Goal setting is not a set it and forget it process. You have to continually put in the effort to achieve your goals, month after month and day after day. There are times, however, when your goals get put on the back burner. Life has a funny way of derailing our best laid plans. Knowing what to do when this happens is key because it is inevitable. Below are seven steps that will show you exactly how to get back on track with your goals after life throws you a curveball.
May of this year is a good example of this in my life. I completely abandoned my goals during the month of May. We had some major decisions to make as a family, and life just felt heavy. My life circumstances took all of my focus and attention away from my goals.
Sometimes, we have things that come up or happen unexpectedly that take precedence over the goals we are working toward. You might experience a death in the family, a job loss, or a health crisis.
It is during these times that you may need to press pause on your goals or change your goals altogether. This is normal and you need to give yourself permission to let go for a little while.
How to get back on track with your goals
When you are ready, follow the seven steps below to get back on track with your goals. The main thing here is to not give up on your goals. It will take you a month or two, sometimes more, but you will be happier in the long run if you take the steps necessary to move forward after life gets in the way.
1 // Take a break
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break from your goals when you face something that is more important. In fact, some problems that arise necessitate that you put all of your time and energy toward fixing the problem.
When I took a break from my goals in May, my husband and I were facing the tough decision of whether or not to uproot our business and our family in order to move to a larger city with a better network and bigger market.
We ultimately decided to make the move. The decision itself required a lot of brain power and emotional energy alone. Once the decision was made, my goals had to take a back seat to more pressing issues, such as packing up our belongings and working out all of the logistics for a smooth transition.
2 // Give yourself grace
Do not waste your time feeling guilty about letting go of your goals while you are in the middle of a super stressful situation. There is no need to add to the pressure you face when you deal with something that needs your urgent attention.
Give yourself permission to let go and focus on what matters most at this very moment. You will bounce back quicker if you allow yourself to address the situation at hand without beating yourself up over slowing down progress on your goals.
3 // Evaluate your goals
When you’re ready take a look at the goals you set for yourself and evaluate whether or not they still make sense. Just because you set a goal at the beginning of the year doesn’t mean you can’t change it.
For example, one of my goals this year was to cultivate a life-giving home by settling into our newly renovated house, decluttering our belongings, and creating memories through intentional time with my husband and my kids.
Now that we have decided to move out of that house, my goal has shifted to ensuring a smooth transition for my family as we prepare to leave. Instead of settling in we are moving out, which means a lot of other factors come into play.
The point is to keep moving forward rather than giving up completely. Set a goal that makes more sense, so that you still have something to work toward.
4 // Simplify the process
If you find that your goals still make sense after you evaluate them, you need to at least simplify the process so you don’t get overwhelmed. Start at the beginning and break your big goals down into small, manageable steps.
When the thought of tackling all of your goals at once makes you break out into a sweat, choose one goal to focus on before moving on to the rest. Pick your number one goal and think of something small you can do each day to make progress on this one goal.
I had five goals this year. I completely changed the one I mentioned above and simplified the rest. For two months, I did the bare minimum of what I could to get by while still making progress.
Once this season comes to a close, it will be time to evaluate once again and determine if I will keep things simple or ramp things up and make some big strides before the end of the year.
5 // Get started
One of the most important things to do to get back on track with your goals is to get started. This probably sounds oversimplified, but sometimes getting started is the hardest part. Once you start you gain the momentum you need to keep going. That is why it is critical that you don’t overcomplicate things. You want to make it as easy to get started as possible.
6 // Track your progress
I don’t know about you, but I love, love, love checking things off on a list. Tracking your progress is such a good tool to keep you motivated. Even if you miss a few days, it helps to be able to look back at the end of the month and see just how much progress you actually made.
7 // Build on your success
Getting started and tracking your progress will energize you to keep pressing forward. This will cause a snowball effect, encouraging more and more progress as time goes on. Before you know it, you will be ready to attack your goals again with full force.
Continue to build on your success month after month to get back on track with your goals. Celebrate every success, big or small, because you need both big and small steps to reach your goals. The important part is that you decide to take action.
Now it’s your turn
Don’t allow a setback to cause you to give up on your goals completely. Know when you set your goals that you will experience problems along the way. Bad stuff happens. That is not going to change.
Use the following steps to take action and get back on track with your goals after life throws you a curveball:
- Take a break
- Give yourself grace
- Evaluate your goals
- Get started
- Track your progress
- Build on your success