dealing with setbacks

From Setback to Comeback: Here’s How to Do It!

Why Setbacks Hurt

dealing with a setback

1. The ideal didn’t materialize

When we embark on a new undertaking, we visualize the ideal outcome. These expectations often turn out to be misplaced. People we deal with are unpredictable, or we may not be as disciplined as we thought we were when we started. This disillusionment can be really discouraging. In one way or the other, every time you have a setback you say this to yourself: “My life isn’t what I’d hoped it would be, and that sucks!”

2. Self-doubt creeps in

Even the most confident of people experience self-doubt after a setback. We are not machines, we wonder if the path we are following is worth all the effort. You wonder if life would be easier if you just quit.

3. Helplessness becomes you

The worst part of any setback is the helplessness you feel. You want to have things under control. Having everything fit nice and tidy in your life gives you confidence. Having setbacks takes that away from you.

4. Self-pity is crushing you

Right now, when you are disappointed, self-pity is your worst enemy. The weird thing about self-pity is that it is masochist in nature. You are actually, proactively, engaging in something that make you feel bad.

In other words, don’t expect to always be great. Disappointments, failures and setbacks are a normal part of the lifecycle of a unit or a company and what the leader has to do is constantly be up and say ‘we have a problem, let’s go and get it’.  – Colin Powell

Here’s How to Come Back Stronger from Setbacks

how to be stronger

1. Avoid ‘the shock’ by staying ahead of the game

Gilbert Brim once said: “sometimes we don’t know we are losing until the very end.” I love the Dutch culture where they tell it to you as it is, straightforward, no beating around the bush. Having lived in three different continents, I can confidently say that not many cultures share this characteristic. That is why there is a reluctance to deliver bad news.

I admire the courageous person who comes up to me and tells me frankly that my ship is about to sink. If you do not have that kind of people around you (and even if you do), try evaluating the situation yourself. If all of a sudden you are not being invited to the meeting, your partner is hiding information from you, or your best friend is avoiding you; you need to know – as Donald Trump put it- “what the hell is going on!”. In doing so, you can stay ahead of the situation that is about to explode in your face and avoid the shock. It’s the punches that we don’t see coming that knock us out!

2. Don’t be too hard on yourself

You have probably seen the image below before. Take a minute and really have a look at it again. Forget everything else. You have everything it takes to do what these people did: mount an insane comeback. The best part is that you already know that.


3. Don’t blame, just learn

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.  – Henry Ford

Take responsibility for your part of the failure but do not go overboard by blaming yourself. Life is unfair, perhaps someone treated you unfairly. Get over it so that it does not consume you. If you stay positive, you do not lose in life; you just learn and get stronger.

(a)  Be open to feed back

There is nothing more powerful in your step forward towards learning and recovering than good feedback.  Getting feedback from people directly involved in the situation will help you asses and analyse what went wrong and how to avoid the same in the future.

(b)  Learn about your alternatives

Many a time we condition ourselves into believing that our set of skills and experience confine us to do certain jobs and that’s it. We fail to see the enormous opportunities that are out there that may have nothing to do with the way we define ourselves. If you find something you love, you should go for it. At times of crises when you have nothing to lose, having a go is so uplifting.

(c)   Learn new skills

Become better than yesterday when the setback happened. Learning a new skill not only enhances who you are, but it also builds your confidence back by giving you a sense of achievement.

The skills you acquire can always be effectively redeployed. You will look back on setbacks and be grateful for the catalyst that came not a moment too soon. – Tom Freston

4. Don’t be in a rush to bounce back

One of the greatest misconceptions today is that strong people bounce back from setbacks instantaneously. Now it’s true that you should not dwell over spilt milk but it does not mean you should rush things. There is a difference between a quick recovery and a hurried recovery process. Enjoy the many blessings in life while you plan your next move. Trust me, you are better off than jumping straight back into a vicious circle.

5. Redefine what makes you happy

If you really sit down and count how many wonderful things are in your life, you realize that you do not actually need to get everything you set out for. I am by no means saying that you should not be disappointed when you don’t succeed in your endeavour. Of course you should. You put your blood, sweat, and tears into it. But remember, happiness has nothing to do with winning or losing. Look around you and be thankful of what you have already. This will make you even stronger on your way back to recovery. Find gratitude in the present moment because as someone once said “life is what‘s happening to you while you are busy making other plans”.

Final Note

We all hit that bump in the road sometimes. Hell, sometimes the setback feels more like a brick wall. Make your recovery a fantastic journey by following the advice mentioned in this article. Do not spin out of control; do not despair! Grab a hold of that wheel and steer yourself straight!


Brainy Quote Setbacks
Coming Back From a Setback
Developing Resilience: How to Bounce Back From Setbacks
5 Tips to Overcome a Major Setback
7 Ways to Bounce Back from Life’s Inevitable Setbacks
How to Deal with Setbacks
how to be productive

4 Tips on How to Make the Most of Your Day

Not everyone has the same opportunities in life. Some people come from wealthier families, some have better conditions or education and some people are born into cultures which give them the edge on the competition. The only thing in life that is consistent, is the amount of time we have. Everyone has the same amount of time, 24 hours, and the way in which you choose to use those 24 hours will determine your results.

Multiple professional speakers and high-achievers talk about the 5am club because they know the power of waking up early and fully using the day. This is what my episode is about, how to make better use of the 24 hours you have.

The 4 tips are very simple:

  1. Plan your day. This is important because with 10 minutes of planning you are able to save 1 hour of execution. Imagine planning 1 hour per week, that would result in 6 hours of execution time saved. Saved, for a rainy day, or a day where you want to write that book you have been putting off for years.

To see the other 3 tips you’ll need to watch the video 😉

Enjoy, and please check out my website or YouTube channel for more information.



5 Tips for Keeping Your Brain Healthy as You Grow Old

5 Tips for Keeping Your Brain Healthy as You Grow Old

People used to think, rather pessimistically, that as you aged, your brain slowed down and it became harder to learn. Losing cognitive ability seemed inevitable, improvement a lost cause. Although your brain ages with your body, and that does pose some challenges, new research in neuroscience is showing this fatalistic mentality is misplaced – there are actually lots of ways to keep your brain healthy as you grow old, and even improve it.

1.    Exercise Your Body

Healthy living tips often point out that physical activity prevents heart disease, keeps your body in shape, and has a whole host of other physical benefits, but did you know it also plays a role in improving brain health? A study of over 1,000 New Yorkers looked at how exercise was associated with memory and cognitive abilities. According to Time, the five-year study revealed that those who worked out regularly slowed their brain’s aging by as much as 10 years. Although this study didn’t show exercise could be used to reverse aging, it definitely adds weight to the idea exercise can be used to keep your brain healthy.

2.    Exercise Your Brain

Although working out your body will boost brain health, that’s not the only exercise you need if you want to keep your brain young. You need to keep your brain active, too. The Alzheimer Association recommends to keep learning, playing strategy-based games, and reading challenging material. Even though you might associate school with childhood or young adults, continuing to take classes throughout your life, or when you’re retired, will give your brain the workout it needs to stay healthy throughout your life and stave off dementia.

3.    Eat Right

Many people have sworn by the Mediterranean diet, but new evidence from the Columbia University Medical Center proves it’s not a fluke – out of 700 people, those who ate lots of fruits and veggies, nuts, whole grains and “good” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats were much healthier according to the Cleveland Clinic. Brain scans actually showed that those on the Mediterranean diet had more white and grey matter, so they’re more likely to have better muscle control and sharper senses.

This isn’t the only diet that’s been improving brain health. According to the Huffington Post, those concerned about healthy living can also follow a diet called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) or a mix between this and the Mediterranean called MND. In any case, all follow common healthy living tips, like eating foods that are more natural while avoiding bad fats like butter and cheese as well as processed foods like fast food and sweets.

4.    Build Social Ties

Having few social connections can get isolating with age, and no one wants to be lonely, but cultivating social bonds may do more than make us feel fulfilled and loved. An article published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services looked at several studies related to social engagement and cognitive abilities in later life. The evidence adds up, having a supportive group of people around, even if you don’t always engage them, can be enough to reduce cognitive decline. If improving brain health even further is a priority- and why wouldn’t it be- you should go a step further and stay active in your social network by regularly participating in activities. That means you can simply spend time with your family and friends, or even other people by volunteering or anything else that gets you to interact with others.

5.    Master New Skills

When you’re young, everything is new and stimulating, but adults, especially older ones, have already found their niche and settled in. It’s not that they’ve discovered and done everything, it’s just that they’re comfortable with the routine. However, improving brain health means breaking out of that safety bubble and putting yourself out there again to explore new things. A study of 200 people tested whether learning new and challenging skills could improve memory. The study compared memory in people who learned how to quilt or use digital photography against a control group that just met to chat, do simple puzzles, or listen to classical music according to NPR. The more challenging the skill, the more their memory improved.

Protecting your brain as you age should be a top priority, especially since using skills, memory, and training makes up such a big part of a person’s identity. Also, there are many supplements for memory which can be of use. Unfortunately, just like most things in life, the time-tested phrase use it or lose it seems to apply. If you aren’t actively engaging your brain or your body, it starts to wear down and stop performing the way it used to. Luckily, by following these healthy living tips designed to improve brain health, your brain will remain sharp throughout the years.

Related: Dementia risk in the UK going down, suggests study


self-love and body transformation

Tips for Developing Self-Love While Transforming Your Body

For those of you just reading this now, as a Food & Body Image Psychologist, I wanted to demonstrate to you that you can go on a Body Transformation AND (learn to) Love Yourself. You can read about this on my previous blog here. 

I’ve been on this Body Transformation & Self-Love journey for almost 8 weeks now with Coach Nadine Dumas, and wanted to share some insights on my takeaways so far from my own experiences. Note that everyone’s experiences would be different since we’re all different individuals with our own histories. 

I am writing in a perspective that will hopefully help you gain tips for how to emotionally and mentally grow on your own SELF-LOVE and BODY TRANSFORMATION journey.  

My idea of a Body Transformation and Self-Love Journey is not about how much weight or inches I’ve lost or showing you my before/after photos because, although this is bound to happen, it’s not the point of it. This is about showing you how to LOVE YOURSELF from INSIDE OUT while your body is transforming. 

Self-love starts with Self-Care

Self- Love Starts withself-Care.jpg

What does self-love actually mean? It’s 2 parts:

1) Self Love is appreciating you (just like you do with loved ones) 

2) Self -Love is action oriented. It’s engaging in action that supports your psychological, emotional, physical, physiological, and spiritual well-being.  In other words, self-care activities.

Take your before and progress photos from a Place of Respect for Your Body


How many of you cringe, pick apart your body, focus on what else needs improvement about your body when you take your before and/or progress pictures? I know I used to. Even if I could see progress, I would still be picking apart my body for what else needed improvement.

Please don’t do that. You only show your body more disgust and hate. And you know what your body’s doing? Listening to you. And what happens when you treat something with disgust and hate? It won’t love you back. It will fight you back. So in your body’s case, it will fight you back with physical symptoms such as plateauing, weight gain, bloating, digestive issues, illness, and other unwanted symptoms. Emotionally? It will feel heavy, drained, stressed, tired, sad, lonely, exhausted, burnt out, angry, hopeless, shame.

So when/if you take before and progress photos, please focus on how amazing your body already is, no matter what shape/size/weight you are now- this machine that gives you life, the ability to move from place A to B, the ability to breath, to feel, to walk, run, climb, crawl, dance, hug, touch, make love, hold a loved one, write, sing, paint, create, explore, relax, etc. Respect and be grateful for your body, and it will show you love back in the “symptoms” of energy, vitality, positive thinking, mental clarity, great digestive health as well as feeling happiness, purpose, meaning, hope, love, joy, freedom, peace, and so much more!

Eating healthy is self-care, therefore, health eating is self-love. However, it’s only one aspect of self-care.

As part of being in the journey, it’s about putting some attention and focus on my relationship with food for some of the time, but for the most part of my life, have it as something in the background (rather than the foreground). The rest of the time, I’m focusing on all the awesome aspects of my life! Eating foods that nourish my body will give me the brain power I need to serve myself and others, to be a great mom, wife, friend, psychologist, mentor, speaker and give me the ability to grow and challenge myself continuously. Continue reading

whole world in her hand - live your life

A Life Coach’s Guide to Living by Choice not by Chance

Each day we make choices that influence our pace and quality of life, and many of these are unconscious. While it’s a good thing we don’t have to think about every little choice we make, when it comes to creating a whole, fulfilled, balance between work-related activities and the rest-of-our-life activities… it’s a good idea to wake up and smell the proverbial coffee. Otherwise, we can find ourselves living with the effect of our choices such as feeling overwhelmed, stressed, unhealthy, or out of control.

making choices

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”-Nelson Mandela

This is not about right or wrong, good or bad. I believe there are no mistakes, simply lessons learned. Living by choice, not by chance requires us to take responsibility for our own life. We get to choose if our experiences will be a sentence, paragraph, page or a chapter(s) in our life’s story.

So let’s get started…shall we?


Do the following calculation:

  • Subtract your current age from 90
  • Add two zeros to the answer
  • Divide that number in two

*This is roughly how many weeks you have left on this Earth, assuming you live to a very ripe old age.

If you smoke and don’t look after yourself properly, subtract 1,200 weeks.

It’s time to live by choice, not by chance. Here’s how:

LET GO: Release those people, places and things that no longer serve you. You have the power to forgive an apology you never received, past hurts that keep you resentful, and folks that drain your energy. Let go. Start anew.

CHECKLIST of things to let go:

  • Toxicity
  • Clutter
  • Blocks
  • Negativity
  • Comparison
  • Need to Please
  • Distractions
  • Old Belief System
  • Anger/Resentment
  • Ego

QUESTION: If not now, when?

ACTION: Let go of something that no longer serves you Continue reading

Donald Trump

Why You Should Be Like Donald Trump

Trump is Like Apple

Simon Sinek said: “If Apple was like everyone else, a marketing message might be: We make great computers. They’re user-friendly. Want to buy one? …Here’s how Apple actually communicates: everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have; the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

Donald Trump

Donald Trump does not run his campaign based on his policies. The same way Apple does not sell computers. During his speech, he hardly talks about foreign policy or any other policy for that matter. That’s what Mitt Romney pointed out in his vicious attack on Trump on March 3rd. Romney might as well have spoken about the three little pigs – Trump’s supporters do not care. They believe in what he believes. They believe in the ‘why’.  The reason why he is running is to make America great again. He is tired of politicians doing nothing and that is exactly the sentiment among his supporters.

“I would say that a lot of people are fed up with the lies and lack of accountability of the political system. Trump is coming not from a political background but a business one. People are hoping for change and will be attracted to anything that is not a status quo option.” — Adam M

Lesson: Stop selling what you do, or make. Instead, start selling why you do it. Continue reading

Man stressed out

What If I Told You Stress Is a Choice? Backed by Science

What if stress was a choice?

In this day and age, I would argue that for most of us stress is a choice most of the time. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it is a choice that is easy to make. Nor will many of us even know that and how they could choose differently. Stress, after all, is an automatic response of our body. Let me explain what I mean.

What is stress?

Stress is a physiological response of your body to react to a life or death situation. It is also often and very descriptively referred to as the “fight or flight” response.

Let’s say you are in a situation where your life is in imminent danger – a sabre-toothed tiger looking for a meal. What will happen is that your sympathetic nervous system kicks into action brewing up a biochemical cocktail to let your body know to get ready to either fight or flee. Your heart beat speeds up, your breathing becomes fast and shallow, and oxygen is being pumped into the muscles to get you ready. Other physical functions (digestion or repair) are not needed to get you out of that situation and so your body slows those functions down or stops them altogether. You don’t want to waste resources while your life needs saving. Continue reading

eating disorder helpline

Holistic Body Love – Your Secret Weapon Against Eating Disorder

Bonus Article

In honor of the Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb 1 -7), I wanted to share with you my message and story of recovery from ” disordered eating”, in hopes of inspiring you to deepen your own sense of health, wellness, balance, and self-love.

The 5 Realms of Holistic Body Love

self love

Holistic Body Love to me, is about being in a healthy relationship with yourself in five important realms of life: mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually & socially.

Let’s define these five areas:

  1. Mental: This is our self-talk, what it is we say to ourselves about ourselves. Ideally, we want to be engaging in positive self-talk significantly more than negative self-talk.
  2. Emotional: This is the way we feel about ourselves, and the ability to regulate one’s own emotions well. The way we think about ourselves leads to how we feel about ourselves.
  3. Physical: This involves our physical body, not in appearance, but rather with the health condition of our body. For example, a strong immune system, organs that function well, a body that’s well nourished with nutrients, a body that has abundant energy to thrive.
  4. Spiritual: This area can have multiple meanings. For some, it would be one’s own ability to tune into their intuitive wisdom. For others, it may be their connection with a Higher Power. Essentially, it is the ability to see the bigger picture and connect with sacred aspects of life, so that life has fulfillment through deeper meaning and purpose.
  5. Social: We are social creatures at the very core of us, meaning we all need a connection with people to heal. We are influenced every day by relationships and dynamics in our home, work, school, and  life environments.

I see that having a balance in these five realms can help us feel more present, grounded, and empowered in who we are as an individual, and in the various roles we take on. Continue reading

Marriage and Love

8 Keys to a Wholesome Marriage

My husband and I have been together for 12 years (almost 9 years of marriage). This is not a world record by any means but we have found a comfort and ease in our relationship which has grown over the years, particularly after a rocky phase during our dating period. As parents of two young children, I would love to share with you some of the tips that have helped us to navigate the waters of marriage and to have a wholesome relationship with each other.

marriage rings

  1. Love the right way: Learning to love our significant others in the way they want to be loved takes time, patience and observation. With my husband, I see how his eyes sparkle and how appreciative he is when I affirm him often about what a good job he is doing as a husband and father.  To him, positive affirmation is how he feels loved and appreciated. For me, I love it when my husband spends time with me and really listens to what I’m saying (a box of chocolates does the trick too!) We are all unique and it’s important to be conscious of how the other person wants to be loved.
  2. Bring out their best: One of the things that keeps a relationship alive and healthy is seeing the potential in the other person and nurturing it. This could involve challenging the other person to make the best use of their gifts and talents. A person who gets you moving out of your comfort zone is refining you and making you better. My husband has been behind me for years as I plan to go back to school to pursue medicine. And he has dreams of one day being a teacher. Encouraging each other to pursue our dreams and picking each other up when we get tired keeps our bond strong.
  3. Teamwork: One of the things that can strain a relationship are the daily hassles of life. The pile of dishes, the bills, the defiant child, work deadlines etc. It really helps our relationship that we try not to take things out on each other and that we both chip in to help around the house.  For example, I very much appreciate that while I’m putting the kids to bed, my husband has the dinner dishes under control. Find a system that works for you. I also take comfort in knowing that my husband and I are facing life together as a team and that even with its challenges, we are helping each other get through it.
  4. Commitment: Life and marriage will not always be a bed of roses. There will be some tough times. There will be times when you don’t have fuzzy feelings about the other person and times when they irritate you. There will be times when it is hard to forgive them. But commitment to each other even through those tough times will further strengthen the relationship. One of the toughest times for us was after our first child was born (4 years into our marriage). The newness of parenthood and lack of sleep were a strain on our marriage but we worked through it.
  5. Fun and laughter: One of the things I love most about my marriage is how much my husband makes me laugh. He does the silliest things and it has me on the floor in a fit of giggles. Our children sometimes stare at us like we have gone bonkers, but just because we are parents and have responsibilities does not mean we have to take life too seriously. Laughter is physiologically and psychologically beneficial to our bodies and minds. Have a good laugh on a regular basis!
  6. Spice it up: It can be easy to fall into a rut of routine, especially when work and kids are involved in the equation. Think up ways to bring back the romance. It does not have to be expensive or complicated. Sometimes, after our kids are in bed, we decorate a table, prepare some fondue and relax in front of the fireplace. Or we get childcare for the kids, then hit the cinema and video-arcade like we used to before we had kids. It’s important to have one-on-one time together.
  7. Try new things: Trying new things together can inject fresh energy into a relationship. Register for a course, visit a new place, take up a new hobby together. In the busyness of life, it’s important that we don’t end up drifting apart and living separate lives.
  8. Communication: This is one of the key components of a healthy relationship. When there are misunderstandings and misconceptions about the other person that are not acknowledged or discussed, resentment can build up and cause significant damage to a relationship. Communication involves respectful discussion, not accusations or being judgmental. Communication also involves asking questions when it seems something is off. I used to be an expert at giving the cold shoulder and my poor husband had no idea what was going on. He learned to ask questions and I learned to be more open about my feelings. Respectful communication is key!

Continue reading