What Went Wrong?
As human beings, we constantly strive to understand our circumstances and, our purpose. When something unpleasant happens to us, we often demand to know why. This explanation stage is crucial to understanding how we respond to setbacks. Most of us look for a way to make sense of setbacks. We look to blame someone (oneself, a partner, the situation) and start feeling hopeless. If we believe the setback is something beyond our control, then we’ll feel helpless, frustrated and discouraged.
Those who are resilient persevere in face of adversity. In fact, some individuals even use setbacks to become even more determined to accomplish their goals. The large body of research on resilience demonstrates that those who can get back on track quickly after setbacks enjoy better moods which leads to more productivity, and overall better health.
How can we use this information to help us overcome those rough days and stick to our New Year’s Resolutions?
In the mental health field, we know that some individuals are born with more resilient temperaments, even as infants, showing the capacity to soothe themselves quickly. Even if you weren’t born as one of these fortunate individuals, know that it’s not too late for you to develop your own resiliency capabilities. Here is a mindset to help you become more resilient.
1. Develop realistic expectations.
Recognize that the unexpected (e.g., a sick child, power outage, miscommunication) is a part of life. Also, acknowledge that making changes takes time and that there is a steep learning curve at the beginning. At times, it will take longer to accomplish our goals than we had originally anticipated. However, this time doesn’t need to be a “waste of time.” Instead of saying “this shouldn’t happen,” or “I should already know how to do this,” recognize that setbacks are part of life that lead to progress.