Four Steps to Get Back on Track

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Last week was a really productive week for me. Until it wasn’t.

Everything started out well. I’ve been implementing a new LifeLab strategy (which I will write about soon, I swear!) that helps me focus on short-term/actionable goals and on taking daily steps to achieve them. Things were looking up until I hit a couple of bumps in the road.

First, there was interrupted travel on Thursday which necessitated reorganizing my entire day Friday. Work tasks took priority over my goals and daily tasks.

Then, it was a full weekend spent working on another fun project with awesome people! And because that project had a deadline, it was my primary priority for the weekend.

Then, I got sick and getting better became my top priority.

And now, I’m sitting here less than a week later and yet it feels like ages since I last thought about my goals, much less actually looked at them (because yes, I wrote them down) or completed any daily tasks towards accomplishing them.

Moreover, this isn’t an unusual scenario. There have been many, many times where I’ve failed to meet my own goals (or even completely forgotten about them…). Each time is a blow to my Emotional Mana, Mental Fortitude, and Spiritual Energy through the Mana Matrix Inputs of Self-Valuation, Personal Management, Structure, and Goals.

In other words, not only do I fail to achieve my goals and build a better me, but I also negatively impact my Core Energies and make it harder to try again. And yet, I still keep trying.

Every time I fail, I piece myself back together again and get back at it. Every time, I follow the same four simple steps. So today, in honor of my recent failure, I thought I’d share those steps with you.

Here’s what I do to get myself back on track:

  1. Review What Happened

I always think it is important to understand why I failed in the first place. There can be more than one reason and they don’t necessarily have to be my fault, e.g. getting sick. Regardless, I have found that taking some time to examine what happened is always valuable.

For instance, this week I could easily blame my travel or getting sick. Both of those were out of my control and had a tangible impact. But when I really thinking about it, I know that would only be telling part of the story.

Truthfully, this entire weekend I had the time to complete the daily tasks I’d set for myself. But I knew it was going to be a busy weekend. So instead of making a tangible plan for how I would follow through on my goals, I preemptively gave myself an “out” by telling myself that it was ok if I didn’t do them. And what do you know, I didn’t!

  1. Accept Where I Am Now

Once I’ve figured out what happened and why, I deliberately take time to accept the realities of my current circumstance. What’s in the past is done and I can’t change it. Any value I can get out of revisiting what went wrong, I should have gotten by completing step one. After that, it’s time to set that aside and complete an honest assessment of where I am now.

This isn’t always easy. For instance, I am currently aware that I have several pending tasks (and not just the daily ones I’d promised myself) that I have yet to complete. But chastising myself over not completing them isn’t going to help. Neither is sticking my head in the sand and pretending that they don’t exist.

I have found that completing this step helps increase my Self-Valuation as I am no longer beating myself up for the mistakes I’ve made. So even though this may be difficult, there is an immediate tangible benefit to accepting where I am now.

  1. Review My Goals (i.e. Where I Want to Be)

While it is important to have an honest assessment of my current situation, I think it is equally – if not more – important to take a look at where I want to be. Goals define where we want to go and the “track” we’re taking to get there. So if I’m “off-track” reviewing my goals is critical to ensuring I know how to get back “on” again. And as Goals contribute to our Spiritual Energy, there is an immediate tangible benefit of doing so!

The more clearly my goals are defined, the easier this is. In my case, I had recently written three short actionable goals down as a part of my LifeLab experiment. It was easy to start there.

  1. Decide to Act

The last step in this process is to decide what to do next and to commit to doing it. In some cases, e.g. when I’m sick, this is as simple as saying “I’ll keep doing what I was doing before.” In some cases, it means deciding on a change because what I was doing before wasn’t working.

For me, this means I need to revisit how I plan my upcoming tasks. In other words, I’m deciding on the Structure I’ll use to move forward and the Personal Management tools or techniques I’ll use to commit to my progress. This represents the boost to my Mental Fortitude and Emotional Mana I’ll need to take action.

Because action is the end result. I don’t do this process because I particularly enjoy it. I do it because I want to act better. Because I want to take tangible steps towards a better me.

So there you have it. My four steps for getting back up again as told by someone who has failed many, many times. May they help you as much as they have helped me!

See you at the finish line!

-The Jack of Spades

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