Often when I am working with health coaching clients, the word “fail” comes up.

“I failed at meal planning this week.”

“My diet is a failure.”

“This month feels like a fail.”

With the word itself comes a defeatist attitude, usually accompanied by a long sigh and the general lack of enthusiasm to move forward. The word “failure” is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It makes us want to give in to the misery of having made a mistake, when really—failure is an opportunity.

Progress Isn’t a Straight Line

So often, we seek “quick fixes” to the parts of our life that concern us. We want to see a change in diet take effect right away, we want defined abs after just a few workouts, we want to master meditation after our first session.

The fact is that most wellness habits are a practice in… well, practice! We must engage in health-focused mindsets daily to see true effects take place. If you put time in, you will see rewards!

But sometimes, we are going to mess up. We eat junk foods, we stay up too late, we skip a few work-outs. It’s going to happen—you’re not perfect, nor should you aim for perfection!

What we can aim for is consistently aiming towards progress. There might be dips and breaks in the line every now and then, but if you keep your eyes on your goals, your trajectory will remain one of progress.

Practicing Forgiveness Is Practicing Self Love

Beating yourself up over every small failure is a foolproof way to deny yourself growth. While you might feel inclined to feel angry or downtrodden after a misstep, there is a better way.

Forgive yourself! Forgiving yourself is a radical act of self love in a society that aims to keep us feeling cynical, or negative.

If you don’t love yourself, you won’t truly want the best for yourself. Without that motivator, you cannot achieve the self-improving goals you’re aiming for.

Find the Lessons

Rather than seeing failures as obstacles, learn to view them as lessons you can learn. Every misstep is merely an opportunity!

For every stumble, there is a chance for reflection. Give yourself some time to reflect on what mistakes you made, and what your intentions were. Moving forward, set different intentions and follow a different course of action.

Life isn’t about getting everything right every time. Life is about trying your best to constantly improve, and if you love yourself enough to forgive yourself every now and then, you can achieve just that.