How often do you set new goals with enthusiasm, motivation, and a clean slate mentality? Do you get started at full-force only to find yourself back at square one a few weeks later? Derailing from your plans can be discouraging and frustrating. What’s worse is not knowing how to get back on track, leaving you to feel hopeless and ready to quit. The next time you experience a setback, remember these 5 key strategies and tips to help you build and stick to a plan that works for you, your lifestyle, and your goals.
1. BE REALISTIC
The easiest way to fail is by setting up unrealistic goals. It’s in our nature to want instant gratification, but the reality is, anything that comes quickly generally has some type of fallout in the long-term. If you give yourself the time to be successful, you will be more likely to accomplish what you initially set out to do!
- Avoid setting deadlines that are too short
- Set micro-goals to establish the steps needed to reach your long-term goal
- Don’t forget that life happens and part of being realistic is taking into account potential setbacks that can slow down or deter you from your goals; “expect the unexpected”
- Make sure you have a backup plan
- Practice self-awareness so you don’t feel overwhelmed, bogged down, or obsessively consumed
2. GET BACK TO THE BASICS TO GET BACK ON TRACK
Anytime you fall off track, stick to what you feel confident in and what you know. Getting back into the groove doesn’t have to be a complicated process, remember the basics and apply those to your game plan first. If you feel like what you’ve been doing is the ultimate cause for things going astray, it can be tempting to quickly turn to the next quick fix, especially when you are determined to get back to where you were. Be mindful of your thoughts and try to eliminate any fixations on “this isn’t working, what’s my next option”. Instead, refocus your attention toward the strengths of your foundation and the components you already have down. From there, you can work on reintroducing the basics and making improvements in the areas you have struggled with.
3. IDENTIFY THE ROOT CAUSE
In order to correct any problem, whether it is a first-time occurrence or an ongoing issue, is to identify and address the “why”. If you’ve fallen off track, experience repetitive setbacks, or feel like you have to keep forcing yourself to stay accountable, your excuses and reasons won’t solve the core issues. This is called the root cause. Your actions and choices are grounded in something deeper than an easy modification to your current plan. Think about other areas of your life that may be influencing your behavior and decisions. Once you’ve identified what could be holding you back, you can take proactive steps toward unrooting things for good!
- Emotional and mental health
- Changes in stress
- Boredom or listlessness
- Changes in your environment
- Self-compassion and self-care
- Taking on too much at once
- Injury or illness
- Sudden or unexpected life changes
- Internalized emotions such as trauma, pain, anger, or grief
- Negative reward systems
4. GET BACK ON TRACK WITH STRUCTURE
The best plan is the one that meshes with your lifestyle, supports your goals, and doesn’t strip you of the things that make you happy. Whether you’re getting back on track or starting something new, combining your plan with structure will create more balance in your life, greater motivation, and fewer distractions that could throw you off course. Start by forming a routine that incorporates steps toward reaching your goals and work on it each day. As you strengthen your habits you’ll build confidence in your actions and in turn develop long-term lifestyle changes.
5. FOLLOW THROUGH AND REWARD
And finally, the last piece to getting back on track is following through with your plan and rewarding yourself when you reach new achievements. When you give yourself the credit where credit is due and acknowledge yourself for making the right choices, you are feeding your body and mind with healthy, positive reinforcement. Not only does this type of self-assurance keep you motivated and excited to keep improving, but it creates more value in the choices you make and why you are making them.