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By Angela Atkinson

“You never fail until you stop trying.” ~Albert Einstein

As you move toward personal bliss and ultimate success, there are sometimes speed bumps along the way. Most people find that in order to feel satisfied and happy in their lives, they need to create personal change on some level.

Often, when we’re working toward personal change, we start with high hopes and big expectations. We develop plans and list new, better habits and schedules and ways of doing things.

We start out that first day or week or month with gusto, and when we’re really determined to meet our goals, we stick it out for the long haul and reap the benefits.

But once in awhile, it doesn’t work out that way. We find ourselves falling back into old habits and backsliding into apathy. We become so involved with or distracted by other important things in our lives that we forget to take care of ourselves and our goals.

And, when we do that, what do we do? We start berating ourselves, of course. It’s human nature.

We get that negative inner conversation going.

We think things like, “I was never going to succeed anyway,” or “Who am I to think I can be ______?” or “I am incapable of change.”

Of course, this internal conversation begins to manifest itself in our lives. We start to fail, we start to give up before we’ve even given our plans a fair chance to succeed.

And then, procrastination sets in. We begin to tell ourselves that we’ve already screwed up for today, so we might as well start over tomorrow, Monday, next week.

The cycle continues, and we’re left wondering why we failed–and how we can find our way back to the path we desire and away from the self-destructive one we’re plummeting down.

Take an exercise program, for example.

We know we need to exercise, and we know how to exercise. We figure out when to put it in our schedule, we set a date to start–we even put new, upbeat music on our iPods–and on the first day, we’re gung ho, sweating our butts off on the treadmill.

A week later, things aren’t running so smoothly. We have found excuse after excuse to put off our workout, and now we haven’t worked out in 3 days.

What next?

Here’s the trick to getting through those little regressions, whether for an exercise program or any other goal in your life–it’s more simple than you might think.

First, stop beating yourself up when you slip. And second, get back on track RIGHT NOW–not tomorrow, not Monday, not next week. Right this very instant.

If that means you get up off your butt and work out at 8:00 pm in order to get back on track, then do it, even if it feels really hard.

You will be glad you did–and each time you step back on the treadmill or into the gym, it will get a little easier.

The same is true of any personal goal.

Going off-plan every now and then doesn’t have to mean the end of your efforts. Just consider it more like a brief detour and jump right back on track.

Skip the negative self-talk, and treat yourself with a little compassion. Imagine how you’d talk to your dearest friend or relative if he or she fell of track with his or her own goals–and give yourself the same courtesy.

Remind yourself that you’re worth it–that you deserve to have good things in your life and that you want to meet that goal. Forgive yourself for slipping up, and get back on track right away.

And the next time it happens, do the same thing. Do it again and again until you reach your goal. Never stop trying until you reach that goal, and you find the success you’ve been seeking. It really is that simple.

How do you stay motivated to stick to your plans for creating personal change in your own life? Tell me in the comments, below.


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