience failure when all we really want is to be successful in our efforts to change. But if we look at failure as a normal, and even necessary, part of the process of change we have the opportunity to grow as a person and reach our health goals.
Caitlyn Harbottle is a Peace Region nutrition coach.