We’ve heard it all before, but I think that it’s something extremely important: progress is never in a straight line. We all want it to be, though. This is true and relevant in just about every aspect of life. We get in a good system, start losing weight, get our social lives together, whatever it may be, then something happens to throw us off track.
It happens to all of us and it happens in just about every situation in life pretty much. It’s frustrating because you just want to keep moving forward. Things were going so well and you just want to keep going forward. Moving backwards, in any capacity and in any way is frustrating. It feels like you’re taking 2 steps forward and 1 step backwards.
I used to get really hard on myself when this happened. I would be in a good system, a good rhythm, my healthy habits were on point. Then, something would happen to get everything all messed up. I would get frustrated and mad at myself for letting myself get to that point. I would be mad for not being able to handle it and ultimately “letting myself go”. Then, this negative self-talk would spiral into more negative self-talk and I would begin going down a tunnel of neglecting my healthy habits and mental health more and more.
It seems dramatic, but it’s very true and I know it’s prominent for a lot of people. We continue to let ourselves spiral out of control until we get tired of it and decide we want to make a change, then the cycle repeats.
I felt inclined to write this post because I recently experienced this and I wanted to take the time to explain how I dealt with the stress. Over the years, I have learned a lot about how to handle these times in our lives and I think that what I have to say is important! It’s going to happen & it’s going to happen a lot, unfortunately. Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s inevitable.
I’ve learned that during these times when it feels like I’m “taking a step back”, it might actually be a good thing. I’ve learned that this might mean that I’m entering an important time for growth and a breakthrough is about to happen. It’s uncomfortable in the moment, but it’s necessary to take the next step forward.
Life kind of makes you stop, so you can keep moving forward. Now, this might sound counter-intuitive, but stay with me here!
I’ve learned to listen to the universe. To pay attention to these times when I feel like I’m falling off track because, sometimes, it doesn’t really mean that I’m falling “off track”. It’s the universe telling me that I need to slow down.
To be honest, life would be quite boring if things turned out exactly how we wanted all the time. If things worked out perfectly the first time and things continued in a straight line, there would be no growth, no learning experiences, no breakthroughs to celebrate. Times of reflection wouldn’t result in celebrating all of the hard work that was done and all the growth that happened. It sounds nice on paper, that everything will work out perfectly and all will end exactly how we expect.
However, these times are frustrating. It’s extremely hard not to just want to throw in the towel and stay frustrated. But, I encourage you to keep an open mind here because shifting your perception can result in a life changing breakthrough.
Here are some important things to remember during these times:
Don’t be hard on yourself
The most important thing to remember is that you must not get hard on yourself during these times. Beating yourself up for “falling off track” will get you nowhere except keep you going even further downhill.
I’ve noticed this to be especially prevalent in my early to mid-twenties and I think it’s pretty common around this age for most people. It’s the time in our lives when we are set free to really figure out who we are and what we are supposed to be doing with our lives. Every time we think we are getting closer to getting it figured out, something happens to throw us off track a little bit.
When this started happening to me, I was thinking that I was the only one going through this. I just assumed that everyone else my age was getting things all figured out and they were happily progressing without any problems. When you think you’re the only one going through something, it’s very discouraging.
Trust me, I know this very well. I spent about 3 years trying to find a job, getting another degree, revising my resume, countless applications & interviews and ended up getting fired from the job I finally got after just 5 weeks. Talk about discouraging! While it was frustrating and discouraging, I’ve come to realize that Getting Fired Was The Best Thing To Happen To Me!
The most important piece of advice that I received in terms of getting through this was to not beat myself up. If you can shift your perception on the situation to the best of your ability, you can see this in a whole new light.
Give yourself some grace here! If you want some extra tips, make sure you check out my blog on The Importance of Self-Care!
TAKE A BREAK
Seriously, take a break. Sometimes these times are meant to tell you that you need to slow down and give your mind & body some TLC. Make sure you listen to your body and rest if/when you need it.
For my most recent experience with falling off track, what helped the most was giving myself 3 full days off, away from work, completely focusing on myself. When I say a break, I mean a REAL break. I was trying to give myself breaks, but I was still constantly thinking about alllll the things I had to be doing or SHOULD be doing, scrolling on Pinterest trying to find some inspiration. I was resting my body, but I wasn’t letting my mind rest, which was making me even more exhausted.
Before you start rolling your eyes and thinking “OK Jessie, not everyone can just take 3 days off!“, hear me out. I know that giving yourself 3 days might seem out of reach or impossible, considering where you are in life. But, we all need to find time in our lives to give ourselves a break. We all need it and it might be just what you need to get on track. Maybe see if anyone can help you out for a day to get some things off your plate so you can rest. Giving yourself just one day completely to yourself could be the best thing you do right now!
I’ve talked about the importance of journaling many times, but I find that it holds so many benefits. Especially if you feel like your progress has stopped, no matter what area, it’s always good practice to get everything out of your head and on to paper.
Sometimes, we have things going on in our subconscious that we don’t even know that’s weighing us down. Which is why I always think that journaling can be super powerful. Just getting all of your thoughts, everything that bothering you out of your head and on to paper might give you some clarity.
If you want to read more information on my transformative experiences with journaling, make sure you check out my recent post on The Power of Journaling!
Come up with an action plan
After you journal and get everything out of your head and on to paper, it can be easier to see what specifically needs to be done to keep moving forward. Think about what’s going on and why this “step back” is happening.
Get specific. Don’t just say “get back on track”. How exactly are you going to do it? Are you going to give yourself a mental health day? Brain dump everything that needs to be done? Drink more water?
Giving yourself realistic actionable goals is important to getting yourself back on track.
find the silver lining
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. We are given certain “bumps” in our paths because we are supposed to go through a certain learning experience to prepare us for what’s to come.
Finding the silver lining in a situation like this, when we feel like we’ve taken a step backwards, is helpful in shifting our mindset. If you can conquer your mindset, you can conquer anything!
If you just rolled your eyes when you read that, try to hear me out because I think this is really important! If we’re constantly beating ourselves up about things and focusing on the negatives all the time, it’s going to be really difficult to get to where we want to be. Just hear me out & try to shift your perspective!
If you are still not convinced, I understand. Shifting your perception is hard and can take some work. But, I do want to share a resource that I’ve mentioned before that helped me shift my mindset.
It’s a book called, Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo!
This book revolves around the phrase, “Everything Is Figureoutable“. Meaning, no matter where you are in life, what situation you are currently in, no matter how sucky or sad, it is figureoutable. Marie Forleo helps you get out of your mental BS to start living your life. To help you get out of that mental funk that you’ve found yourself in and start taking actionable steps to changing your mindset.
I’ve noticed that each time I go through a period where I feel like I taking a step back & I see a regression in progress, I learn more about myself. I’ve been able to learn about what helps & what doesn’t and I’ve been able to make changes to make sure that I continue to keep moving forward.
Taking a step back, in any way, in any situation is frustrating. But, the way you perceive the situation can be a game changer!