Progress is never a straight line. Often it’s a matter of one step forward, two steps back. Just ask Oprah, icon of self-improvement, who publicly confessed how sabotaging beliefs contributed to weight issues that continue to plague her. Backsliding after we’ve started some new habits or set new goals is common. The choice you make after you’ve “fallen off the wagon” that is critical.

Backsliding can show up anywhere. You decide to save some money, but then you can’t resist that shopping spree. You resolve to speak calmly with your children, but then lose your temper and yell at them instead. You decide to end a relationship with someone who doesn’t love and appreciate you, but then you rationalize those feelings away.

The best of intentions can get crushed by procrastination, old habits or disempowering thoughts. Here are a few tips to get back on track after you catch yourself backsliding.

1. Celebrate Your Awareness

Do you immediately launch into self-recrimination and judgment when you backslide? Instead of beating yourself up, choose to celebrate your awareness. Within the seeds of the breakdown are the keys to creating a lasting breakthrough.

Action Step: Come up with a positive mantra or affirmation to use when you discover you’re out of integrity with your goals. Try “Hey, I’m curious about what took me off course,” instead of “Hey, you loser, you blew it again!” Love yourself forward.

2. Patience is a Virtue

In a world addicted to instant gratification, creating empowering new habits and thoughts takes discipline, repetition and, often, time. How many years did it take to create the bad habit in the first place? A few decades perhaps? Is it so unreasonable to think it may take you a few weeks or months of focused intention and action to unlearn a lifetime of mental programming?

Action Step: Catch yourself when you get impatient and stop. Impatience is a quality of the ego-self, not the Higher Self. While sometimes a permanent shift can just take a split second, often we simply need to be more patient with our process.

3. Think Outside the Box

Einstein said it best when he observed that trying to solve problems at the same level of thinking that created them is an exercise in futility. It’s like trying to hammer a nail, when the only tool you have is a saw. Breaking out of deeply ingrained subconscious patterns often requires thinking outside the box.

Action Step: Realize there’s a lot you don’t know. Work with a coach, find an accountability partner, or connect with like-minded people who are achieving the success you want to create as a way to break loose from old patterns.

Author's Bio: 

Success Strategist, coach and author, Carolyn B. Ellis, is the founder of and Her mission is to empower others to turn adversity into opportunity so they can improve relationships, increase self-confidence and reach their highest potential. She is the award-winning author of The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive After Divorce. To receive a special gift, visit

Carolyn is also Self Growth's Official Guide to Divorce. Additional Resources covering Divorce can be found at:

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