Rav Pinchas of Koritz ztk’l one of the Ba’al Shem Tov’s students asks the question, “What’s the purpose of a momentary stirring of the Jewish heart to do better when in fact it is short-lived and they return back to their ‘old’ ways?”
His answer comes in the form of the following parable: Imagine a king’s son was kidnapped and held hostage; visualize the pain of the king yearning to see his son. He understands that his son’s release might be impossible yet the thought of seeing him for just a few moments a day warms his heart and serves as a ‘band aid’ over his aching heart. This in spite of the pain that his son would have to return to captivity after those few moments.
The lesson is clear; even if the pathway to teshuva appears as though it is ‘2 steps forward and 1 step back’ and complete teshuvah is unrealistic to achieve at this time, the stirring of the Jewish heart is ‘desired’ on high by Hashem even if for a few moments and that person returns to their previous spiritual fall afterwards.