Recently, we discussed how to use failure as motivation in your workouts. While none of us like to fail, there are positives to derive from a poor day at the gym, a bad run, or a slow lap. It is very easy to let that failure suck us in and become negative about the effort, results, or even ourselves in general. In the second half of this two-part blog, let's discuss five things to do when failure strikes.
5 things to do when failure strikes
1. Focus on the things that did go right
The trick is to reframe the experience in a way that draws upon the positives. These might be difficult to find right away, but trust me they are there. Or, if all else fails, use humor or laugh it off, as they say. These are all things that can limit the negative dialog in your head and help you realize your time and effort spent preparing weren’t in vain. Focusing on the positives also helps you look forward to working toward the goal rather than stopping you in your tracks and derailing future progress.
2. Look at the opportunities for improvement
This is a perfect time to take stock of your skills, strengths and weaknesses. Failure is merely feedback for the things we still need to work on and is a natural part of growth, regardless of what stage you are in on your fitness journey. Rejoice in that you uncovered something new to work on. This keeps things interesting and will ultimately make you a better athlete or exerciser.
3. If you fall off the horse, get back on
Don’t run away from the gym, the group exercise class or the mountain because of the failure. Confront it; otherwise you are giving yourself permission to bail when things get hard. Throughout your life, you will encounter tough obstacles again, so look at these experiences as training runs for building mental (and perhaps physical) toughness. It might seem scary, but in the end you will be glad you did it.
Blaming others or external factors for your failure won’t fix or change the situation and won’t help you improve for next time. Being accountable and taking responsibility is the most productive way to move past failure and continue on your road to fitness success.
Ultimately, failure happens to everyone. Even the most successful athletes have had many failures on their way to their successes, and continue to have them even still. Don’t let a bad day at the gym get the best of you and remember you are not alone. Failure is inevitable, but it’s how you frame it that matters.