Updated: Sep 7
In the pursuit of our health and wellbeing goals, encountering failure can be disheartening. Sticking to a new exercise regimen, getting to bed on time, making healthier food choices, setting aside time for family - improving one’s physical, mental and social health - is not always easy. Especially when we start to change existing, ingrained lifestyle patterns and routines.
Contrary to popular belief, failure when making change is not a dead-end. It is a learning moment that can lead us down a path of self-discovery and development.
Learning Through Adversity
Failure has a unique way of acting as a mirror, reflecting our strengths, weaknesses and areas that require improvement. By dissecting what went wrong, we gain insights that can guide us towards more informed choices in the future. We often suggest using a diary, a health journal, to track successes and failures in order to learn from them. This process of self-reflection is the cornerstone of personal growth.
Building Resilience and Grit
Failure is where resilience and grit are moulded. It tests our perseverance and determination to succeed. With each failure, we are presented with a choice: to succumb to disappointment or to rise stronger. By choosing to rise, we cultivate tenacity that propels us forward.
Stepping Out of Comfort Zones
Failure often nudges us out of our comfort zones. When we don't achieve our goals, despite the disappointment or self-criticism, it prompts us to reassess our strategies and explore new approaches. In doing so we acquire new skills, insights and perspectives. These experiences contribute to our personal growth by expanding our horizons and broadening our skill set.
Part of the health coaching process is to set goals that are in alignment with our clients' vision and values. This makes it easier to keep going when things get hard.
Fostering Humility and Self-Reflection
Success can sometimes lead to complacency, but failure keeps us grounded. It humbles us and encourages self-reflection. This process of introspection fuels personal growth by helping us understand our limitations and strive for self-improvement.
Embracing Change and Adaptation
Failure often signals that change is necessary. It prompts us to reassess our values and goals. A willingness to adapt can lead to unexpected and fulfilling paths. When we relinquish the fear of failure and embrace change, we tap into personal growth that allows us to evolve.
Cultivating Empathy and Compassion
Experiencing failure makes us more empathetic towards others facing similar struggles. It reminds us that setbacks are a universal experience. Empathy can lead to meaningful connections, it can allow us the ability to support one another through challenging times, fostering a sense of community and shared understanding.
Growth - success - is not linear, setbacks are part of the course.
While we plan to achieve success in our goals we have to respect that change takes time and effort. Circumstances change, ‘life happens’ and understanding failure is an important part of the process. Failure challenges us to learn, adapt and persevere. So, next time you face failure, remember that it's not a permanent setback but an opportunity to move forward.
Achieve your Health Goals
Your health, physical – mental – social - is complex and affected by multiple factors within and outside of your control. Our consults and programmes address the whole person, the root causes of ill health and maximising your health performance & vitality.
Take the first step. Book a Whole Health Consult to assess, identify and prioritise key factors (known and unknown) that affect your health. And receive personalised recommendations on how to address them.
Want to put recommendations into action? Learn more about our programmes for individuals or teams.
Eskreis-Winkler L, Fishbach A. Not Learning From Failure-the Greatest Failure of All. Psychol Sci. 2019 Dec;30(12):1733-1744. doi: 10.1177/0956797619881133. Epub 2019 Nov 8. PMID: 31702452.