For many, January has a special magic to it. It's the fresh start of a new year--a beginning. The calendar is blank and many embrace the idea of commencing the year with shiny goals, resolutions or intentions.

February doesn't usually feel quite so fresh or exciting.

If you've started something new, you might be bumping up against the things that have made it difficult to succeed in the past. Your motivation might not be so strong, maybe you've had some hard days or you're feeling like you've fallen off your horse.

Here's your gentle reminder that the key to success is NOT "getting it perfect." Falling off the horse or taking a wrong turn is a much-to-be expected part of moving forward. Change is a process and very few of us get it completely right on the very first try.

In fact, if you don't ever fall off your horse, you might be doing yourself a disservice. Successful change doesn't require perfection. NOT getting it perfect is what teaches us resilience and flexibility and the skills we need to adjust and adapt. It's also really only when we know that we can fall off the horse and get back on that we know we have what it takes to make changes that last. That confidence is invaluable.

Are there currently any places in your life where you've faltered and need to focus on getting back into action? If so, here are my tips for getting back on the horse:

•Don't even think about getting back on the horse without considering what caused you to fall off in the first place. You absolutely don't want to set yourself up for failure. What do you need to do, what adjustments do you need to make, so that your fall is less likely to happen again? Don't forget--even the best laid plans usually need adjustment and tweaking.

•Is perfectionism getting in your way? If so, you might want to check out the blog post I wrote last week about how to squash your inner perfectionist link how to squash your inner perfectionist

•Are you getting in your own way by beating yourself up emotionally and feeling bad about your stalled progress?
If so, it's eating up energy you could use to get moving again. I challenge you to let any existing guilt and self blame be something you practice letting go of this week.

•Consider what might help you grow your energy, your motivation, and your inspiration. Do you feel enthusiastic about what it is that you are trying to do?

Prime areas to examine include whether you might need more support; whether your goal is meaningful or exciting enough for you; or whether you might benefit from a partner or a strategy to stay accountable?

If you aren't currently "in action," any movement counts towards getting you there. What action could you take that would get you even one inch closer to your horse? What would help you climb back on? What action can you commit to taking in the next 24 hours?

Starting a new goal or project is impressive, but sticking with it (and starting again) through the less exciting and more difficult stages is the real trick to creating enduring change.

Author's Bio: 

Melissa McCreery, PhD, ACC, is a Psychologist, ICF Certified Life Coach, emotional eating expert, and the founder of, a company dedicated to providing smart resources to busy women struggling with food, weight and overwhelm. Find out more and pick up her free audio series: “5 simple steps to move beyond overwhelm with food and life” at

Copyright 2009 - Melissa McCreery, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, and provide full author credit.