If you were ever overwhelmed by life and the goals you put on your agenda, you probably know how hard it is to get back on track. You might feel like hiding, procrastinating or not being able to stop worrying about many things in your life. And all these feelings usually come with a huge amount of guilt. Guilt for feeling overwhelmed in the first place, for not being able to progress, for being not strong enough.
Let me tell you bluntly, this is a lot of bull**** your subconscious is trying to feed you. Stop buying into the guilt trip right now. It is ok if you still feel it, but don’t feed it anymore, just let it all go, slowly but surely. I am telling you this so drastically because I have been there so many times. In fact, I am making my way just out of this guilt-bull**** right now.
“You can’t crush your goals if you are running on empty.”
I got overwhelmed by my own plans and goals, took some self-prescribed time off my blog, and wallowed in guilt over not being able to get back on track with my goals. After about 2-3 months of a complete stop, I am just starting to feel better and getting back to writing, to thinking creatively and being excited about it all.
So, how can you get there? Here are my 8 tips on how to get back on track with your goals:
1. Assess what stage you are in
To know what stage you are in, will help you determine the next steps to take.
For example, if you are in the overwhelmed phase, it would be next to impossible to jump right to taking the first steps in the right direction again. You first have to take very good care of yourself.
The process might look like this:
You realize that there is a lot on your plate, but you want to push forward on your goals, so you just keep going. Probably, you don’t know how to scale down and simply hope it will get better on its own. Trust me, it never does get better on its own. You need to make it better. And you can do it.
You feel exhausted and know something has to give but you still hope IT will get better.
This is the head-in-the-sand feeling, where all of a sudden even enjoyable activities like hanging out with friends or taking time for yourself will stress you out. You might come to a halt and stop as many stressors as possible. Work, health, and family-related stressors are usually much harder to put on hold and might need an entirely different approach.
This is the stage where you don’t do anything except recharging. Sometimes, even going for a walk might seem stressful even though you know it is supposed to help to be out in nature.
In this stage, you start to think about getting back on track, but still lack the energy and might feel lost and unsure where to start.
Taking it on again
Baby, you almost made it through, and you can jump ahead to point number 7. Well done.
In all honesty, I can say that I am not able to look at any of these tips in any stage before ‘rebound’. Self-care and feeling better must come first.
2. Go back to your why
Why did you set your goal in the first place? Every good goal starts with why. Go back and try to find it. Tell yourself or write down why you decided to take on this goal in the first place.
A few days ago, a co-worker asked me about my blog. I sighed and told her how I put it on hiatus because I was overwhelmed. As I described the entire situation to her and explained the purpose of this blog, I reminded myself why I started this in the first place. Inspiring people to follow their dreams and live their lives passionately is what this site is all about. Et voilà, I am currently working on this article and taking the first step back. Whatever your goal is or was, dig deep and find your WHY. The more you can tie it to a positive emotion, the easier it will be for you to get back on track.
3. Assess your goal(s)
Take a good look at your goals for the year. Go through them one by one, prioritize again and throw overboard what no longer suits you. What is your most important item? Put this on top of your list. Goals can change. That’s ok.
4. Are you still passionate about your goal?
Let’s talk about the one goal you have gotten off track with. How much do you still want it? Very much? Is it worth fighting for? If deep down, you don’t really care about your goal it will be infinitely harder to get back and stay on track.
5. Acknowledge and let go
Acknowledging what is happening and being ok with it is an important step to make when you want to get back on track. Try to write down your own acknowledgment sentence:
“I have gotten off track with ______________ because ________________________. I need to _________________. I will not beat myself up about it anymore. It is ok to get overwhelmed and it is even better to take care of myself. I am still passionate about ________________ and want it to succeed. I can do it!”
Wow, this felt good, hey?
Here is mine: “I have gotten off track with blogging because I was overwhelmed by work and all that needed to be done to kick-start this blog. Stopping everything and getting better first is my first priority. I will not beat myself up about it anymore. It is ok to get overwhelmed and it is even better to take care of myself. I am still passionate about my blog and want it to succeed. Everything I want to achieve, I can achieve.”
6. What is holding you back?
When you think about getting back on track, what does this look and feel like? Are you feeling overwhelmed just thinking about it? Do you feel you don’t know where to start again or are you afraid that you can’t do it? Write down all your perceived and real obstacles and ideas on how to overcome them and then move on to the next point.
7. Create a new action plan
Now that you have reconfirmed your goals and acknowledged your obstacles, it is time to set a new action plan and schedule. Start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself again. Include enough self-care in your plan and remember that a schedule is not a deadline. You want to enjoy this.
8. Put your plan into action
Just get started, it doesn’t have to be perfect. After all
your careful planning, you can’t go wrong. Start small and start somewhere. If you need a day off tomorrow, that is ok. If you keep thinking about it, that is excellent. It means you are excited about your goal and that will help you get back on track. Take your time.
No matter where in the process you are, you deserve a big pat on your back. Just the fact that you are thinking about this, means you are on the way to getting better and getting back on track. You have not abandoned your goal, but rather care about it so much that you researched on how to get back on track. Hold on to this. It will serve you well and get you far. This all takes time, patience and persistence. Be good to yourself.
If you are a journaler, track your progress in your (bullet) journal. I am not kidding, this makes you realize that you are making progress. It is very powerful. Because after all, happiness is perceived progress.
Throughout my journey of recent overwhelm and resulting self-care, I came across this quote, that has helped me to make it through and helped me get back on track:
Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods. Namaste.