Recently, I told a friend I felt very derailed. In my mind, the train (my life) was completely off the track, cars blown everywhere, grooves in the earth, the train tracks peeling up.
My friend waited a moment and said “you’re not derailed, just held up. The train will just be later than expected.”
Wow. Game changer.
Just reframing that negative thought made a HUGE difference. Instead of being completely stopped and unable to move forward with my goals, I was paused. Instead of needing a crane or another large and expensive piece of equipment to move me forward, I could just take a breath and know that when I was ready, I could begin again.
What “Derails” You?
Let’s take a minute and think about what derails you from working on your goals. (Or maybe we should just say, causes you to pause).
In my case, it is frequently family. My father was in the hospital and my parents needed some support. My kids also derail me—sickness, holidays, sports….I could make this whole blog about how kids derail us but I won’t.
We’ve all had it happen. Illness, exhaustion, shiny object syndrome can cause us to get off track.
Frequently, it is my own mindset that derails me. When I lack motivation, when fear rears its ugly head, when I start comparing myself to others, I can get off track, in the weeds and down in the dumps (to borrow a few metaphors).
Where are you Off Track ?
When thinking about what slows down your progress, notice what part of life you’re working on. Does your attitude about things change if we’re talking about a diet or a plan to meet a friend versus a sales opportunity?
It seems for much of my adult life, I’ve been on a diet. Somehow, eating a piece of cake (surely a derailing activity for any diet), doesn’t seem to impact me as much as much as when I’m thrown off from a business goal. When I have the cake, I’m able notice how I feel after eating it (yum, delicious but gave me a headache), and remind myself I can make a better choice for my next meal.
Get Back On Track
Really, it’s all about choosing the way you THINK. Your mindset, if you will. The human brain is conditioned to think in an all or nothing mentality. If I can’t throw my entire self into this endeavor, if I can’t do things perfectly, I won’t do it at all.
Whoa. If that is our attitude, how can we ever accomplish anything?
Life frequently throws obstacles in the way. Just like the diet/cake choice, we have to decide what’s important and know we’ll have the opportunity to make another choice soon. In my case, my family is important. While it isn’t always easy or comfortable to choose them first, I don’t regret it.
What I need to do is remember I have a choice. I can choose to think I did the right thing thing and everything will be okay, rather than feeling stuck or off track. I mean, really, things always work out.
I can also make the choice to move forward with my goals. Even if I’m paused at the station, I can plan my next steps and schedule when to take them. If I can’t take action today, I can make a plan that will move me forward on my "train trip,” while making choices where and when to stop along the way.
After all, it’s not about the destination, but about the journey.
Make choices about how you think. Reframe your negative thoughts. Celebrate your own progress while working towards your goals.
Good luck and let me know if I can help.