Setbacks Create Comebacks

Every great performer, competitor, accomplished artist – we all hit roadblocks on our path to peak performance and competitive greatness. 


Everyone who has pursued a craft has had to deal with the difficulties and discouragement at some point, whether it was an injury, a bad review, a loss of championship, or whatever the challenge since setbacks provide an opportunity for a comeback. 


Encountering challenges and overcoming them is all part of the journey, especially when you’re working towards mastery of a skill or an approach. Roadblocks, plateaus, and stuck points are inevitable on the journey to change, no matter what the change is. 


Understanding the General Adaptation Theory


In weight training, for instance, your muscles tend to adapt to whatever stress you’re putting in, whether you’re increasing your sets or your loads. This is the general adaptation theory.


Stress is important, but you have to be able to get out of stress before it becomes catastrophic. Therefore, some exposure to stress and learning how to adapt sets you up for success. But if you keep on pushing and you never allow your body to recover, heal, and grow, then stress simply overtakes you.


Tools and Strategies in Dealing with Setbacks


  1. Develop a growth mindset.


Be willing to pay attention and buy into a growth mindset. Most of us don’t realize that if we put more energy into the negative things, we give power to the negative, which ends up winning rather than us. 


Don’t look at plateaus as something negative and shift to a mindset that you’re just ready to take it to the next level.


  1. Cultivate an intrinsic motivation.


It’s also important to cultivate that intrinsic motivation, even if you start out motivating yourself extrinsically. Break that routine for immediate gratification and move into delayed gratification.


  1. Use failure as feedback.


Failure is not fatal. If you’re willing to use it that way, it can be your best friend. 


Plateaus and setbacks can also mean you’re overreaching. Are you overtraining? Have you been in a calorie deficit where you need a little diet break to reset the hormones?


Stagnation, loss of drive, performance declines, nagging injuries, and exhaustion can be signs of mental and emotional burnout. And so, you have to listen to those sooner than later, whether that means taking a few days off or doing a different type of workout.


  1. Evaluate setbacks.


Learn to evaluate setbacks, whether it’s telling you that you need to take a break or you’re ready to take it to the next level.


If you want to learn more about how setbacks create a comeback, check out


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