With New Year’s bells still ringing in the air and social media abuzz with friends’ grand, new resolutions, I was faced with a stinging failure.

Ice cream fell on asphalt top view

Well, I suppose it had to happen eventually.

I just processed a refund for a resume client whose expectations I failed to meet.

For years, I’ve proudly touted my resume company’s “perfect, 100% client satisfaction rate.” Now our client satisfaction rate is 99.5%.

Which just doesn’t have the same ring of conviction. At all.

So as the new year begins, while we are all supposed to be basking in Christmas afterglow and making positive, proactive goals for the future, I’m facing a stinging failure.

And okay, to be fair, it wasn’t all my fault. The client refused to explain why she was dissatisfied or allow me to resolve her concerns. There was literally nothing I could do but refund her money with a smile.

But this incident makes me think about my own goals for 2015. My goals to be more open, more positive, more energetically engaged in pursuing the best parts of life.

No matter how we begin 2015, each of us will face disappointments, malfunctions, and failures—minor and not-so-minor. There is literally nothing we can do to avoid it.

Our only choice is how we will respond.

Will we…

• Ruminate over our failures, replaying them again and again, letting them dominate our mental space?
• Succumb to discouragement and let a flop keep us from trying again?
• Interpret our failures as proof of our incompetence, foolishness, or inferiority?

Or will we…

• Search for the lesson and opportunity for growth with each setback?
• Resolve to try again?
• Persist in viewing our world with hope, optimism, and energy?

Perhaps a failure is actually the perfect way to begin the year. A reminder that persistence, growth, and learning, especially in the face of setbacks, are the highest goals.

This year, resolve—whatever the stumbling block or misstep—to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and carry on.

It may be that that’s the only resolution that really matters.

Happy New Year!