We all know the saying, and most of us can relate to the feeling that accompanies it.
Having a well designed plan and a great start to the day doesn’t guarantee success. Sooner or later we run into a point where the plan that we made somehow goes off track and we find ourselves no longer making progress toward our goal. The three steps below have helped me in my journey and I hope they will help you in yours.
The first step is to realize that something has happened and that I’m “off-track”. Being aware that we are no longer following our plan will allow us to address the fact and make adjustments to get back where we need to be. Setting time through my day to be aware of how I feel and how it is progressing is an exercise in mindfulness and a form of “quality gating”. If during my time of reflection I feel that something has shifted I can take action.
The second step is to acknowledge that I’m human and that as such, being imperfectly perfect is just fine. Don’t beat yourself up over “slip ups”. These events happen and they may delay us from reaching a goal – but if we desire that goal enough – nothing can stop us from eventually reaching it. So, acknowledge that you’re off track and own it without critical judgement against yourself.
The third step, and most important one, is to understand the impact and plan short-term action. Understanding impact may be a bit vague – but what I really try to do here is understand how far the “slip up” has taken me off track and whether I need to make an immediate adjustment or not. Let’s assume that the goal is to lose weight. Eating a single cookie has less of an impact than eating a box of cookies. If, somehow, I don’t become “aware” of my misguiding activity before eating a full box of cookies – at the time I become aware of it – I would want to put an immediate adjustment in action into place – such as refraining from carbs / high calories for the rest of the day. This is what I would refer to as a short-term action plan. If this is a short-term action plan, what is a long-term action plan? There isn’t one. Why? Because each new day gives you a new opportunity to shape it in a way that moves you closer to your goal.
One “slip up” in a day (or even multiple) may affect that day – but if you have six days where you were focused, driven and made progress toward your goal – the “impact” of that day in the context of a week is negligible!
The most important thing I can communicate to you is that there will be tough times along the path to your goal. There will be times when you “slip up” and want to quit or feel that it “is not worth the effort”… allow yourself to feel those emotions and be aware of them – but promise me that you will treat each new day as a new beginning and give yourself the opportunity to make it a great one! The number of great days will far outweigh the bad (pun intended) and before you know it – you will see the change you desire.