How to Combat Short Term Failure When It Strikes

We’ve all experienced it… failure.

Things don’t quite work out, we get upset, we get stressed, and we get angry.

We can either take this failure the right way or the wrong way:

  • We can get frustrated and give up entirely
  • We can use it as motivation to push harder when we get back up

You know which is which.

However, today I’m talking about short-term failure.

This type of failure consists of small setbacks you might experience on a regular basis.

The type of setback that destroys the good mood you were in that day.

Those feelings may only last for a day or so, but if you’re experiencing them on a regular basis, then that’s not healthy for anyone.

Why Do We Experience Short-Term Failure or Small Setbacks?

There are an unlimited number of reasons as to why you’re being hit with regular setbacks.

It could be because you’re being inconsistent with something and therefore seeing inconsistent results.

Maybe it’s due to external circumstances and completely out of your control.

Maybe you’re just doing a lot of experimenting with your goals, your business, and your exercise regimes.

Hence, some things work, and others don’t.

The possibilities are endless… but that doesn’t mean you can’t combat these setbacks.

Here’s how to combat short-term failure:

1. STOP Measuring Success Daily

Are you always checking the numbers and stats every single day?

For example:

  • Your weight
  • Your website traffic
  • Your business revenue

When to start to measure and analyze things on such a regular basis, you also allow yourself to be measuring your failures daily.

This is why you keep experiencing short periods of anger and stress.

You don’t need to be measuring these stats every day.

Once a week, or once a month is enough.

Measuring stats more often isn’t going to change anything other than your mood for that day.

2. Zoom Out and Analyze Your Yearly Progress

Much like what I mentioned above about starting to measure your success/failures on a weekly basis; whenever you experience a setback, remind yourself of the progress you’ve been making throughout the year.

Short-term failure basically means that before that, you’d been making solid progress, and the setbacks are a minor speed bump in what has been an incredible year.

For example: if you’d grown your business’ daily revenue from $50 – $600 since the start of the year, but yesterday it was only $75.

Remind yourself of just how far you’ve come, and that yesterday’s disappointment is still better than what you were achieving at the start of the year.

Sometimes when stress strikes, it’s good to zoom out for a second and realize that you’re still making great progress.

3. Figure Out What Caused the Setback

Was there anything that you did last week that you didn’t do this week?

Have you stopped doing something that could be the reason for the slow progress?

It’s a great idea to get to the root of what may be causing your setbacks.

For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight, a slack in diet/workout routines for a week could easily slow your progress.

How many cheat days are we allowed again?!

Once you figure out the cause, you can correct the issue moving forward.

Alternatively, if the reason for the setbacks were due to relaxing for a few days because of stressful work, you could make an agreement with yourself that those few days will exist every month, and you shouldn’t be worried.

There’s no point in burning yourself out just to get the same results every day of the month.

You’ve got to rest sometime!

4. Apply the Solution to the Cause!

You know the cause… so go and apply the solution, whatever it may be.

The general idea is that once you’ve learnt from your mistakes and correcting the errors that were causing you short-term failures, you’ll be back onto that lovely patch of green grass I like to call growth.

I can’t talk too much about as to what type of solution you need to be conjuring up to fix your short-term failures.

Only YOU know that.

It may well mean doing less of something, rather than continuing to do something you’d periodically stopped doing.

You are in complete control of how you react to failure, and which solutions you put in place to continue on the path to greatness.

5. Don’t Obsess Over the Small Things

Don’t pretend like you’re not guilty of doing this!

We all obsess over the small problems far too much.

It’s like we have just two moods: bad and good, and there’s no separate levels here.

A tiny little problem seems to give us as much headache as a very big problem sometimes.

Obsessing over small problems results in wasted energy and time.

You could have simply acknowledged the problem, went on with your day as per usual, and corrected it the next.

That approach wouldn’t have caused any of these negative emotions you’d be experiencing instead!


I think we’re all guilty of taking short-term failure too seriously and heavily; and it’s something all of us will experience, on quite a regular basis at that.

It’s a natural part of growth, and excelling in the direction of your dreams, so it’s not to be feared.

Hopefully, the tips above can help you to control the emotions that small setbacks give you and combat short-term failure in an easier and more relaxed fashion.

Are you struggling to combat short-term failure or setbacks in your life right now?

Leave a comment below.

Dan Western is the founder of Wealthy Gorilla, a self-improvement site that’s reached over 1.5 million people worldwide. Dan helps others transform their mindset and live the life they want to live. Not the one they’re told to.
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