9 Things to do When You Feel Like a Total Failure

I think we all have those days (or weeks, or months….) when we feel like a failure.

Nothing seems to be going the way you expected it to. Everything is wrong, you can’t seem to get a single thing right, and you just want to throw in the towel, curl up in your bed, and hide from everything for a little while.

Those moments are inevitable once in a while, especially if you’re a highly sensitive introvert like me. I get beat down by the silliest things, and to feel like a failure is excruciating. When I’ve messed something up or let someone down, I want to crawl in a hole and never come out.

Recently, I was feeling pretty down about my life in general. My house was a disaster, my toddler was (and is) STILL not potty-trained, I had no motivation or energy to get anything done, and our finances were getting tighter and more difficult to manage. Everything that could go wrong, seemed like it was going wrong.

I was frustrated with myself, snapping at my husband, and yelling at my kids. My home was becoming the opposite of the peaceful, joy-filled atmosphere I desired.

And most of all, I was feeling like a complete failure as a blogger. My page views were diving, I was hardly getting visitors, and I’ve barely made any money (a couple bucks is hardly going to make up for the couple hundred bucks I’ve invested so far!).

Now, from a logical perspective, I know that this is normal. I haven’t had as much free time to devote to blogging as I had hoped, I’m not posting consistently, and growing a following and monetizing a new blog takes time and consistency. I totally get that.

But then the doubts creep in.

What if I’m just not good enough? What if I have nothing to offer anyone? Am I just wasting my time on this? Can I really ever be successful, because so far I’m just falling flat on my face.

Usually when I try something new, it gets too scary and I quit. That’s my default. I don’t like taking chances and risking failure.

But the truth is, I’m not a failure! I’m a unique individual with specific strengths (and yes, weaknesses too) and I can use those strengths to fulfill a purpose that only God really knows. The only way to find out what my purpose is requires me to try new, scary things. I may not like it, but I’m so tired of quitting every time something gets scary. Quitting itself is failing and admitting to failure, and I’m committing not to do that this time.

The answers to our problems are not going to magically appear in front of us. I certainly wish they would, but life is too complicated. We have to take chances and risk falling sometimes.

The key to dealing with the falls, those moments when you feel like a failure, is to take action. You can’t just sit back and let those feelings consume you or you will end up depressed and miserable.

The key to dealing with those moments when you feel like a failure is to take action! Click To Tweet

9 things to do when you feel like a total failure

1. Talk to your spouse.

And if you’re not married, talk to your mom or dad, sibling, a close friend, or mentor. My husband is my biggest cheerleader. When I feel like I’m failing, I always talk to him first, because he truly believes I’m the most amazing person and will never fail at anything I put my mind to. It’s impossible for me to continue doubting myself when I’m hearing all the ways I am awesome!

Find YOUR biggest cheerleader, someone who is a safe place to talk about all your fears and misgivings and self-doubt. And who knows, maybe they’ll see the missing link in the situation and help you turn things around!

2. Write in a journal.

I’ve always been a big journal writer, ever since I was a little girl. I remember trying to hide my diary in a super secret place that no one could ever find, because I would just die of embarrassment if anyone ever read what I wrote in there. (I still have those diaries and journals. It’s really amusing looking back at my “struggles” as a ten-year-old!)

Write in a journal as though you are talking to a friend – or use it to talk to God. Sometimes (most times), I find it easier to write my prayers than to say them out loud. I think journaling a prayer is a great way to pour out your heart when you’re not ready to share with anyone just yet.


3. Write down your wins.

You can’t possibly be failing at every single aspect of your life (even if you maybe feel that way!), so write down some things you are succeeding at! It can be so easy to focus on the negative that we forget all the things we are good at.

I may not have it all together lately, but some of my wins are that my marriage is overall very strong, my toddler is getting closer to being potty-trained (hey, I’ll take it!), my baby girl is sleeping through the night consistently, and my husband and I are finding ways to make some  extra money for Christmas.

4. Evaluate what is going wrong.

Why do you feel like a failure? What is getting you down, and what caused it to happen? Again, if you have someone you trust to talk to, they might help you see some of these things that you don’t currently see! A fresh perspective can be a valuable resource.

If you already have some ideas of what is going wrong, write them down and think of ways you can change the situation.

5. Make a plan.

Sometimes the reason we fail at something is because we are going at it the wrong way. When we make a clear plan, we can see everything that needs done and then prioritize our efforts..

When it comes to my blog, it took me far too long to get a plan made. I would jump from one thing to another, never knowing what I should be focusing on.

Now that I finally have a plan in place, I know exactly what needs to be done first and I am ready to tackle it head on!


 6. Do something to get you a small, quick win.

When I feel like a failure, it’s usually because I’m not getting any big wins. But sometimes all we need is a small win in our life to get us motivated and excited again.

If there’s something you can do immediately to get quick results, do it! It doesn’t even have to be related to what you’re struggling with. This win may not make a huge difference long-term, but it could give you the boost you need to get going on the right path again.

7. Focus on one thing at a time.

One reason I struggle in many areas of my life is that I lost focus too easily. My brain is all over the place. I can’t seem to concentrate on one thing long enough to get it done, which is a real productivity-killer!

No matter what you’re struggling with, if you want to take back control and start seeing positive change, focus is necessary. Jumping around from one thing to another might get things done…eventually…but it will be a very slow, discouraging journey and it will take a long time to see any wins.

8. Stop comparing.

So often, my feelings of failure stem from someone else appearing more successful than me. It causes a lot of self-doubt, I start to worry that I’ll never be as successful as them, and soon I’m spiraling down into a ginormous pity party.

Comparing yourself to others is dumb.

They aren’t you, and you aren’t them. They have different strengths, and trying to copy what they do or somehow become like them isn’t going to do anything for you. Your strengths are going to show up in completely different ways!

Just stop the comparison game and focus on YOU and YOUR unique strengths!

9. Remember your “why”.

Why did you start? Why is this so important to you? Why do you want to be successful, and why does it hurt so much that you’re not succeeding right now?

These reasons are what will get you going again. You need to have a purpose driving you. That purpose will light a fire under you and motivate you to move forward no matter what.

Feeling like a total failure sucks. There’s no two ways about it. But taking action will make a difference and get you on the path to success.

How do you handle feelings of failure? What things do you do when those feelings hit you? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!






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3 comments on “9 Things to do When You Feel Like a Total Failure

  1. This was the perfect article for me to read today. Last week I was not “winning” and feeling down about several different situations. Thanks for the ideas. I found that I did several of them anyway, but you had a couple of new ones for me to try! Blessings!

  2. Jean Liberg Lynch on said:

    You’re blog is so applicable. Keep it up!!!!