Do you feel a little lost and want to know how to get back on track?
We all lose our footing sometimes. A string of setbacks can come tumbling down, one after another. It can feel difficult to pick yourself back up and keep going.
Having the right strategies in place will help you pull yourself out of a funk and get your momentum of success going again — even when life has pulled you off course.
In this article, I want to share some powerful strategies to get back on track toward creating the life you want and determining how to prioritize your life in way that lets you focus on what really matters.
1. Define your values
When life doesn’t go as planned, you can’t always choose your situation. But you can choose how you react. Choosing the best way forward requires knowing who you are and what’s most important in your life.
When you feel like you’ve gone off the rails, and all your options feel wrong, you’ve lost your flow. To get it back, you have to start doing things that feel right again, and decisively moving forward.
The solution to this indecision is to start thinking about values. Living true to yourself — aligning your actions with core values — feels right. It’s what gets you back into the flow of your life.
Taking the time to define your core values provides a source of guidance and direction you will always have with you — any time you find yourself adrift. You can always make decisions consistent with your inner guiding principles.
So, if you feel untethered, this is the first thing to check. Ask yourself:
How far off are my current actions from what I stand for?
Living true to yourself starts here. Getting out of a rut does as well.
When you feel ready to start, I have a core values course to help you explore the undaunted, formidable force of your own soul.
2. Take a step back to gain perspective
When we fall off track, we often use brainpower to rationalize our way to a solution. That makes perfect sense, but there’s a difference between deep thinking and overthinking.
Deep thinking looks for a solution and closure, whereas overthinking is chaotic, with no solution or end in sight.Dr. Caroline Leaf, Cognitive Neuroscientist
Sometimes we get caught in a cycle of overthinking that can interfere with our ability to solve problems or see the big picture. This type of limited thinking can throw us off track. It’s one thing to try and solve a problem. It’s an entirely different ball game to overanalyze to the point of anxiety or panic.
It’s also pretty darn hard to identify a freight train when you stand nose to nose with a locomotive.
When you give yourself a little space, you gain the ability to see the cause of discomfort more clearly. Stepping back can help identify what went wrong. By finding the what, you can then see the how to make things right.
Step back, step away, step to the side. This could look like taking a break to remove yourself from the situation, or switching your focus away from the problem that’s stressing you out. Take a day off, or a week if you can manage it, and give yourself permission to do something fun or creative.
3. Recognize the deeper issue
I wish I had $500 dollars for every time things went wrong after following steps one and two from above. The issue stood out like a signpost flashing neon messages of:
You need to fix this! Something needs your attention!
Still, I wasn’t always ready to do what needed to be done.
Making changes for the better often means taking a good, hard look in the mirror. And that takes a lot of honesty and courage to face those underlying issues.
We tend to think that working harder, being more productive, or throwing money at a problem will get us through a slump.
Some problems simply don’t have an easy fix. Unfortunately, sometimes the solution requires deeper work.
It could mean a painful solution, like therapy. It could mean a big scary change, like leaving a toxic relationship or workplace. It could mean facing something you have tried to avoid looking at, like a health issue building up, whether it’s physical or psychological.
No amount of productivity and focus can help when you try to avoid dealing with the deeper issue. If you want to change, you need to find a better way. It’s time to address what you’ve been ignoring.
Yes, things may have gone off track… so do something about that. Talking with someone is a good place to start.
4. Talk to someone
Sometimes you just need to express the thoughts and emotions in your head to feel better.
In Psychology Today, clinical psychologist Leon F. Seltzer discusses how venting frustrations (anxiety, anger, or sadness) often provide beneficial cathartic release. Your frustrations feel “more rightful and legitimate”.
I don’t mean that you should go out and get advice. That will most often pull you even further off track. You can probably recall a time when you just needed someone to listen, like in this husband and wife conversation: It’s Not About the Nail.
Simply sharing your pain with another person can provide immediate feelings of relief and comfort, even if just to be heard. Once you feel that relief, your mental energy, positivity, and creativity can return — and that’s when you can start thinking about solutions.
Get some compassionate air time with someone who can hold space. We need to dump it all out and hear ourselves talk.
In the process, we re-frame, redirect, and refocus on what to do next.
5. Conduct a self-audit
People tend to develop behavior patterns that they repeat, often without realizing it. By noticing your own bad habits, you may recognize how to pull yourself out of a rut and get back on track.
Get out a piece of paper and write it all down. Ask yourself:
- When has this happened before?
- How is this time similar to other times?
- Is this indeed a pattern or is it singular incidence?
- How many times a year does this pattern play out?
Of course, when you’ve gotten off track, it’s not always self-inflicted. You also have patterns in how you respond when life throws a wrench into your plans.
You can apply these same questions to audit your patterns of reacting to change and crisis. Are you proactive or reactive? Do you overreact and panic, or shut down and do nothing?
Share your notes with a trusted advisor. Ask them to share their impressions. If you sense the cause of things going awry is a bigger deal than just a coincidence, find a professional, like a coach or therapist, who can assist you in breaking harmful patterns.
Turn things around with support. You don’t need to go it alone. After all, if you could have turned things around on your own, you probably would have already.
6. Do a little self-coaching
A coach’s job is to help you achieve the goals and outcomes that will bring success, fulfillment, and purpose to your life — we also help you create that vision. In short, we help you create a badass life, as envisioned by you.
Individualized coaching is out of reach for many people. The good news is, that you can do much of this work on your own. It starts with looking inward and asking some tough questions.
Getting your thoughts on a page, through activities like journaling, can help you gain clarity on what you want out of life. From there, it’s a matter of choosing where to focus and leveraging your strengths to achieve it.
Take yourself through a self-coaching session to start defining your vision of success. Find a quiet space and clear your head.
Write down your thoughts on the following questions:
- What am I really going for – what’s my goal?
- How come this is my goal?
- What sort of person do I want to become?
- What kind of value is this upset offering me?
- In a month from now, how do I want things to change?
- Why do I want this? Does it align with my core values? How so?
- What is possible now that I know these things?
- What happens next?
7. Adopt a learning mindset
Have a learning mindset. Focus on learning all the time. Keep the intention of learning something new every time you step on the strip. Don’t be in the mindset to only win. Constant learning while fencing makes you a winner.Coach Tyler of Fencer’s Edge
Life isn’t a game to win or lose.
When you play on the field of life and throw a few punches, you will stumble sometimes. Through that journey, we evolve and realize new potentials in ourselves that we never thought existed.
Rather than seeing the situation as a failure, look at it as a learning opportunity. When you’ve found yourself way off course, look around and see what there is to learn.
The results may be just what I found to be true in fencing: When I go into a fight to learn, I win more bouts than when I go in to win.
And when you find yourself feeling off track, you don’t have to do it alone!
We’re here to help, with online courses and coaching, to help you find your truth, focus on your goals, and live life to the fullest.