The Thing To Do When You Get Off Track

posted by Andrea | 02/15/2016
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get off track

I recently heard a friend lament the fact that they had already gotten way off track with one of their New Year’s goals. They had a crazy month and just didn’t make the time to follow through the way they had wanted.

I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal and was just about ready to voice that opinion when they said, “Oh well, there’s always next year.”

Next year?

Like… you’re really not going to push towards your goal again until NEXT YEAR? 

I didn’t say anything at the time, but I just couldn’t help thinking about the fact that they gave up so quickly… one mishap and they were done. That’s like a sports team disbanding after they lose their first game or a student dropping out after one bad grade. It just doesn’t make sense.

It might sound ridiculous when you think about the two examples I gave above — after all, no one would expect a sports team to win every single game, or a student to get an A on every single paper, test, and assignment.

So why do we expect that we will never ever slip up or get off track as we work towards our various goals?

Even those of us with the best of intentions sometimes get off track, lose steam, and fall back into our old ways.

Maybe you pulled through the drive-through on the way home even though you’ve been trying to cut costs and calories by eating meals at home.

Maybe you skipped out on the gym for the past few weeks even though you were trying to go 3 days a week.

Maybe you went to bed WAY too late all last week even though you’ve been trying to get to bed by 10:00 every night.

Maybe you snapped at your kids or spouse even though you’ve been trying to be more patient.

Maybe you got sucked into social media or playing games on your phone last night even though you said you were going to shut it down after dinner.

Maybe you splurged on something you didn’t really need even though all extra savings were supposed to be going into a vacation fund.

Maybe you drank soda and coffee all day even though you’ve been trying to drink more water.

Maybe you had all your closets organized but now they are almost worse than they were before.

Maybe you got so behind on a project that you don’t know where to pick up again.

I could go on and on… but I think you get the idea.

There are a million ways we can slip up and get off track on any number of goals, projects, or tasks. In fact, I think it would be somewhat miraculous if  we didn’t get off track every now and then!

The point is that when we get a bit (or a lot) off track, there’s really only one thing we can do to fix things…

Get back on track!

Yes, I know… so profound 🙂

I realize this is such a simple concept, but it’s often so difficult to grasp and apply to our own lives. It’s much easier to say “get back on track” than to actually do it!

No matter what goal or project you’re working towards, no matter how far you got off track, and no matter how long it will take you to to undo any “slip ups” you might have made, you won’t get any closer to accomplishing your goals unless you GET BACK ON TRACK!

And for the record… I know this from lots of experience getting off track!

I can also tell you (from experience) that once you get back on track, you’ll probably get off track again at some point in the future — so just bookmark this post for later!

Do you have any goals that have gotten derailed?

How will you get back on track?

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17 comments

  1. Julia

    02/21/2016

    I needed to hear this! So many of the examples you gave are definitely realities for me sometimes too. We all need this little reminder once in a while. Definitely pinning for the next time I “get off track.” Thanks! 🙂

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  2. Lizanne

    02/15/2016

    Thanks for this post, and all the great comments. It’s helpful to know that I’m not the only one with this problem! That alone is encouraging. 🙂 I’ve often felt like my life is one big un-met goal, and while there may be many reasons for that, I think it’s the feeling of failure (and perhaps the fear of it), even before you’ve really started, that makes it so easy to quit. That’s why I think your advice IS kind of profound in its simplicity. The only way to grow and make changes is to keep trying, no matter how ‘imperfectly’.

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    Andrea Reply:

    I think most people already know everything I said in this post (and in many of my posts) however, it usually can’t hurt to hear it once again!

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  3. Scarlet

    02/15/2016

    This is why I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. They make it so easy to fall into that “once I’m off the wagon I have to wait until next year to start again” mindset. I don’t even like starting things on a Monday… start tomorrow. Or start today! Just because you stumble doesn’t mean you get a free pass to not try for a certain amount of time (unless it makes sense for you to postpone the goal for whatever reason). Respect your limitations at any given time in your life and step away from a goal if it makes sense to do so… give yourself a break if you need one… but don’t let the calendar shape what you do.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes! I’m all in favor of postponing goals if/when necessary — but it’s the quitting or giving up that I’m not a fan of! Also, I love how you say “don’t let the calendar shape what you do”. That’s great

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  4. Leanne

    02/15/2016

    oh my word…
    my whole type A life has been thrown off “goal” If I remember correctly, I was going to lose 5 more pounds, be more organized homeschooling, and meet more friends at church…
    then I developed vestibular neuritis…..my body trumped the goals (I’ve bet I’ve gained 5 pounds, my house would definitely not make BHG,), and my doctor said…. no long visits with groups of people because he said the last the flu is the LAST thing I need….
    so, I rely right now on the fact his MERCIES are new every morning… great is His Faithfulness. And sometimes His ‘goals trump ours!

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    Emily Reply:

    “His goals trump ours!” Yes, every time!! Leanne, you will be in my prayers. 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    sorry to hear this Leanne… and yes, you are right that “His goals trump ours” as much as we don’t like it sometimes.

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    Brooke Reply:

    Man, I dealt with vestibular neuritis for two years in college. It sucks, and definitely derailed me for a bit (took an extra year to graduate). Hang in there. It does get better!

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  5. Alicia

    02/15/2016

    I love this! It’s so true, and I think most of us are guilty of this at one time or another. We expect perfection of ourselves, when in reality life happens and sometimes the best we can do is to just keep plugging along. Thank you for the awesome reminder!

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  6. Abbie

    02/15/2016

    All I can say is THANK YOU! This is without question exactly what the Lord wanted me to hear this morning. I may not have voiced my feelings as your friend did, but I was certainly there! Thank you for the reminder that I won’t move forward without the hard work of getting back on track and even then, be prepared for more stumbles along the path. Amazing how I foolishly assume beginning a new habit will come easily and be done to perfection! With your words of encouragement, I press on!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — you’re welcome Abbie!
    Just keep plugging away. You can do it!

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  7. Kaitlin @ The Mom on Purpose

    02/15/2016

    This is so true! I think the only way anyone will ever accomplish big goals is with persistence. I think a lot of people always expect a continual uphill climb, when in reality it’s a lot of peaks and valleys that get you there.

    I’ve been trying to run three days a week this year. Last week I didn’t run once because of sickness running through my entire house. This post gave me the extra push to get back on my treadmill today! Thanks!

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  8. Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life

    02/15/2016

    I had to stop exercising for about a week because I got sick, which was frustrating because I’ve been working so hard to develop the habit of regular exercise. But I decided to let it be ok. Im trying to make fitness part of my lifestyle, so I realized I needed to not let it bother me and just get back into it. “It’s a slow process, but quitting won’t speed it up.”

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    Melissa Reply:

    Reminds me of this quote attributed to Confucius – “It does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop.”

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes exactly! But I would add that even if you stop for a while (or a long time) you can always get started again!

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    Andrea Reply:

    exactly! And you’re doing much better than i am in the exercising department 🙂 I should probably make some exercising goals for myself (maybe when the weather warms up!!)

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