5 ways to get yourself back on track

By now, thousands of people have gone off track. They had the best intentions when they made their New Years resolutions, but life happened…

I’m not a fan of resolutions. Telling yourself you’re going to do something that isn’t already part of your routine (“I’m going to eat healthy and exercise every day!”), or that you’re going to start looking at life with a completely different lens than you currently wear (“I’m going to be a more positive person!”), well… it’s like setting yourself up for disappointment.

Changing something about your life begins with awareness. Do you recognize it when you grab the bag of potato chips instead of the apple? What about when you press the elevator button instead of taking the stairs – is it a conscious choice or are you allowing old habits to control you?

Perhaps you are fully aware of each choice you make. And that’s when justification rears its sabotaging head (“I ate veggies today – I totally deserve this chocolate bar!”). Or, my personal favourite, (“The kids have made me crazy all day! I need potato chips!”).

Inevitably, regret washes over you. You’re mad at yourself for not having self-control. Then you feel bad about yourself, your life, and you continue indulging in whatever old comfort you have, wrapping it around your soul like a warm blanket. Except that blanket only has the illusion of comfort. It suffocates the vision of your ideal self – you know, the one you saw when you started with your resolution.

Now – how do you get yourself back on track? And – this is very important – before trying these tactics, please remember that you’re human. You’re going to fail. You’re going to mess up and fall off the tracks. Likely multiple times before reaching your goals. It’s okay – life happens.

Reward system

If you’re working on weight loss, perhaps one of your downfalls was dessert. Rather than dreaming of that bowl of ice cream smothered in chocolate sauce, consider treating yourself to a fruit smoothie for dessert. It’s all about finding something you enjoy that fits with the new self you’re working towards.

Goal reminders

A “motivational” (I use the word hesitantly – you’ll see why) quote I read a few years ago is written on a sticky note and placed on the wall near my desk. It resonates with me, despite the colourful language:

“Decide what it is you want. Write that shit down. Make a fucking plan. And work on it. Every Single Day”.

 

Accountability

Hopefully, you have at least one friend who you trust to hit you with the truth when you need it. If you say you want to stop smoking, but every time your friend hangs out with you, there’s a cigarette between your fingers, you want that friend to give you the look. You know the look – disapproval, mixed with disappointment, and smothered in concern. 

Believing you’re worth it

This one may be tougher for some to accomplish. Often the reason we’re stuck in the rut of undesirable habits is because of our self-esteem. It’s often a vicious circle of I want to feel good/be healthy, I try and change the bad habit(s), I fail, I feel defeated/low/unworthy, I reach for the comfort of the habit… you likely know the story.

Believing in yourself and in your ability to make and stick with the changes you want in your life is most definitely easier said than done. However, it is also not impossible. Remind yourself each morning that your health and well-being are important. Often, the caretaker personalities among us believe that the needs of others come before us. Hogwash. If we don’t take care of us, how can we take care of others?

Forgiveness

When your train goes off the track, forgive yourself. Remember that bad habits seep into your life slowly so removing them will take some time. You are worth your patience.

 

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