How to Bounce Back From Failed Resolutions

Two months down in 2020 and it’s been a doozy. January never ended and February had one too many days. In all that time we spent declaring that 2020 was going to be our decade, how many of us have actually kept to our resolutions?

Despite some pretty great successes in February, I realized there was a big resolution I had completely forgotten about… I actually forgot about my monthly goal of running every day.

I’m actually pretty disappointed in myself about that one. Despite it being almost nonstop rain for the month, there were plenty of opportunities I passed on to run for various reasons. For a moment, I completely ruled the month, and my resolutions, as failures.

Are you in the same boat with failed resolutions? Maybe you’ve been working hard but you’re not seeing results. You might be doubting your abilities or feeling helpless. Or maybe you feel guilty about making yourself and your goals a priority. No matter the reason, there’s always the opportunity to start again. Here’s how you can bounce back from failed resolutions.

Right here, right now

The past is done with and the future is yours for the taking. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done before. It’s about what you’re doing now. There’s no reason that one small setback should derail your goals — you can always start again. In fact, it’s coming back to the resolution or goal you’ve made that speaks more volumes. Still, we can study the past.

It’s okay to realize we’ve fallen off track. Think back to the pattern of behavior that caused you to fall off. For me, it was the rain. I started making excuses because my goal was to run. Right here, right now, I can’t control what excuses I came up with, but I can control how I move forward. I set a new intention and made adjustments — instead of just running, my goal is exercise. If the weather permits, that’s running. If it doesn’t, I have a small workout circuit that I can do from the comfort of my dry living room.

Accept yourself

We are all human and therefore imperfect. Often, we compare ourselves to an ideal version that may or may not be reality. Or we might get frustrated that our ideal self isn’t here yet (such as losing X pounds, getting a book accepted by publishers, or getting our painting in front of a large audience).

It’s okay to accept yourself as a human in the middle of change. We aren’t where we were and we aren’t quite to the finish, but we are here. Accepting that you might have fallen off track will help you bounce back up. You still have the power to make decisions and start again.

Setbacks are temporary

Just because you’ve lost some traction doesn’t mean you’re out of the race. We all lose motivation from time to time or feel like we’re out of our depths. The great thing is, these setbacks are only as permanent as you make them. Your motivation will return, you’ll learn how to swim a different technique to keep you going, and you can find help and resources around you.

Think about how you tie your habit, goal, or resolution into your values. If you’re feeling guilty about putting yourself first, you have to understand where your priorities lie within your values. For example, one of my values is health, thus any action that increases my health is considered a priority. When I understand my why, I know that this goal is something I can focus on long term. Yes, February was a hiccup, but I can start again today.


My first gut feeling was that the entire month of February was ruined because I failed one of my resolutions. I completely neglected the other things I had accomplished. Instead of focusing on the wins, I made the loss overwhelming and disappointing.

Instead of focusing on being discouraged, I instead looked at the things I was able to accomplish. I might not have run in the mornings but I was up and writing for at least an hour every day before work. I didn’t always have the chance or even choose to run when I got home but I was able to meal prep and save money every week for lunch instead of going out to eat. I not only finished a full rewrite of a book, I got through another round of edits, kept writing book 3, and wrote on Medium every weekday. On top of that, I started a coaching business from scratch and picked up two clients within a week of launching my website.

Gratitude for the things I had accomplished made me feel lighter about my setback. Now I’ve accepted that March is a chance to start again and make it better.

You can always bounce back and find new success with your resolutions. Start small and accept that little actions and successes add up. Though you might not see results immediately, the more you continue to show up, the better your chances are to find those wins.

And if you completely forgot that you had a monthly resolution like me, try tying it in with other habits you already complete. Habit stacking is a great way to stay on task and build a new resolution into your life. You still have ten months of 2020 to make your goals a reality. Even if you don’t get there this year, you can always bounce back to your habits and watch the wins grow.

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