Why “Getting Back on Track” may not work

By Kayla Van Egdom

After a few days, weeks, months or more of deviating from health goals (it happens to all of us!) you might feel ready to restart, reset, and recommit to setting a goal of ‘get back on track’.

While this goal makes sense, it’s one of the less effective goals we can set for ourselves. The reason for this is the lack of specificity and clarity. I’m reminded of this quote from Tim Ferris:

“If you want confusion and heartache, ask vague questions. If you want uncommon clarity and results, ask uncommonly clear questions.”

To reword this with our goals in mind, the statement would be: if you want confusion and heartache, set vague goals. If you want uncommon clarity, set uncommonly clear goals.

The problem with the goal of “getting back on track” is its vagueness. What does that even mean? It doesn’t propel us to action. And without clarity and specificity, we aren’t going to know that we’ve “gotten back on track”, so we’re not going to have the feeling of pride and accomplishment of achieving a goal that motivates us to tackle our next challenge.

While vague goals such as ‘getting back on track’ can serve as starting point, it’s not the end. From this starting line, it’s time to get granular and into action.

Getting Back On Track With Uncommonly Clear Goals:

  1. Define in specific terms what ‘getting back on track’ looks like for you. What will you eat? What workout will you do? Will you do some yoga or meditate to change your state? What exact things will you do in your evening routine to ensure you finish strong?
  2. Capitalize on today. Part of the reason it’s often hard to get back on our path is because we’re making plans and projections for the next thirty to sixty days. Tomorrow isn’t here yet – today is all you have, so use this day to get back on track. It doesn’t matter what you had for breakfast or how you started the day either. From this moment on, what precise choices will you make to move in the direction you want to go? You’re only a few good decisions away from feeling better and gaining momentum.
  3. Writing these goals down on a day-to-day basis is powerful. Writing goals on paper makes them more real. We can also revisit the written goals throughout the day to make sure we’re on track.

With these strategies in place, there’s no doubt that you’ll be back on the path to progress in no time!

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