Navigating The Times When You Fall Off Track

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I read recently that most people who start the year with goals fall off track by the third week of January.  Let’s talk a bit about how can you beat the odds (at any time of the year).

Don’t Let Setbacks Discourage You

Many people start with strong motivation, a clear plan, and an unobstructed path, but life gets in the way. Unfortunately, many people take the first fall as a complete wash and fall off the track completely. That doesn’t have to be you. You don’t have to blame yourself for any setbacks. The fact is it won’t be the last. It certainly doesn’t mean game over. You can use setbacks as a learning experience and motivate yourself to get back on track. 

Think About Your Motivation

In order to motivate yourself to get back on track, look at what motivated you in the first place. Sit down and think about the “why?” If you look at the bigger picture, you’ll realize you don’t have to take the setback as a flaw in your character or a reflection of your worthiness. Notice the self-judgment and let it go. What if instead you saw it as a normal part of the process? You are not an automaton, you’re a human being. Focus your energy on recapturing the memory or the feeling that lit a fire under you in the first place. That can help you get back on track. Reflect on your reasons for setting the goal and the difference it will make in your life. 

Say, for instance, you’ve set out to train with weights and body resistance starting with 30 minutes twice a week, but you find that the time you set aside to do so is now spent surfing the net. Remind yourself that the reason you started is that you want to have stronger muscles and healthier bones and to burn more fat. You want more stamina, balance, and flexibility. You want to be fit and tone. You want to increase your chances of being healthy and active in your later years. You want a better chance of seeing your grandchildren grow up to raise children of their own and be healthy enough to interact with them. You want to sleep better. Whatever your reasons for taking action, keep them top of mind. 

Assess and Adjust Your Goals

Maybe you fell off (or are on the verge of falling off) track because your goals were a little out of reach or unrealistic. Whenever you start any journey, a goal will always be at least slightly out of reach. That’s why you begin the journey in the first place, so you will get closer to your overall goal. However, every journey has milestones. Setting certain realistic milestones in your journey helps you along the way, builds confidence, and gives you natural stopping points to reflect on what you’ve learned and accomplished, and where you need to make adjustments. And, when you reassess you may learn that you need some help. So, get it, whether it be from a spouse or other relative, friend with similar goals, coach, spiritual guide, personal trainer, nutritionist or other licensed health care provider, teacher, meetup group, or other resource.  

Acknowledge Your Milestone Wins

And when you reach each milestone, give yourself a pat on the back, a little reward for your accomplishment. 🏅 Don’t wait to acknowledge your progress until you reach your mega-goal.  Give yourself permission to feel good about yourself along the way. That will help you maintain momentum from one milestone to the next.

Take A Moment

The first thing anyone wants to do whenever they start a new journey is to take off running. However, that can lead to anxiety, stress, and other mood changes. It can set you up for disappointment if you are taking too many steps too fast. Step it down while still gaining momentum. 

If a goal is to eat better, take a moment to slow down. Enjoy each mouthful, listen to your body’s signals, and how much of an experience it is to nourish your body. This is a combination of mindful and intuitive eating. It’s great for those who are always on the go and need a moment to relax. There are many different steps you can take to change your relationship with food.  As with changing any habit. it’s counterproductive though to take too many of them at one time. 

Each step of the way though you’re doing your body a favor too. Improving your digestion, not worrying about guilt or other emotions, and creating a strong connection with food will give you a moment to take a few deep breaths, letting you live in the moment.