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Failure is Part of the Process

When you set a goal and make a list of what you need to do to be successful in reaching that goal, failure is probably not on your list.

Failure is part of the process and part of success. Here are some ways to help rethink failure to help you become more successful at reaching your goals.

Ask yourself: Is this a Setback or a Failure?

Setbacks come in all shapes and sizes. Setbacks are common when working towards a goal big and small. Take a step back to figure out if this failure means that this goal is no longer achievable or is this just a setback on this approach to this goal.

Acknowledge your Feelings

Let yourself feel whatever comes up for you about the failure or setback whether it is hurt, sadness, or disappointment. Acknowledge the feeling and know that it is okay to have those feelings.

Remembering it's NOT “I am a Failure.”

When you fail or have a setback that is not who you are. Be mindful of the language that you use with yourself. Yes, you may have failed with this one thing, but that does not mean you will fail next time.

Accept your Responsibility

This is an important part of the growth. While many setbacks are out of your hands, many might have been in your control. When a setback happens because you could have done something differently, this is the time to reflect on what you will do differently next time and how you will be different.

See the Value in your Failure

Learn from your mistakes is probably something you have heard before. So take some time to reflect and ask yourself some questions.


How will this change the goal or the course of what I am working on?

What is one thing I will do differently next time?

Do I need to learn a new skill to help me reach my goal?

What did I do right?

So, time to regroup, recover and move forward. Failure and setbacks will happen and maybe next time after making some changes to yourself or your approach you will be successful.

Consider seeing a therapist if you are struggling to reach your goals or are overwhelmed with negative feelings of failure.


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Monica McNeeley is a licensed therapist, LCSW, provides online therapy in the state of California. She has been providing therapy services since 2011.


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