After the Hurdle: Getting Your Life Back on Track

You were at the top of your game a few weeks ago. You worked out almost every day, followed a clean and healthy diet, met your professional targets, slept well, and woke up motivated to take on a new day.

But then, you went a full 180, and old, unhealthy habits crept back into your life. Now, you are mired in the muck of negativity. If you are looking for ways to turn your life around, you came to the right place. Here are the steps you must take to get back on track.

Identify what caused your fall

Think back to the time of your slip-up and determine if it was sudden or gradual. Ask yourself, what was your emotional state when it happened? What were the thoughts that constantly ran through your mind before you went astray? Was there anything going on in your life, even in the periphery, when you messed up?

Some common triggers include unacknowledged stress from life changes and relationships, boredom and frustration due to lack of progress, drastic change in environment, and injury or illness. Identifying and reflecting on the triggers for our setback lets you effectively strategize your comeback.

Commit to a schedule

Create a schedule that you can commit to. It might be difficult after falling off schedule in the first place, so go easy on yourself and slowly work your way back to your old, healthier routines.

Create backup plans and buffer zones should you miss any part of the schedule. Tie the activities to your current habit to remind yourself. If you change into comfortable clothes and watch TV upon entering your bedroom at night, for example, you can change into workout clothing instead and hit the treadmill while watching TV.

Be extremely specific about what you will do, where it will happen, and when it is going to happen. Sticking to your schedule keeps you from beating yourself up over one mess-up, keeps you focused on the activity at the next opportune time.

Have someone else hold you accountable

We are social beings, who have an inherent drive to interact and mingle with other people, and we would want to be present for these interactions.

Having someone who is counting on you to show up goes far in helping you get back on track. These people can be anyone from your friends, family, teammates, colleagues, or even people in internet groups and forums.

If your goal is to regularly hit the gym, for example, talk to strangers and make friends in the gym, and simply knowing that someone expects to see you is often enough to get you to show up.

Changing your environment to change your life is common but sage advice. Solely relying on something as fickle as motivation or willpower does not guarantee consistent change, so you need to pin your upswing to something as consistent as your environment.

Design your environment for success. If you want to sleep better, for instance, turn off and keep all your devices away from the bed at least an hour before you turn in for the night. If you want to floss regularly, place your floss beside your toothbrush and toothpaste. These are small, simple environment changes that foster your new habits, without requiring phone reminders or post-it notes on the mirror.

Another piece of advice for a healthier life is pruning the people in your environment. Cut off connections that are unhealthy or simply not beneficial to your wellbeing. Keep only the people who you know will help you grow and are always honest with you.

The highs and lows are what keeps life going. The transitions in between can be rough but there are many ways to make them smoother. Experiencing these highs and lows is a clear indication that your life is far from flatlining.

About Author

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Jamie Sanders is a freelance writer for many media outlets. She married her soulmate and writer, Dennis Sanders. Together they live in Boston where they're parents to 2 puppies.

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