4 Ways to Get Back on Track When Your Goal Gets Derailed
February 11, 2019
Setting a goal is a great way to start making positive change in your life.
Nothing feels better than brainstorming the endless possibilities of how you can do better and creating an action plan to get there.
But what happens when that enthusiasm you felt in the months leading up begins to die down? When the motivation you had seems nowhere to be found, and you’re having difficulty getting back on track?
It can feel upsetting. You may even feel a little disappointed in yourself.
But guess what? You aren’t the only person who experiences this—especially around this time of year.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, by mid-February 80 percent of New Year’s goals get derailed.
If that stat has you nodding along saying, "Yup, I'm in that 80 percent," know it can happen for a lot of reasons. Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed, maybe unforeseen expenses came up that threw off your new budget, or maybe you got sick and couldn’t commit to AM sessions at the gym.
Regardless of the circumstance, this doesn’t mean you’ve failed. I repeat: You. have. not. failed.
When going after a goal, it's inevitable that there will be bumps along the way. What's most important is how you power through them.
Here are some simple steps to getting back on track when you feel your goals have gotten the best of you.
1. Recall Your Intention
Getting intentional with a goal means creating a clear connection between what we'd like to accomplish and why we want to accomplish it.
When you get off track, take a moment to step back and revisit why you set this goal in the first place. What are your intentions and how will this improve your current situation, or lead to what you’d like to manifest for yourself?
Once you recall the inspiration behind your goal and why it’s important to you, you’ll feel more encouraged to get back to working on it.
2. Amend Your Goals
Showing up is half the battle—if not 99 percent of the battle. And if that piece starts to slip when you're working towards a goal, try making just showing up the goal itself.
Maybe that means committing to simply opening up that document, making your way to the gym parking lot, or picking up the pen and turning to a fresh sheet of paper.
Setting a modified goal of simply showing up can go a long way.
It's always OK to tweak your goals to make them less stressful and more doable. Perhaps you were ambitious and set a goal that demands much more of your time and effort than you initially anticipated. Trying to implement such a drastic change immediately can throw us out of whack, so it’s often best to start small.
For example: Instead of setting an unachievable goal of reading four books in a month, bring that number down to one book a month or two books a quarter.
Once you begin accomplishing these goals in smaller batches, you’ll start to feel a boost in confidence. Then, you can start aiming higher.
3. Ask for Help
Though it requires a level of vulnerability, asking for help in either getting started on a goal, or to just be held accountable, can be exactly what you need to see it through.
Whether it’s your friend, family member, Instagram buddy, or significant other—an accountability partner can help kickstart your progress. When you’re stuck or have fallen off of your goals, try reaching out to your inner circle of close confidants. They’ll be there to cheer you along when you’re feeling down or give you the push you need when you’re feeling stagnant.
4. Be Compassionate Towards Yourself
When we asked the Shine community the first thing they do when they get off track with a goal, 65 percent said "criticize myself." Our instinct when we come up short is to blame or be hard on ourselves.
Affirming self-talk is important as a general practice, but even more so during times of adversity and hardship. Greet your inner critic with compassion. You’re only human, and it’s understandable that you may have fallen astray. The best you can do at this point is pick yourself up and try again.
Also, it’s important to recognize that success doesn’t happen overnight.
When it comes to your goals, know that it can take time for you to see the benefits or finished product. Part of being compassionate with yourself is also showing patience and believing that, though daunting at the moment, the process will be well worth it in the end.
Read next: How to Hack Your Goals For Future You