15 Strategies for Staying on Track with What Matters Most to You
Picture yourself with two parts inside you. The REAL you that wants to stay on track, make positive changes in life, and continually develop and grow. And then there’s the saboteur who is afraid of change and prefers to keep you “small.”
Your saboteur doesn’t worry if you’re making little changes like taking time to relax, speaking gently to others, eating better today than yesterday. But as the days and weeks go by and you’re gaining more and more ground at perfectly becoming your REAL self, your saboteur starts to get a little threatened and goes on the counterattack.
Your job is to NOTICE and persevere NO MATTER WHAT.
Easier said than done?
Nope. All you need is a few strategies to keep you going whether you’re working on a new project, self-care, deepening a relationship—whatever it is—one or more of these strategies liberally applied will make the difference!
1. Don't Insist on Perfection
Lack of perfection is never the problem. The problem is GIVING UP when you slip up. You've got to keep going whether it's just a few moments of deep breathing, a quick walk at sunset, or choosing that apple for a snack today even if you slipped up yesterday. Remember, it's better to do something pretty well over many months than to be perfect for a few days and then quit.
2. Have Realistic Expectations
Start with bite-sized goals. Give yourself a lot of latitude. You don't have to start hiking 5 miles every day or every room in the house in a single weekend. Make a list of small projects. How long will each one take? Paint one room. Walk two miles three days in a row. Sneak this small goals past your inner saboteur and build from there.
3. Create a Few Shortcuts for Later
Make food in advance, such as a big pot of healthy soup and freeze extra to have handy. Buy pre-washed salad greens or prep single servings of almonds or raisins so you can grab-and-go.
4. Get Help From Someone You Trust
If it feels overwhelming to take on a simple task alone, get the help of a friendly face. You may not have asked around yet, but I bet you have a friend who is brilliant at cleaning at closets; a friend who does resume magic; and a friend who already walks miles every day. Grab one of them! The bonus is that it will nurture your friends and their experience of themselves to share their expertise.
5. Hire Someone
Are there some tasks you know you hate even if you had the company of a friend? It is just a click of the mouse to hire someone for almost any task you can imagine. Fix a faucet. Change the track lighting. Sort through the overflow of mail. Can't afford it? Do a trade. There's something you're great at that is someone else's roadblock.
6. Change Something Up
Writers block? You might just need a change of scene. Go to a cafe or set up shop in your bedroom. Rearrange the furniture. Move the pictures to a different wall. Watch the sunrise and meet a friend for coffee before staring your work day.
7. Do Something for a Set Time Period Every Day
Whether it's sorting boxes, writing, playing music, cleaning, or taking on a task, set yourself a limit. It could be one hour or one box sorter. Whatever you choose, do no more or no less to help establish internal control. You can learn a great deal about yourself from noticing what happens when you stick to a schedule or set a limit.
8. Reward Yourself
It's not just for kids! While it doesn't need to be stickers or chocolates, think of a small reward that will tap into your inner child and support what you're up to. If you're working on taking out relaxing time for yourself and you succeed for 5 days in a row, reward yourself with a dreamy bath bomb or a Your Natural Healthcare Nano massage lotion. Choose something that feels good to you and is a true incentive.
9. Stay Focused on the Big Picture
The big picture is your life, your happiness, your health and wellbeing. You're becoming more of who you truly are and who you are not. When you get all the distractions of guilt, clutter, and a racing mind cleared out, you'll hear more of you TRUE self and be more able to stay on track with what matters most to you.
10. Book Time with Yourself
Schedule time for what matters most to you. Schedule it FIRST and plan your work and other obligations around YOU time. If you have trouble sticking to a plan to exercise or clean or study or work on art…schedule time in your calendar and stick with it. It's a date with the most important person in your life. Keep it.
11. Tweak Your Goals As Needed
If you're not meeting your goals over and over, consider that they're not realistic (yet) and feel free to tweak them. Reliably meeting goals is a like strengthening a muscle. Start small and incrementally increase. As you repeatedly meet smaller goals, you'll feel successful rather than guilty and can scale up accordingly. What's more…as you have “wins” no matter how small, you're more likely to stick with it and achieve your long-term big picture goals.
12. Learn to “Be With” Your Resistance
You're only human and you're going to experience some resistance. Just hang out there. Notice your resistance and perhaps anxiety. What are the physical sensations? What rationalizations spring into you mind seemingly unbidden? This is simply the temporal rise and fall of sensations and thoughts. Let them be and they'll pass on like clouds in the sky.
13. Take One Extra Step
Taking one extra step will expand the boundaries of your perceived capacity and ability. It's about getting past your resistance by doing just a bit more than you set out to do. If you say you're going to swim 20 laps swim 21. If you're taking a walk, go one extra block. If you keep nudging yourself past your perceived limitations, you will develop a sense of great inner strength.
14. Feel Anxious? Do “It” Anyway
When you take action, shake loose and attempt something new, it might make you feel uneasy at first. If you learn to take action while tolerating ripples of fear, a fuzzy brain or anxiety pulling on you, you will keep going forward. Persevering in this way, can deepen a sense of competence and competence. Remember nearly every action gets easier with repetition from the using a lawn mower to driving a car, to writing an article. Persevere.
15. Lighten Up
Remember, what matters most to you does indeed MATTER, but it needn't be “serious.” You might be sailing on the high seas or be stuck in the mud. Wherever you are at the moment, it's just that. A moment. It's all part of the big cosmic dance. We can all take continual steps toward bringing well-being into our lives and make our best efforts with the time we have while recognizing we may not completely control what unfolds, but can show up for ourselves and others with grace and humor.
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