About a month ago I experienced a setback. It was of the variety trying really hard to make outcome X happen and then not having it happen – not a huge deal, but still upsetting in the moment. I wrote down this list of thoughts and questions that helped me quite a bit.

  • Isn’t this a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how awesome you are at taking setbacks, rolling with the punches, plodding on?
  • Visualize how everything could still turn out okay.
  • Sometimes when things don’t go the way you wanted them to go, it’s a great opportunity for a reset. Was that thing you wanted actually gonna be that good for you? Are there any assumptions in your prior system of beliefs/hopes/desires that are worth re-evaluating now?
  • Imagine the best version of your far-future self, whatever that looks like. Is it worth that person’s time to be upset about what you’re upset about right now?
  • Can you notice if you’ve fallen into the tendency of thinking that if this one thing would’ve worked out, everything would be fine? That everything else had to be put on hold until this was sorted out successfully? Can you appreciate how that thought pattern was wrong, and that this wouldn’t solve everything?
  • Recognize whether your problem is of the “minor setback in life” variety (usually resulting from hopes being unfulfilled) versus a bigger “major thing that will change your life forever” variety, and allocate emotional energy (as well as support systems) as appropriate.