17 Quotes About Failure That Will Actually Inspire You To Get Back Up & Try Again

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The first week of 2018 has already flown by — do you know where your New Year's resolutions are? If you're anything like me, you have already had a slip up or two, but these inspiring literary quotes about failure will encourage you to keep striving to reach whatever goal you set for yourself, this year and beyond.

Despite the best of intentions, approximately 92% of people fail at or give up their New Year's resolution, according to popular statistics. Whether it's because the goals themselves are unreasonable or the lifestyle changes are too dramatic, many people find sticking to their resolutions of getting health, saving money, staying organized, or whatever else nearly impossible within the first few weeks of January.

Just because we tend to fail at our resolutions, however, doesn't mean we should stop setting goals. While it is true that there are a lot of problems with the "New Year, New Me" culture, it is also true that self-improvement is a healthy, normal part of everyday life. Whether you want to make moves in your career, change your lifestyle, or learn a new skill, the New Year is the perfect excuse to get a head start.

When "At first you don't succeed, try and try again" just isn't cutting it, recite one of these 17 inspiring literary quotes about failure and remind yourself that, even if you don't get your goals right the first time, you're never really defeated.

“Failure doesn't define you. It's what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air.”

— Sabaa Tahir, A Torch Against the Night

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“Such a simple concept, yet so true: that which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.”

— Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

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“The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment.”

— Deborah Moggach, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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“If you want something you can have it, but only if you want everything that goes with it, including all the hard work and the despair, and only if you're willing to risk failure. ”

— Philip Pullman, Clockwork

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“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

“Failure is a state of mind. It's like one of those sand traps an ant lion digs. You keep sliding back. Takes one hell of a jump to get out of it.”

— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

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“There is nothing in the world so easy to explain as failure — it is, after all, what everybody does all the time.”

— Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

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“If you don't try at anything you can't fail... it takes back bone to lead the life you want."

— Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

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“In any case you mustn't confuse a single failure with a final defeat.”

— F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night

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“I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always ... so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”

— Yann Martel, Life of Pi

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“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.”

— Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

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“I'm done with those; regrets are an excuse for people who have failed.”

— Ned Vizzini, It's Kind of a Funny Story

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“The phoenix must burn to emerge.”

— Janet Finch, White Oleander

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“I don't believe in failure, because simply by saying you've failed, you've admitted you attempted. And anyone who attempts is not a failure. Those who truly fail in my eyes are the ones who never try at all. The ones who sit on the couch and whine and moan and wait for the world to change for them.”

— Sarah Dessen, Keeping the Moon

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“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”

— Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

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“I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”

— Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

— Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

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