If you read part one of this two-part blog post, you understand what every successful person knows. No matter how solid your strategy for goal accomplishment or how determined you are, you absolutely will fall off track at least once and probably several times as you see your way through to the finish line. It’s not the falling down that’s the problem, but the staying down. If you keep getting back up and trying again, you will probably get where you where you want to go eventually. These five tips will help:
1. Ask yourself if perhaps falling off track is a wake-up call or blessing in disguise. Let’s say you prepared exquisitely for a job interview and you didn’t get the job, or you are training for your first marathon when an injury sidelines you. Maybe that job wasn’t really right for you, or it could be that you’ve been training too hard and need more rest. Sometimes falling off track can be one of the best things that ever happened.
2. Trust your intuition to tell you what to do. Perhaps you’ve been devoted to a new diet and exercise regimen for several weeks and you wake up completely unmotivated to go to the gym and craving a stack of flapjacks for breakfast. Give in to your intuition’s request for a day off and you’ll probably feel more motivated tomorrow. Push through your resistance and you will likely rebel in a bigger way that will set you back further.
3. Re-visit your priorities. If your plans are thwarted by an outside hindrance ranging from unexpected company to an unforeseen lay-off, give yourself permission to shift your focus appropriately. Put down your painting materials or gardening tools or whatever else you’re immersed in and move your attention to making a nice dinner, updating your resume’, or whatever else is needed for the time-being. You may find it hard to trust that if you abandon your new agenda, even temporarily, you will ever get back on track – especially if you’ve been derailed before. But if you don’t try to do too much at once and burn yourself out, your intuition will let you know when to take up your new plan again.
4. Recognize the value of your down time. When you’re not in the mood to work toward your goals, or when internal or external factors make working on your goals impossible, view the interruption as a temporary recess – and get the most out of it. Really reflect on whether your goals are still right for you and whether they are manageable. If you find you are no longer passionate about the path you’re on, do a little soul-searching and determine what you do want to work toward. Or if you’re still invested in your current plan, maybe breaking it down into smaller, more workable steps will reignite your resolve.
5. Treat yourself well. Regardless of what has knocked you off course, berating yourself is a complete waste of time. Whatever stumbling block is causing the pause in your plan, you won’t make it better by punishing yourself. So tell yourself it’s okay to take a break, and ask yourself what you can do to feel better and get motivated again. Renewing your enthusiasm can come from incentives as simple as taking a silent walk in the woods, watching a funny movie, or enjoying dinner and conversation with your best friend. And lastly, always remember this: the best way to stay engaged and confident when you do get back on track is to reward yourself — not just when you cross the finish line, but every small, empowering step of the way.