THE BLOG
09/29/2015 04:12 pm ET Updated Sep 29, 2016

How to Get Back on Track After You Have Derailed

Have you ever found yourself on track towards your goals, motivated and making forward momentum, and then suddenly, you're not? Perhaps you know the exact cause of what lead you off track, or perhaps you notice you're way off and don't even know how that happened.

The reason doesn't matter. You just want to figure out how to get back on track once you've derailed. The faster, the better!

Personally, this summer I was there; rather than having fallen off the track, I jumped! I knew exactly what I was doing though, as it was a conscious choice.

I had been working hard since the beginning of the year on some big projects and significant changes for my business (you'll be seeing them soon). I wanted to get those things done but I also felt I needed a break.

Summer was around the corner. My husband was taking Fridays off in July and August. Friends and family with summer homes asked us to come visit. We had a mid-summer vacation planned, and my elderly parents were closing down the apartment they've lived in for over 50 years and needed my help.

So, I chose to switch my focus from work to home life. Aside from keeping up with steady clients, I opted to put my projects on hold and forgo any new opportunities that may creep up until the fall. I took three-day weekends, spent loads of time outdoors, made many trips to my parents' home, and, in general, had a great summer!

I spend a lot of time talking about "getting back on track" with clients. Whether it's back on a healthy weight loss plan, consistently exercising, getting needed sleep every night, or productivity techniques, everyone has times that they get derailed.

I did not realize how difficult it would be for me to get back on track when the summer ended. Here are the steps I finally put into place that got my momentum going and my engine running again. Perhaps they will help you the next time you fall (or jump) off track!

1. Reconnect with your "why." Whether it's losing weight, getting in shape or completing work projects, remind yourself of the reasons you chose that goal in the first place. Write a list of 15 reasons why you would benefit and be happier if you accomplished what you set out to do.

2. Pick a nonnegotiable start date to take action. Check your calendar and choose the first available day that you know you can commit to taking the first steps towards getting back on track. When I checked my calendar, I knew the day after the mid-month Jewish holidays ended would be my start date.

3. Choose the one step you can take that will feel like you've made progress once completed. Writing this blog post was my first step in getting back on track. Perhaps going to the gym or stocking your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables will work for you. One positive action usually leads to another.

4. Get back to basics. Review the consistent behaviors you were practicing the last time you felt securely on track. Begin putting them back into place. When I am on track with my business plans, I am consistently pre-planning my workweek goals, meeting with my business coach, and tracking my results. For my clients, I hear things such as writing exercise sessions into the calendar in advance, weighing in once a week, packing lunches to bring to work, or shutting off the TV by 10 p.m.

5. Remember that you've done it before and you can do it again. Don't spend time beating yourself up for getting off track. It's OK -- lapses occur for everyone. You have the strength, desire, and choice to begin again at any moment that you choose. As Nike says, "just do it!"