Finding your way includes knowing where you've been. Even while following well-defined trail this can be important for the unplanned circumstance.
Putting tools like map and compass/GPS aside, one simple habit can really help when progress is stalled and one must backtrack: look around you. Yes, it's that simple.
Just look around you. Absorb the features of the land, particularly in the opposite direction. You might be surprised how different everything looks when going the other way; hindsight is 20/20 as we all know! If you regularly look around you'll be setting your own mental breadcrumbs that you can use to find your way back should other methods fail.
Aldo Leopold Wilderness, New Mexico.