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Are you on Track or De-railed?

Have you ever felt like your life has become de-railed? Unhinged? Chaotic? Here is a list of things to consider when you feel overwhelmed thinking about how to get life back in order.

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The Top 10 Tips to Get Back on Track After You’ve De-railed

1. Be patient and loving to yourself.

You’ve gotten off track for a reason – it does no good to beat yourself up for getting off track. Recognize that sometimes, time is the best healer. Be patient with yourself even while you re-establish your priorities.

2. Look in the environment for systems and structures that support you.

In as much as you have control over your life and your responses, so too does our environment profoundly effect us. Learn to identify what in the environment best supports you, so you can quickly re-establish the systems and structures that best support you.

3. Create a community of support.

Many of us have support in the form of friends, family and co-workers. All too often however, we don’t maximize this support. While verbalizing your experience to another is valuable, don’t stop here – venting isn’t enough. Look for practical ways that others can support you – and be specific in your request about what’s going to best meet your needs. Perhaps a daily check-in call from a friend would help you to be more accountable in your efforts to get back on track. Or, perhaps a certain type or line of questioning would be helpful. Think about who can best support you and what specific actions others can take to help you get you back on track.

4. The sooner you recognize and respond to the signs of derailment, the quicker you’ll get back on track.

Don’t analyze or ask why – this line of questioning generally isn’t productive. Why doesn’t matter! The trick is to pay attention to the signs of derailment and use these signs as a signal to take action — before the temporary derailment turns into a permanent way of being. The longer you’re off track, the harder it is to get back on track.

5. Get back in touch with your vision.

Take some quiet time and get back in touch with your vision. Then, let your vision pull you forward. In as much as our behavior and the environment are important factors for creating the lives we want, so too is vision an important ingredient. Create a vision that’s perfectly aligned with your values, interests and style. Create a vision so powerful and authentic that it pulls you forward.

6. Understand what motivates you.

Understanding what attracts you to a particular activity, person or vision is key. If you understand what motivates you, you’ll be better able to handle the fluctuations of energy and commitment. Your motivation is what drives your behavior – so make sure that you’re in touch with what motivates you. This will help you to understand what drives you and what’s most important for you. Fulfilling a particular project might not be so important if your motivation or essential needs aren’t getting met. In this case, it might not matter that you’ve gotten off-track.

7. Let others know what you’re up to.

The more you let others know what you’re up to, the more real your intentions become. Similarly, when you put your ideas into words, your ideas begin to have a life of their own. They’ll have more power and YOU’LL have more power. Communicate to the world what you’re up to – the synergy that comes when others know what you’re up to will indirectly support you in staying on track.

8. Take time off!

In as much as living from our passion and commitment is powerful and inspiring, we benefit from taking breaks. Taking breaks can reinvigorate us. Allowing yourself to take a nourishing break enhances your ability to stay the course. Just make sure that the break you take nourishes you and doesn’t deplete your energy. (I.e. a change of scenery or activity level is nourishing. Watching TV is not.)

9. Remember that persistence equals courage and courage equals authenticity.

When you’re totally committed, you’re invincible. You’re unstoppable because you believe strongly in your project. Courage is that steadfastness to continue even when things become rough. When there’s alignment between your project and who you are, an authenticity exists that is powerful and lasting. Think about how courage, persistence and authenticity show up for you in terms of your project or life.

10. Maintain perspective.

In as much as your project has the power to compel, inspire and pull you forward – remember that your project isn’t your life, but a part of your life. Maintain perspective about life and about what’s in your life. In as much as living from commitment, passion and focus is exhilarating, remember that we’re more than the sum of our accomplishments. Respect life – and treat your life with respect.


This piece was originally submitted by Jan Gordon, LCSW

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