If I were to guess, I’d say that every person on this planet has at some point fallen off the wagon while trying to achieve a goal. It happens—we’re wonderful, flawed human beings—but that doesn’t mean we should give up on our goals.
Next time you get off track, try practicing this strategy.
First, try to understand why it happened
Before you can implement a solution, you need to know what caused the issue. Why did you get sidetracked from your goal? Was it a timing issue? Too much pressure? Is your goal unrealistic? Try to understand the “why”—you’ll need it to brainstorm a solution.
Next, rethink the outcome
If that same situation happened tomorrow—it was pouring rain, the nanny didn’t show up, you ate too much before your run, you were feeling down, whatever it was—what would you do? How would you adapt? Maybe there was nothing you could do, and the solution is to adjust the subsequent days. You skipped a run today, so maybe you run tomorrow. You got a cramp yesterday, so maybe you try to eat lighter before your run today. There is a solution to every situation, and reflecting on past blips can help you avoid them in the future.
Finally, move on. And I mean really move on
You should never be ashamed of making a mistake or doing something that doesn’t get you closer to your goals. I spent years criticizing and guilting myself for not sticking to training plans or for overindulging, and not once did it ever benefit me. Guilt and shame are not healthy or sustainable motivators, and they won’t help you achieve your goals.
We have to factor mistakes into the goal-setting process. We have to know that they’ll happen and when they do, learn to recover. You will inevitably stray from the path, fall off the wagon, whatever you want to call it. If you truly want to reach your goals, you have to let it go, tell yourself it’s okay, and keep moving forward no matter what. We crush goals by being consistent, not perfect.
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