Really, the problem isn’t that plans fail, it’s what we do when they fail. When we miss a day or two at the gym, or order takeout when we meant to cook, most of us just shrug, give up entirely, and say, “Well, there’s always next year,” or we find another milestone to look forward to, and we repeat the whole embarrassing process over again. That’s the wrong attitude. Yes, there is always tomorrow. But there is also right now.

Every productivity system or health plan starts off like an awful first draft. You make bad assumptions and stupid mistakes, things you thought were a great idea turn out to be unsalvageable dead ends, and at the end you just need to tear it up. But then you need to start again — and that’s when things will start to click.

When a plan or resolution fails, the solution isn’t to dismiss it and try a new, equally rigid prescription next year or next time. It’s to build on what worked, ruthlessly cut what didn’t and start straight away on a much-improved second draft. Trying to run three miles every day while eating nothing but raw vegetables might be a terrible idea — but running a few days a week isn’t.

Harry Guinness, journalist, source: Washington Post