A mistake is defined as “an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.” . We have all made them from the little ones to the ones which wreck our lives or those around us. Do you think of them as leaning lessons and are grateful for the mistake? OR do you beat yourself up swearing to never do anything “stupid” like that again?
I will admit, depending on the mistake – I can go between the two. No matter how you handle the mistake, you are not alone. It’s likely all of us have repeated some of our mistakes at one time or another and reacted differently each time. The truth is if we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.
The good news is, you can learn from your mistakes. Then, instead of repeating them again, you’ll gain valuable wisdom to help you in the future.
1. Acknowledge Your Errors
Regardless of the size of the mistake or who it has effected, you have to accept full responsibility for your role in what happened. You need to ask yourself, “What role did I play in this?”. The answer can be uncomfortable sometimes (okay, maybe most of the time), but you need to own your part. Once you have said “I messed up,” you can start to learn from it. This is all part of changing and hopefully, not making the same mistake again.
2. Ask Yourself Tough Questions
You don’t want to dwell on your mistakes (this is a tough one for me) BUT reflecting on them can be productive. I don’t know about you but when I dwell on mistakes, I tend to beat myself up a little bit. So, if you ask yourself these tough questions, it can turn a bashing session into a productive one:
- What went wrong?
- What could I do better next time?
- What did I learn from this?
Write down your responses and you’ll see the situation a little more clearly. Seeing your answers on paper can help you think more logically about an irrational or emotional experience. Let’s face it, we have all had them at one time.
3. Make A Plan
Beating yourself up for your mistakes won’t help you down the road. It’s important to spend the bulk of your time thinking about how to do better in the future. Make a plan to help avoid making a similar mistake. Be as detailed as possible but remain flexible since your plan may need to change No matter how you track your progress, find a way to hold yourself accountable. Remember what works for one person might not work with someone else.
4. Make It Harder To Mess Up
How will you be sure not to mess up again? Does willpower alone prevent you from taking an unhealthy shortcut or from giving into immediate gratification (I want what I want when I want it). Increase your chances of success by making it harder to mess up again. Find creative ways to become more disciplined. If using credit cards is your struggle – cut up the cards or freeze them. Yup, in a big block of ice. Whenever you try to thaw the block of ice, you will realize how ridiculous the situation is and stop spending money you don’t have.
5. Create A List Of Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Make The Mistake Again
We all have weak moments and the next thing you know, we have made the same mistake again! Why not create a list of all the reasons why you should stay on track and be self-disciplined, you can refer to during tough times. Put the list some place where you can see it – if shopping is a problem, put the list in your wallet next to your debit/credit cards. If flirting on social media is a thing, post your list on your computer so when you start scrolling or are tempted you see the list. Is it a guarantee? NO but it may help you to resist the temptation. Self-discipline is like a muscle. Each time you delay gratification and make a healthy choice, you grow mentally stronger.
Mistakes aren’t always one big blunder. Sometimes, they are a series of little choices leading to failure. So pay attention to your mistakes, no matter how big or how small they might seem. Recognize each mistake can be an opportunity to build mental muscle and become better.