Here we are a little over two months into the new year. By now, some people have already forgotten about their goals for the new year. Others have slipped a few times and then got back on course.

The most dangerous thing is to have a slip (eat too much, miss a day at the gym, spend more money than is budgeted, etc.) and then slide into giving up on their goals.

Here is what I think: Slips are normal, slips are going to occur, and you need to be prepared for how you are going to respond to them, because how you respond to slips is what makes all the difference.

Some people slip and slide, and then some people slip and then soar. Let’s take a closer look at these two different ways to handle the slips in your life.

How to slip and slide

• Tell yourself “since I messed up a little bit (slip), I might as well just go ahead and mess up all the way (slide.)”

• Expect yourself to be perfect.

• Do not prepare and not know what to do when you slip.

• Beat yourself up over and over. Say helpful things like “Why can’t I ever be successful?” “I can never stick to anything, etc.”

How to slip and soar

• Expect slips, from time to time. Expectation is not permission, it’s preparation.

• When slips do occur, realize that this is a normal human event. Since we are all fallible human beings, there will be times when we stumble.

• When you slip, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on course. Do not beat yourself up for the slip.

• Learn from the slip. Is this a situation in which you are likely to slip? How can you avoid this situation in the future?

• Reconnect with why you set the goal in the first place. Remember the progress you have made and the wins you have had.

• Focus on the goal. Re-chart your course. Get going. Soar.

For more tips on goal setting and goal getting, you can visit

And one more thing before I close for today: the slip is not as important as how you respond to it. Remember the old Japanese proverb: “Fall down 8 times, get up 9.”

Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist.

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