Don’t just start over, forgive yourself

Haleigh McGill
Haleigh McGill

As the second month of the new year approaches, I want to remind you, whether you are going strong with your 2015 resolutions or have already messed up one or two of them, that you can start over anytime. New beginnings are not, and should not, be exclusively celebrated and embarked upon at the beginning of each new year.

One of the most incredible things about humans is that until we find ourselves six feet under a graveyard, we are not finished products. We are dynamic, metamorphic beings who, with the right dose of willpower, have the potential to take this world by storm and make an unforgettable impact. However, before anyone can do that, they must learn to find empowerment in the setback, hope in the midst of despair, strength in the hardships and joy in the big-picture journey. Sometimes we set goals that we don’t reach, and there’s an inherent sense of disappointment and anger that settles into our minds. When you stray from your goals, it’s easy to say “I’m just not meant to be that kind of person or accomplish that specific thing.” It’s easy to settle for average. But is settling for average, which in this case counts as giving up on yourself, easy to accept? Of course not. We are our own greatest motivator, biggest fan and cruelest critic and no one ever wants to feel disappointed in themselves. In order to move on and grow from that disappointment, one must learn the art of forgiving yourself and letting go of the failure.


I think we forget sometimes that messing up truly is not the end of the world and that there will always, always be another opportunity. Failure doesn’t mean that you cease to exist to everyone else, that you are a bad person, that you are weak or that you aren’t good enough. Make the decision to start over. Don’t waste time wishing you could change the past, keep looking forward and move along with your head up. If you are at peace with yourself, it’s both easier to imagine new ways to meet a previously unsuccessful goal as well as to make the decision to try one more time.

If the stars in your vast sky of resolution aren’t aligning, find a way to rearrange them yourself.  Do not allow yourself to be defined by failure; let it go, find a reason and do something that intimidates you. Do something that a year from now would make you say “I’m so glad I did that,” no matter how difficult and trying it may be. Do something that you would be proud of yourself for.

At the end of the day, if you aren’t failing every once in a while then you aren’t trying hard enough. It’s that simple. Do not let your failures leave you in ruins of a goal or resolution that you no longer believe in. Give yourself permission to start over and try again, but more importantly, forgive yourself for your past and what went wrong. You can’t carry on if you let who you were yesterday get the best of who you could be tomorrow. You are the captain of your adventure, so remember US Navy Captain James Lawrence‘s famous last words when the going gets rough: “Don’t give up the ship. ”

Collegian Columnist Haleigh McGill enjoys aggressive games of Catch Phrase and perusing crop circles for signs of alien life forms. She can be reached at, or on Twitter @HaleighMcGill.