Make The Most Of Your Mistakes

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Avoid Getting Stuck In Your Mistakes…Here’s How

BY LY HUYNH

We all do things we regret afterwards. Sometimes the mistakes we make have big consequences, sometimes they’re just minor annoyances. Either way, as much as we’d like to live without them, we all make mistakes, and the reality is we’ll all continue to make mistakes.

Perhaps the most frustrating mistakes are the ones we seem to make over and over again; like having a big night before a busy day, procrastinating rather than working to meet a tight deadline, spending money on things you don’t want or use, or fighting with your family members. But change is always possible.

Breaking mistakes down can help us to break the pattern. Let’s say you repeatedly fight with your sister and you’re tired of it. Looking at the events that precipitated the argument, you might see that the fight developed like this:

1. Woke up late and hungover
2. Felt tired, irritable, and sensitive
3. Ran late to family lunch
4. Sat next to sister
5. Had to listen to sister make comments about lateness
6. Felt angry and a bit guilty
7. Yelled at sister
8. Sister yelled back … and so on

There’s a lot of steps involved here (and probably a lot of history), but this just means there are multiple opportunities to plan ahead and put strategies in place or make alternative choices to avoid finding yourself in the same mistake again. For example, you could:

1. Woke up late and hungover
– Limit alcohol, have an early night, and set an alarm the night before family events
2. Feeling tired, irritable, and sensitive
– Have a no prep breakfast ready to grab and eat on your way
3. Running late to family lunch
– Research travel times and options ahead of time; text your family if running late
4. Sitting next to sister
– Sit next to someone other than your sister
5. Sister making comments about lateness
– Take a deep breath and count to ten
6. Feeling angry and a bit guilty
– Take a bathroom break and vent to a good friend via text
7. Yelled at sister
– Don’t speak if you know it’s going to make things worse. Communicate later when you’re both less upset
8. Sister yelled back…
– Repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 as needed (family patterns can be tough to break!)

If you feel a sense of déjà vu when you’ve made a mistake – try breaking the situation down into steps and planning ahead for each of them. We all make mistakes, but making the most of your mistakes can really make a difference.

Ly is a genuine and compassionate psychologist who is dedicated to providing adults and adolescents with a supportive, safe, and structured environment in which to make sense of their difficulties and take charge of their lives. She is committed to tailoring evidence-based treatments to each individual, and enjoys working collaboratively to help clients develop skills and self-knowledge to bring about meaningful and lasting change.


 

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