I realized recently that it's stilly to beat myself up when I mess up a routine or habit I've been working on cultivating, because messing it up gives you perspective. How can you tell if something's working or not otherwise?
My light bulb moment came because my coach pushed me to move my meditation to first thing in the morning to make sure it gets done. I was trying to do it around lunch, and I really enjoyed the reset it gave my day, but of course I missed days here and there because things get busy, I don't always take a lunch away from my desk, yada yada. So I agreed (begrudgingly--I hate getting up any earlier than I have to!) and lo and behold, I didn't miss a single day of meditation/gratitude/affirmations in two weeks!
So, clearly it was working to get my practice consistent. I still wasn't sold that it helped me as much as midday meditation however. But then this week I skipped it a few times because I was running late, or thought it'd be easy to do later. And (I'm sure you see where this is going!) it didn't happen. Or I did fit it in but it made me feel harried and less satisfied.
So falling off the wagon of meditating first thing in the morning showed me how beneficial it actually was! It gave me the point of comparison I needed to see the progress I'd been making. The changes were slow and gradual, so I was taking them for granted.
I think this is how most things go in life, especially the subtle things--the good habit we started that we're starting to tire of maintaining. It takes a while to see the change we want, and it can seem like it's not even happening. So don't beat yourself up if (when!) you fall off the wagon--that's exactly what you need to remind yourself WHY you're doing it in the first place.
And of course, the inverse is true too--if you skip the habit a couple times and don't see any change, maybe it's not doing what you want and you should then feel free to drop it! And try something else--life is just a big experiment after all. No body has all the answers.