You have a clear vision. Maybe it’s a vision of the kind of leader you want to be, or the kind of partner you want to be, or the kind of parent you want to be, or how you want to inhabit your body, or how you want to show up in the world.
It’s the new year. You’ve set goals. You’ve made commitments. You have the best intentions.
You know what you need to do.
You’re going Full Steam Ahead!
… Your exercise bike breaks.
… Your son disrespects you.
… Your partner is dishonest.
… Your team drops the ball.
And you blow it. You say and do things that are not consistent with your vision of who you want to be.
Later, you’re sorry about what you said or did. You’re disappointed in yourself. And you wonder why it’s so hard to stay on track and how to get back.
Are your tracks out of service?
A vision is helpful, but it’s not enough.
You need to take action – to put in the effort. The way to get good at something is to practice.
Set up your tracks by establishing regular practices that support your vision.
Does your vision include being grounded and present?
Set up a regular mediation practice.
Does your vision include being healthy?
Set up a regular exercise practice.
Do you want to stop flying off the handle when you get angry?
Learn about emotional intelligence and how to experience anger without acting it out. And then practice it.
Find the practices that work for you. What works for someone else, might not work for you. Don’t sign up for a practice you can’t commit to. It’s better to do something small regularly than to over-commit and not follow through.
How to Get Back on Track
But even when you have set up the tracks, you will still get off track sometimes. It’s simply not possible to always stay on track. We are human beings, not machines.
If you have regularly established practices and fall off the track, don’t beat yourself up. It’s a waste of time. While you’re busy beating yourself up, you’re still off track.
Did you stop exercising because your bike broke?
Did you yell at your son?
Did you say something mean to your partner?
Did you send an email you regret to your team?
Here are 4 tips to get back on track:
1. Have self-compassion that you’re doing the best you can. Remember the goal is not to always stay on track. The goal is to fall off track less often, recognize you’re off track more quickly, and get back on track more gracefully.
2. See what you can learn. What triggered you? Where did your reactivity come from? When you look at it objectively, what do you see? What can you learn about yourself? Do you need to adjust your practices?
3. Take responsibility for your actions. Don’t blame others for your reactivity. Make amends, if they are called for.
4. Refocus on your vision and resume your practices.