What happens when you have been training, working towards a goal, committing to a goal, feeling like it’s so close you can taste it- and then the unthinkable happens?
You suffer a setback.
I’m no stranger to the setback. It’s like the flu- you do everything you can to avoid it, but once it’s hit you, there’s no escaping it.
Setbacks come in many forms: injuries, lack of time, loss of motivation, and not achieving or falling short of your goal.
I have lost count how many times I’ve experienced a setback with running and achieving other goals.
Sometimes it is just part of the process. It hurts, it makes you question everything. And in there, is a hidden treasure.
Questioning everything, why, how, when, what. When I’ve been faced with those answering those for myself, a set back forces me to look at what I am doing. It makes me question and reevaluate everything from training, to my diet, to stretching, to my goals to even see if I want this goal anymore.
Sometimes the answer is “No,” I’m not willing to keep up this level to achieve something I no longer want. Even though there is that moment, where it can feel like you’ve done it all up to that point for “nothing,” that is never the case. No amount of time you ever spend working on improving yourself or trying to achieve a dream, is ever for nothing.
It will serve you at some point in time. We can’t always know in that exact moment, when- but eventually we will be able to connect the dots and see.
Maybe you fall short of your first 5K time goal. But consider what an experienced runner you are now. All those hours of training will serve you into your next goal.
Maybe you decide you just don’t want run anymore, but the conditioning you’ve gained, launches you into your next activity and you are already way ahead of the game.
You have to trust yourself in these moments and trust even if you decide this goal isn’t for you anymore, the effort is never lost.
Quite often a set back, has the opposite effect though, in that it shows you and makes you feel even more, how much you want what you have been working for. As a result, you become creative, to keep going for your dream. You find other ways to keep up your training, so you don’t lose your momentum. By being forced to look at what you could be losing, you regain your motivation to keep up the level you are at.
Maybe that very thing you do now, will be the deciding factor down the road, or the thing that made all the difference. You have to push yourself at the end of the race to get your PR. But you swam for weeks when you were hurt from running, and conditioned your lungs and body even more, instead of just waiting out the injury. That day, all the swimming you did, helps you reach your goal.
I have found over the years 100% of setbacks are mental, in they are what you make them. You can worry and panic, and be sad this thing is setting you back. Or you attack it from a new angle, and work around the setback.
Setbacks follow life. It follows the path of your goal. I can guarantee you, when you set out to accomplish your goal, you are going to have a setback during the attempt. Nothing ever goes exactly to script. Maybe your shoes unite during a race, to twisting something. In that moment, you have to decide, you have to look it in the face and decide if you keep going or quit. You draw on your other setbacks during your journey. In that moment, they give you strength, confidence, and the determination to draw on to keep going.
Then you understand, “setbacks” really are part of the training. They are hidden treasures. You can’t succeed without them.
When it’s all said and done, your setbacks will turn out to be your greatest motivators. IF you can keep this attitude. If you can, work with the setback. Figure out another way, two or three different ways to keep going. Setbacks are part of the puzzle in accomplishing your greatest achievements. Work with them, appreciate them, and they will launch you to your next level.
Stars can’t shine without darkness, and success can’t happen with out setbacks. Appreciate your stars.