4 Ways to Deal with Setbacks

Setbacks are never fun to deal with, especially if you’re confident that something will happen and it falls through.  But as we all know, life doesn’t always go according to plan. A couple weeks ago I experienced this when I ran into a setback that I knew was a possibility, but was thinking wouldn’t happen.

Rather than spend a lot of time being bummed out, I transitioned to a more positive and actionable mindset to handle the situation.

Check out these 4 ways to deal with setbacks.

Step Back and Reflect

An initial wave of disappointment is inevitable. But rather than letting it consume you, step back and reflect. Determine why it is that resulted in your setback, if you can. And remember, everything happens for a reason.

Stay Positive

Negativity doesn’t get you anywhere. When I encounter a setback, I like to focus on the positive, whether in the specific situation or reminding myself of my other accomplishments and how far I’ve come. It’s all about your mindset!

Determine a Plan (B)

Once your mind is in a better place about the setback, determine a plan – plan b, that is. So the first one didn’t go as expected. What can you do differently this time? Keep in in mind that “a minor setback paves the way for a major comeback.” So while the original plan didn’t work out, this new one could be even bigger and better.

Focus on the Future

After establishing your new plan, focus on it, and the future. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Know that great things are ahead for you if you set your goals and continue to reach for them!


Tell me, how do you deal with setbacks?

  • I’m all about setting fall back plans. Those help me get through most set backs. I need to be better about being positive.

    • That’s always the toughest part! Just remember better things lie ahead :)

  • It’s so important to reflect and learn from your setbacks. Great tips!

  • Wonderful advice. Setbacks are inevitable. They’re how we learn but they’re never fun. I think taking time to focus and come up with plan b is always a must!

    • Thanks, Leslie! I agree that plan b’s are super important too!

  • I had a lot of setbacks this past semester and these are all so true and helpful!


    • I’m sorry to hear that, Tori. I hope better things were awaiting you at the end of the semester!

  • Marie Morgan

    Really needed to hear this today! Thank you!

  • Staying positive is so important…send the energy into the world that you want to get back.

    • Exactly! We already have enough negativity in the world, we need more positivity!

  • Rachel Dean

    This is close to my heart right now as I experienced a set back this morning, I tested for a job and didn’t pass, so onto plan B, which maybe a better one :).

    • I’m so sorry to hear that, Rachel. I like the way you’re thinking though – there definitely must be something even better waiting for you!

  • Demelza Shaw

    These are great tips :) Set backs can be so disappointing but I try to remember that they are an important part of every journey. Being encouraged by someone who understands is a great help.

  • I love this! I wrote a similar post a while back, and it all came from personal experience. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • set backs sucks but it’s great to be reminded they are normal and look forward to the future

    • Exactly! Sometimes it’s easy to think you’re the only one that deals with them but so not true – everyone does!

  • Cat Lin

    looking into the future definitely helps to not too narrow-mindedly focus on the present moment :)

    • So true! It’s the only way to pull yourself out of the present setback rut!

  • Cait Weingartner

    Lovely post. I really needed to read this. Thank you for sharing!

    – Cait | http://www.prettyandfun.com

  • Natasha Smith

    Love this! Set backs comes and it is important to do these things stated here, especially staying positive.

  • Set backs are inevitable. These is a great way to handle them.

  • Greta Hollar

    These are good tips. I’m trying to overcome a setback right now and this was just what I needed!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

    • So glad to hear this is helpful for you, Greta! I hope getting out of your setback is smooth. Hang in there!

  • Love this! SO perfect.
    xoxo, Jenny

  • Plan B (& C & D) is key! Even just knowing you have options and it’s not the end of the world is reassuring and calming in the midst of a sucky setback or situation.

    Coming Up Roses

    • Oh most definitely! Breathing and remembering there are other options is what gets you through!

  • Excellent tips. Positivity and plan B are with me every day!

  • Kari Guastella

    These are great tips, especially having plan b!

  • Stepping back is such a necessary step. Our first reaction is to act..and usually not totally composted. Looking at the situation is a huge help!

    • Oh yes! I think that’s something so many of us need to work on. It’s so easy to act/jump to something before really reflecting on it.

  • These are so true. I’m dealing with a few setbacks in my personal AND professional life right now, so these short but sweet tips definitely offer reassurance! Thank you for this!

    • So sorry to hear you’re dealing with some setbacks, Erin. Glad to hear these tips are helping you with some reassurance. I hope you find light at the end of the setback tunnel soon!

  • I’ve always dealt horribly with setbacks but this time around I think I’m doing better. I am a cryer and people don’t always understand. I usually cry for days and get depressed but I’m trying to learn to take a deep breath and keep moving on. Great post and great tips! I just stumbled across your blog and it looks lovely. :)
    Kiersten @ Autumn Country Girl

    • Thank you, Kiersten! I hope you don’t have to deal with setbacks any time soon, but if you do, I hope these tips will help you! Deep breaths are so important!

  • I’m always focusing on the future! I feel like it’s important to keep things in perspective as well during those times!

    • Totally agree, Kiara! So important to focus on the future during setbacks.

  • I’ve had a lot of set backs lately and I will admit I have been a little negative with it. I have really been trying to get back to being positive, so this is perfect for me! Thank You for sharing!

    • So glad to hear this is relevant/helpful to you, Mistle! I hope a big win comes your way soon!

  • Staying positive and focusing on the future is definetly good advice! Dealing with a setback is hard, but it’s part of life. Thanks for the tips!

    Laura | Laura Aime Vous

    • Thanks, Laura! I wish we could opt out of setbacks in life, but you’re right, they are a part of life. We just have to power through them!

  • Everything happens for a reason is such a good positive mentality to have. I love that!

    Keep smiling!
    Molly | http://www.stylemissmolly.com

  • Beth Shankle Anderson

    Terrific perspective on dealing with life’s setbacks. Focusing on the future can get your mind out of present hardships.


  • Mary Welby

    Great tips! Set backs can be rough, and while you can wallow for a bit, you eventually need to shake it off and move on to the next!

  • 100% YES! We got this crazy thing called life :)