How To Stop Drifting and Get Back On Track
There's no doubt about it - what's happening in our world today is a very stretching experience. I don't think anyone would look at our current situation or look back a few months from today only to say, "oh yeah, that was fun."
We're collectively facing a hard and stressful situation. A time of fear, uncertainty, loneliness, and grief. We are smack dab in the middle of a crisis. And here’s what can happen during stressful times. We either double down on our vision and how we show up daily or we start drifting. We start reaching for habits that take us to a downward spiral. And we could look back 3 months from today and ask ourselves the question, how did I get here?
How do you usually respond to bad experiences?
Do you explode in anger? Do you shrink into yourself emotionally? Do you hide your head in the sand and try to ignore reality? Do you try to detach yourself as much as possible?
I love the quote by John McDonnell, "Every problem introduces a person to himself." What a powerful observation.
3 ways we can stop drifting and start getting back on track
There’s a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes that I love “to reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.”
There are many situations where we can find ourselves stuck in a riptide only to be pulled off course. It’s not a matter of if it’s a matter of when. So the problem is not that we start drifting (that happens to everyone) the problem occurs when we let the drifting go on too long.
So, how does drifting happen?
I can tell you one thing. It does not happen in an instance. It does not happen overnight. If you find yourself in a place you don’t want to be in and ask yourself “How did I get here”, I can tell you with certainty you didn’t end up there overnight.
But let’s look deeper into what are some reasons we end up drifting.
- Sliding happens because we lack awareness. Sometimes we drift because we simply don’t know what’s happening or that it is happening. It’s a lack of awareness.
Maya Angelou says "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." Sometimes we hold assumptions that are simply not helpful. Until we see differently we are unaware.
- Sliding happens when are distracted. Again, our current circumstances can be very distracting. Why? Because when we find ourselves in a stressful situation we tend to fill up our days with things in order to cope.
Being busy keeps us thinking less of what is happening on the inside. Unfortunately, the side effect of being too busy is becoming distracted which leads to drifting. Does this make sense? On the other hand, being distracted can also occur when we are doing good things. Maybe we get caught up in doing something we think is good but we end up sacrificing something that is even better.
- Sliding happens when we are overwhelmed. Taking my previous point a bit further. We might take on more than we should. We might pack our lives so full that there is no room for breathing.
And while we might be able to sustain this kind of living for a very short amount of time I can tell you it’s not sustainable long term. What ends up happening is that overly busy leads to overwhelms which leads to living in survival mode. When we live in constant survival mode it’s easy to let things start to slide.
- Sliding also happens when we are duped. It’s pretty mindblowing how our brain works. We’re often unconscious about the connection between our beliefs and reality.
Henry Ford once said, “whether you believe you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” Meaning what we believe creates our reality.
And this right here is sometimes the biggest reason we slide off track. If you believe you can’t change then you won’t even attempt to. If you believe the world won’t change than that creates a gloomy reality. If you refuse to accept the fact that you have control and can affect the outcome, it’s easy to start drifting, feeling like a powerless person. Feeling as though we are a victim to everything and everyone around us.
Now, before you get discouraged I want to quickly share the good news part with you. Because there is plenty of good news.
3 simple steps that can help you get back on track
Step 1: Create Awareness: Fully acknowledge your current reality and where you find yourself. Be completely honest in dealing with yourself. In every single area of your life. Awareness is the first step in creating change but more than change, to create growth.
Step 2: Decide on a Direction. Once you know where you are now you can start laying the foundation for where you want to see yourself ending up. What kind of family life do you want to have? What kind of career do you want to focus on developing? What kind of marriage do you want to enjoy? What kind of mental, physical and spiritual health do you want to possess? Answering these questions helps you get a sense of where you see yourself going.
Step 3: Start taking action in that direction: Once you are aware of where you are and decide on where you want to be, now it’s time to work on moving in the right direction and take small but consistent steps towards your goals. Yes, it will take some work on your part. But you are now aware of the gap and can start putting a plan together in order to bridge that gap. When you have a plan (you don’t need a perfect plan) but a working plan, now every day becomes an opportunity to get closer to getting back on track and moving up that track.
It's never too late
Here’s one thing I want to make sure you hear me on. Maybe you are listening to me and you are thinking I’ve slid off the track too far and I’m not sure I can find my way back. Maybe you feel like you are so far off you can’t even see “the shore” so to speak. Perhaps you’ve given up hope and you feel like purposeful living is just not meant for you.
I’m here to tell you that it is not true. It is never too late to hit the pause button and correct your course in order to get back on track. I want you to be encouraged.
Take this from someone who has done a complete overhaul on her life a few years ago. Me. Yes, you can’t change the past, but all of us have the power to change who we are becoming today and who we will be tomorrow as a result of today. Because the right choices today will radically impact what tomorrow will look like.
Don't forget to listen to the latest CAPTIVATE episode with amazing guests and passionate female thought leaders sharing their inspiring stories.
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