Setbacks are normal and common when taking on a project such as de-cluttering or learning better organizational habits. They happen in all areas of life, and they don’t mean we are incapable of reaching our goals.
Researchers found that helping college students to see setbacks as temporary may help them academically and in overall well-being. One intervention, done during the freshman year, appeared to still have effects three years later. You can read about the study here.
What really interested me was that the intervention relayed the experiences of a former group of students, who were able to overcome setbacks, and then asked the current group of students to offer advice to future incoming freshmen about how to handle college stresses. The researchers placed the students in roles where they believed they were helping others, rather than being in need of help themselves. Upon follow-up, the researchers found that the students had better measurements of academic performance and well-being than a similar group who hadn’t gone through the intervention.
Setbacks are just temporary roadblocks, and often there is something we can learn from them. Maybe we should start each new endeavor by recalling how we overcame past obstacles, and giving a few words of advice to our future selves.