Eliminating the Feeling of Failure

Find out how to eliminate the feeling of failure that plagues so many of us.

I’m not an overly reflective or sentimental person.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely devoid of emotion, I just don’t spend a lot of time musing over the past.  As we turned over a new year this past weekend though, I found myself thinking a lot about 2016, as well as the coming year.

The past year has been truly amazing.  I’ve watched my daughter go from an infant to a toddler, learn to walk, talk, run, dance, play, slide, eat with a spoon and fork, swing, jump, and so many more things.  I have made new friends, done a lot of self-development, grown as a wife and mom, and I started something that has been a dream of mine since 2009 – this blog.  

I’ve changed A. LOT. this past year, and I am truly loving the path that I am on at the moment.  So, I have been mulling over what I want for the coming year.  I’ve never been big on resolutions, but a number a years ago, it became popular to come up with a guiding word for the year, instead of making resolutions.  While I was intrigued by the idea, I never chose to participate…until now.

This year, I’ve decided to choose one word to be my focus.  After thinking about what I wanted the year to look like, my goals for the year, and how I wanted to feel throughout the year, I’ve chosen the word forward as my very first “word of the year.”

I know it may not be the most exciting word (or maybe it’s even downright boring), but let me explain my choice.  I am incredibly hard on myself, and I know that I am far from alone in that sentiment.  I want to do everything, AND do it perfectly.  Totally reasonable expectation, right? 

At one time, it was reasonable.  When I was younger, I was involved in many different things – choir, orchestra, piano, theater, swimming, academics, dance, etc. – and I truly was good, if not the best, at all of them.  Unfortunately, though, this set me up with the expectation that things should be the same now that I am a fully independent, adult woman.  Except, all that it really does, is set me up for failure.  

When I was younger, I didn’t have any bills to pay, I didn’t have an entire home to maintain, I didn’t have a child and husband to take care of, I wasn’t really in charge of my own schedule, I didn’t have to personally care for the furry creatures living at my house, I didn’t have to cook, and on and on and on.  My only job was to do my best at the activities that I was involved in.  Yet, even as my responsibilities have continued to grow as I get older, my expectations have not changed.  So, I end up feeling like a failure in pretty much every area of my life.

For instance, just this Christmas season, I found myself irritable and snappy at times with both my husband and my daughter.  Fail.  I feel like I am drowning in my house because of how much stuff we have accumulated.  Fail.  I never get through my daily to-do list because there’s just not enough time.  Fail.  Some days, it’s noon before I realize that the reason the cats are driving me insane is because they have no food.  Fail.  Recently, we’ve not been eating as healthfully, or cleanly, as I like because, again, it’s difficult to find time for everything.  Fail.

Since my expectation is essentially perfection, in every area of my life, when I don’t achieve that, it becomes a strike against my competency.  I have a hard time looking past the negative, and therefore, I rarely recognize all of the things that I have done right

It’s a tough way to live, and yet, I have been doing it for years.  So, this is what led to my word choice.  

I need to let go of the constant feeling of failure.  For me, the word ‘forward’ means progress – and not necessarily a designated amount of progress.  Just progress.  This coming year, at the end of the day, I am going to look at my to-do list, and instead of asking myself if I have completed the list, I am going to ask myself if I made progress with the list.  Are my home projects moving forward?  Am I making progress with my blog?  Is my relationship with both my husband and my daughter moving forward?  Am I continuing to work on self-development?  I believe that most days, the answer to many of these questions will be yes.  

My hope is that as the year progresses, and I am intentional in focusing simply on progress (instead of perfection), I can begin to eliminate the feeling of failure, and instead, start seeing all of the things that I am actually accomplishing.

I also love the fact that when we are excited about something upcoming, the phrase we use to express our excitement is “I’m looking forward to it.”  And that’s the truth.  I’m really am looking forward to this year.

Happy New Year!


Sharing is caring!


  1. This is beautiful and a perfect timing for me to read it. I can so relate to all of it. I’m on the wrong side of 50 and still want to do so much (hence the name of my blog) and perfectly. But I find I am Jas of all trades and master of none. I like your word, it so much more than just a word. May I steel it ? 😀
    Wishing you only the best in 2017!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with this. Steal away! Maybe it can help both of us in the coming year. 🙂 Happy 2017 to you, too!

  2. I totally can relate! That fail feeling is always weighing me down. Forward as your word for the year is perfect. A great reminder to beat down that Fail Feeling Monkey when it tries to reappear. May you have the most Forward year ever =) #happynowlinkup

    1. Why is it such a struggle?! Hopefully, the ‘word of the year’ will help me break that mindset. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I also love this and couldn’t help, but think, “Onward and forward”. Seriously, I know the end of the year also had me feeling a bit bogged down. So, hopeful that this new year, I will have less of that and more ways to indeed move forward now, too 😉

    1. Yes! Onward is a great word, as well, and it does go hand-in-hand with forward. That may become my new mantra. 🙂 The holidays are always such a mixed bag – so much joy, but also so much stress. Here’s to an amazing 2017!

  4. I have to admit that a couple of years ago when I was required to come up with a word for the year I thought it was really stupid. I thought it was just another gimmick and I didn’t want to waste my time on it. But since it was required, I came up with one. The word was “focus” and no one was more surprised than me when it actually helped me do just that. This year my word is “determination”. I love your word and the meaning behind it. Here’s wishing you a wonderful new year in which you move forward in a way that makes you happy.

    1. I’m intrigued by what would require you to choose a word. I hadn’t consciously made the decision to choose a word this year. The word ‘forward’ just came to me one day, and I felt like it was just really appropriate for where I am right now. I love your word, as well. Definitely a good one. I’m so glad to hear that it has been a beneficial practice for you. I hope you have a wonderful 2017, and thank you for stopping by!

  5. Simple progress forward is so important. I love watching small bits of progress. I get rather frustrated with out progress. Moving forward is so important to my overall mental health. I hope forward treats you well.

    1. It IS important. Too often I get caught up in the big picture, and don’t see all of the little things that are happening along the way. Hopefully, this will be good for my own mental health. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

  6. This was a really insightful read Amy, thank you! I can completely relate to how you’ve been feeling. I hope that 2017 is a great year for you and that you end this year feeling happy with your progress. #WAYWOW

    1. Thanks so much! Unfortunately, it’s such a common feeling, yet it’s not often talked about. I’m looking forward to seeing my own progress this year, and excited to have a specific word to focus on. Thank you for taking the time to read! Happy New Year!

  7. Hi Amy,
    I should have explained that it was my job that required us to choose a word. It felt like just the latest bandwagon they were promoting which made the whole thing feel very forced (and I hate both gimmicks AND being forced). I left out the most important detail in the story – my bad!

  8. This could not have come at a better time for me! I am SO feeling ya, Sister, on the fail part. Way to go! It’s time we all cut ourselves some slack! Visiting from the Let’s Be Friends Blog Hop…

    1. Thanks! On the one hand, it’s nice to know that so many people can relate, but on the other, it’s disheartening that so many of us struggle with it. You’re right, we should all cut ourselves some slack! Hopefully, we can both start seeing the positive during this new year. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. This post speaks to me so much. I wish I knew where the myth of the ‘perfect’ household came from. I want to send it back. And I don’t think that ‘forward’ is boring at all. It’s actually very unique and pretty much perfect. Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. Thanks so much! I don’t know where it came from either, but I’m with you – let’s send it back. Life is tough enough as it is. I hope your year is off to a great start, and thanks for stopping by!

  10. Amy, I cannot tell you how much I love this post. I began choosing a word of the Year 3 years ago, I always failed at keeping resolutions and it made me feel like a failure. Things were extremely hard in our life three years ago and and I was trying to recuperate after my stroke, I chose the word ‘breathe’ as my word of the year. I needed to let go and hand over all the things that were causing me anxiety, I needed to sit still and breathe deeply to move on to the next thing. That word got me through the year. Last year my year word was ‘transparent’ not only because I wanted others see how mental illness and addiction affected our family I also wanted to reflect a shining light onto others so that they could see their successes. This year my word is ‘Grace’. I want to show, give and learn to receive Grace better. There are so many out there hurting that if I focus on giving them grace, even for just a short moment, I hope that it makes both our lives better.

    Good luck with your word of the Year, forward is a great word. I can’t wait to see in how many ways you use it to love your life more.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing all of this, Nikki. I absolutely love all of your word choices over the past three years, but my favorite is probably this years – Grace. What a powerful word. I can’t even begin to imagine the impact that will have on you this year. You have certainly been through a lot, and I can see why you would choose the word grace. It’s definitely something this world needs more of. I hope your year is off to a wonderful start, and I’m looking forward to keeping up with your blog this year. 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading! And thanks for the tip about Amazon! I had actually just signed up. 🙂

  11. My mantra the past two years has been progress, not perfection! I’m definitely with you on trying to do everything to perfection, so I also just need to keep moving forward as I am FAR from that goal!

    1. Yes! Progress not perfection. It’s so hard to remember sometimes. I will say, though, that only after one week of focusing on this word, I do believe it is helping. Here’s to a whole year forward!

  12. Love your article and honesty. WIN!
    Love the way you write as well. WIN!
    Love your explanation of why you chose your word. WIN!

    I too am contemplating a word but I think I may have to break the popular mold of the one word movement and have 12. One per month. It will become a part of a project that I am working on.

    So I will share mine with you….Dwell. You will have to wait until I write more about it to know why I chose it. But thank you for sharing , this was a truly meaningful post to me and I appreciate you linking it up with the party bloggers, TADA.

    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment! I’ve always felt like writing is one of my (many) weaknesses, and I was hesitant to put an entirely written post out there. So, it’s really nice to hear that people enjoyed and connected with it. I love the idea of one word per month. The word Dwell is a great word, and I’m anxious to hear what it means for you. I’m also looking forward to what this project of yours is! Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.