4 Traps That Prevent You From Bouncing Back After A Screw Up


Check out ma belly.

Ma belly wasn’t that big a few months ago. As you may remember, it had whittled down to a healthy size courtesy of this. (Click on the link. It’s one of my favorite posts ever, because I like me best when I’m being ridiculous.)

But ma belly is back, and I blame Stephen Colbert, who is my other husband. There’s a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor that’s inspired by Colbert, and it has caramel and waffle cone bits in it. (I know. Nom, nom, nom!) And since Ben & Jerry’s ice cream has been on sale at my local grocery for the last 4 months, I’ve been eating a ton of it because I like the taste of saving money. Or so I tell myself.

In short, I screwed up my health. However, I’ve recently gotten back on track, and I’m realizing that it’s because I avoided the following 4 traps people typically fall into after screwing up:

1. Internalize your mistake.

I am not a fat, lazy turd. I ate ice cream more nights than I exercised this spring, so ma belly got big and my health went to hell. But I am not a fat, lazy turd.

See the difference?

The way you speak about and to yourself affect how successful you’ll be in future attempts to change. Hating yourself for your mistakes– whether big or small– pressures you to make drastic, unsustainable changes.

And sure, drastic changes bring quick results. But you’ll still hate yourself whenever you slip up, backslide, or plateau. Wouldn’t you rather do things slow and steady and like yourself all along the way? You should. Because it’s much easier to take good care of things you like as opposed to things you’re ashamed of.

2. Give up (because hell, you’re already screwed).

We give up on our goals when we feel like we’ve made an error that has pushed us a step back. But the people who succeed aren’t those who never slip up; they’re the ones who get up after they’ve fallen.

So even though ma belly is back, I don’t feel discouraged. Bellies come and go, just like successes and failures, so pay closer attention to whether or not you’re enjoying the journey. If you’re enjoying yourself, you won’t give up.

3. Go it alone.

My husband and I have a friend who comes over to work out with us. Check out my non-bicep next to his:


During our workouts we argue, tell dirty jokes, complain, laugh, and leave sweaty butt marks on the couch that don’t evaporate for 3 hours. But more importantly, we show up. Yes, even if one of us skipped a workout the day before, or had a pizza for breakfast that morning.

Sometimes people are more forgiving, motivating, and positive in a group setting than they are on their own, as individuals. Never underestimate the power of community.

 4. Have no sense of humor about your humanness.

This is a tricky one because no one feels they take themselves too seriously, and everyone thinks they have a sense of humor.

It boils down to this: You know you have a sense of humor about your humanness when you can share stories about your mistakes, laugh and learn, then move forward with life. You know you don’t have a sense of humor about your humanness when you try to hide or deny your flaws from both yourself and others.

I write content for this website with this in mind. ABL is where I show you my worst, with a smile and a terrible joke or two. It’s where I process my mistakes and learn from them. If you and I were too busy hiding our flaws from each other, none of my 162 articles or your 13,000+ comments (okay fine, most of those comments are spam) would be here to help us grow.


 Your Turn: Which of the 4 traps keeps you down after a screw up? Which one are you great at avoiding?

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2 Responses to 4 Traps That Prevent You From Bouncing Back After A Screw Up

  1. DIL says:

    The last pic in the post is my comment. But as you remarked recently, “You (me) have no body issues.”

    • Kimberly says:

      I’ll get 2 of those shirts (one for you, one for when I’m 9 mo. pregnant). Priceless father-daughter photo opp, no? :)

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