Resilience: The Key to Recovering from Setbacks

The “Graveyard of Resolutions”

Why are we talking about resilience today? January 24th has been referred to as the “graveyard of resolutions.” So, if you feel your willpower waning, you are far from alone. This is when it’s essential to call upon your inner strength to keep going. Resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”

Perhaps you’ve been told that “if you fall off the wagon, you need to get back on.” This is true and is necessary to achieve your goals. Yet, you don’t want to jump right back on without first thinking about why you fell off in the first place. How can you prevent another tumble?

In fact, some experts recommend building resilience INSTEAD OF making resolutions. But how?

The first thing that we all must do is face the fact that we will not be emotionally or physically prepared to face challenges if we are dehydrated, malnourished, exhausted, burnt out, lonely, and unfit. You must charge your battery. For some people, that means doing a really challenging physical activity, for others it means spending time alone, or it might mean spending time with people you love and trust. Only you can figure out what you need to do now to be in fighting shape when difficulty comes knocking at your door.

Defining Resilience

Resilience is not the same thing as optimism, it doesn’t mean that you never experience difficulties in life. Instead, resilient people grow from adversity. Resilience is not a personality trait—you can develop the ability to adapt to challenging situations. A resilient person doesn’t “grin and bear it” or deny that anything is wrong. They accept themselves without judgment. They accept their situation without shame.

There is such a thing as too much resilience (via Fast Company). An example would be staying in a relationship that isn’t right for you because you believe that you can find a way to make it work. Sure, maybe you could bounce back from a series of spats and miscommunications, but should you? Likewise, some people spend more time and energy trying to “fix” a bad work situation than it would take to simply get a new job.


You don’t need to “figure it out” by yourself to be a resilient person. Resilient people surround themselves with compassionate and encouraging people. They avoid judgmental and competitive individuals who do not validate their feelings. You can’t expect to have good influences in your life if you don’t reciprocate the behavior. You must practice active listening, demonstrate empathy, and not judge others. That’s your part of the bargain; you must be able to both give and take.

Control and Responsibility

A great deal of what will happen to you and those you love is out of your hands. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can always control how you react. The only way to gain self-confidence is by going through difficult things and coming out on the other end. That means trying new things — things that might make you uncomfortable or that might fail. Stop saying “practice makes perfect”. Why is perfect always the goal? Showing up is the goal. Just show up.

 Do you see failure as helpful feedback? Resilient individuals use their setbacks to learn and gain insight. Sometimes what you learn is that your intention isn’t meant to be (right now). You must revise your goals to match your current situation.

30 Control Quotes, Inspirational Words of Wisdom

Planning and Prioritization

Resilient people plan out their days, set short-term and long-term objectives, and develop a strong sense of purpose. It can be hard to think about intention when you’re just trying to get through the day. By considering your morals and values, you can begin to figure out your purpose. Learn more about moral principles and values

energy + engagement + purpose = hope


Are you thankful for the small things and the more considerable blessings that have allowed you to survive and possibly (hopefully) thrive until today? Resilient people are grateful for the learning experiences and the time that they’ve been allotted on this earth. They are deeply grateful for what they’ve been provided with—not only tangible but also intangible. Before you can apply your talents, you must know that they exist. You have to know your strengths before you can be thankful for them. 


Healthy coping mechanisms include journaling, spending time outside, socializing with like-minded people, or doing something creative. Unhealthy coping mechanisms might consist of avoidance, isolation, and self-medication (with food, sex, spending money, alcohol, drugs, or workaholism, among many, many others). Before practicing healthy coping mechanisms, you have to understand how you typically respond to stress and adversity. To do that, you need to act like a detective and investigate your own habits. It might not be immediately obvious, so dig deep.