When You Fail At Your Habits

We all KNOW we should exercise and eat right. Most of us who are educated and who keep up with the “Success” literature and media KNOW that we should meditate.

And yet, we fail to implement new habits from time to time. Perhaps we fail just starting them, and then quickly give up.

For the majority of my life, the one constant I had, aside from reading and learning , was a chaos if ever-changing interests, behaviors, and world views that left me feeling paralyzed with indecision, second-guessing, and perpetual self-doubt.

“I never finish anything, and I KNOW I won’t finish this,” was the program running in my mind.

And the constant memory of failure fed into self-sabotage and eroded my sense of self-agency.

But I have always been relentless when it comes to picking myself back up and trying anew. And for that, I am truly grateful.

After years of struggle, self-loathing, and aimless wandering, I decided that I would put my strength to practice. I’m a voracious reader, and when I get intensely interested in something, I absorb information like a sponge.

I picked up all the books on goal setting, habits, focus, and willpower that I could find. I read the actual science behind success–lots and lots of books.

So many, in fact, that a year later and I’m STILL wading through them!

And here, I want to use this short article to share one of the most startling lessons that I learned, and which instantly clicked in my mind once I saw it’s effects throughout my life.

In Kelly McGonigal’s book The Willpower Instinct, she discusses how the latest research is clearly showing that feeling guilt and self-blame for a habit-failure, say, like missing the gym or a meditation session, can actually make you FAR more likely to fail again–and again, and again.

You see, it’s a cycle. The worse you feel about yourself, the more you do the things that trigger those feelings.

When I realized that my rigid standards for myself were utterly back firing, I saw more growth and success in my life than ever before. And I’m only just getting started.

When you fail, when you make a mistake, you cannot wallow in self-blame. Don’t give up. It doesn’t matter if you’ve missed a week of exercise–or even years.


No matter how many times you fall, you must know that you will succeed.

To quote Jocko Willinck, “You go.”

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