What I tell myself when I think I've failed

This HG contributor wrote a letter to herself after struggling with some of the goals she had set for 2017.

Hey girl, heeeyyy!

Why are you making that “I feel sad for myself so I’m about to eat a gallon of ice cream” face? Oh. Right. It’s March. You’re simultaneously excited about Women’s History Month and devastated about the lack of dating prospects. It’s a weird emotional combination for sure. With all that’s happening in the world, you also broke your New Year’s Resolutions some time ago.

I’ve been where you are. All the declarations you made at Christmas after eating as much pie, cake, and stuffing as your ugly sweater would allow have long expired. The drunk promises you pledged allegiance to are now a distant memory. You already lightweight stalked your ex on social media. (I agree, by the way, he totally looks miserable without you.) You haven’t called your mom more often — in fact, you’ve now called her less than you did in January. You were determined to lose that baby weight, but things didn’t work out. On top of everything else, you promised to use social media less, but then Beyonce had to go and make a glorious pregnancy announcement.

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You’re still beautiful. You’re still successful. You’re important.

New Year’s resolutions were meant to be broken. If they were easy, we would call them something else — or nothing at all. They would just be our way of life. Good habits take longer to develop than bad habits, so don’t beat yourself up. Just keep trying to be as healthy as you can. Start smaller. Buy more veggies, even if they are destined to wither away slowly in the crisper graveyard like your good intentions of the past. Take the stairs more often, and know that “more often” is subjective. Remember: baby steps.

This really creepy guy once told me something I will never forget — partly because he almost talked me into a weight loss scam. He asked what I would do if I got a flat tire on the way to a really important meeting. Naturally, I said I would call someone and cry. His reply?

“Exactly! What you wouldn’t do is slash the other four tires!”

It made a lot of sense. I encourage you to apply this logic to the broken promises you may have made to yourself.

Sometimes when we fail to meet our personal goals, we immediately give up and give in.

Don’t sabotage your success because you made one mistake. Temporary setbacks don’t have to take over your life. Stop, regroup, and try again. Life would be boring without mistakes anyway. If you go from a breakfast of green smoothies one week to frosted butter croissants the next, no worries.

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You should also know most of us struggle to maintain new habits. There is no shame in it. Just in case the slashed tire story wasn’t cheesy enough, here’s a classic cliché: Life is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not over just because you stumbled.

Part of the experience is about letting the process happen. Your process might involve a few more setbacks than other people’s, and that’s totally fine.

Maybe you tried to quit smoking last year, but haven’t gone a day without a puff in 2017. Keep a diary and note the mood you were in when you smoked. What happened right before you took the first hit? This simple task can help you identify and eventually avoid triggers.

We are humans. We are perfectly imperfect, and that is totally fine. Stumbling is just proof you’re trying. If all else fails, watch some cute babies trying to accomplish goals on the internet and get back in the saddle! We focus so much on our failures around this time of year. Let’s celebrate the effort it took to try in the first place.

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