Making mistakes is a realistic and even valuable part of our evolution as young professionals. Many areas of our lives, both professional and social, are often uncharted territory, and so trial and error has become a useful learning strategy for many YPs. That said, the most important aspect of the popular “live and learn” approach is, of course, the learning. So whether you’ve screwed up at work, in your relationship, or with yourself, it’s important to avoid allowing our mistakes to turn into a cycle of bad habits. Here are some notable tips to help make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice:
The first step in learning how to avoid repeating mistakes is to first recognize when you’ve actually screwed up. In our YP world, confidence and pride rank high on the list of important characteristics. While such traits are often positive, there are also times when overconfidence and bravado can cloud our perception and judgment of situations and ourselves. The key is to listen to your inner voice and trust your gut. Your deepest self won’t let you get away with doing something you truly know is wrong. In order to avoid making mistakes over and over again, put your pride aside, listen to your conscience, and really recognize your wrongdoings.
Stopping the cycle of error doesn’t happen on its own. If you find yourself continually making the same wrong move over and over again, it’s time to make the actual conscious effort to change. Man up to your mistakes and tell yourself that you want the future to be different. Have a quick talk with yourself about what’s going on, why you want it to stop, and how you are going to take steps to make things right.
Write it out
To compliment and strengthen the recognition of our mistakes and our conscious effort to change, the simple and accessible tool of writing can be a big help. In a past Notable article (Benefits of Writing) we outlined why YPs should all add writing to our usual health and wellness regimens, including how writing encourages us to create a physical record of what is going on inside our minds. To help avoid repeating errors, turn to writing to help reflect on your mistakes, explore possible causes, and make a list of corrective goals.
Just as we suggest for New Year’s resolutions and other types of goals, hold yourself publicly accountable for making a change by letting others in on your plans. If you’ve wronged someone, let him or her know that you realize what you’ve done and that you are working on it. If you screwed up a task at work, make it known to colleagues or superiors that you are doing all you can to ensure it doesn’t happen again. If you broke a promise to yourself, talk about it with friends and family and ask if they might help in your effort to avoid doing it again. If we know that others know we are working hard to better our skills, our behaviour, or ourselves, we are less likely to deviate from our positive plans. Additionally, having a watchful eye and the encouragement of others along the way is always a helpful bonus.