As much as we want to stay focused and on track with our goals, sometimes it’s not possible. And with major life challenges and set backs, even the most motivated of us can lose focus. That’s why it’s important to know how to get back on track with your goals, because the one thing you can be sure of, is that at some point, life will happen.

Reassess your priorities

After a major life setback, your whole perspective on life may change. That’s why it’s important to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities. A full life audit is probably in order. There will be things that you thought were important before that you no longer think are, and likewise, there might also be new things in life that you view as priorities. 

For this reason, instead of trying to get back to all your goals and acting as though nothing has happened, ask yourself, is this something you still want to complete or achieve? Is this still an important goal to you, and why is this goal still important?

Finally, once you’re clear on the goals you still want to continue working on, be sure to reassess their priorities. Even though you have decided to move forwards with a goal, it may have shifted on your priority list. 

By doing this life audit and reassessment of your priorities, you can make sure that you don’t end up banging your head against a wall, trying to accomplish something that is no longer important to you in your life. And you can also make room for new things that you want to focus on, in light of the major life event that may have set you back. 

Redefine Your Goals 

As well as checking in with yourself to confirm whether or not a goal is still important to you, it’s also valuable to reevaluate the details of the goal. For example, you may have had the goal of getting fit for your own personal health reasons, but while getting fit may still be a priority, the motivation behind it may be completely different. It may now be that you want to focus on keeping fit and exercising for your mental health as the main motivating factor. 

While this may seem like an unimportant distinction, the reasons we do things are equally as important as the activity itself. Your reason for doing something is your why. it’s the thing that will keep you going and taking action, even on days when you might not feel like it. 

Following a major life setback, there will likely be many days that are challenging so having your real why nailed down for each of your goals will help you stay on track once you get back to it and start gaining momentum. 

Start Small

When trying to get back on track with anything, it can be tempting to come out swinging, all guns blazing. And if you feel like doing this, then by all means. The truth is, when your life takes a big hit, this might be easier said than done. Therefore, give yourself the grace to get back on track with your goals slowly. Take it one day at a time, and one small step at a time. 

Trying to do too much, too quickly might feel overwhelming and it’s likely that you’re already not feeling your best. Don’t beat yourself up for not getting back to your grand goals with all the zeal and energy with which you started, at least not instantly. it’s ok to give yourself time. 

In a world where everything happens at warp speed, this can be a difficult approach to take. Especially if you go down the path of focusing your attention on where everyone else is, comparing yourself just leads to dispairing. 

Everyone’s path is different. Everyone’s journey is different. Honor your journey and focus on what you can do and what you want to achieve, instead of what you think you should already have done or achieved by now. 

Build Habits 

When you’ve had a major life challenge or a major setback, you will have days when you’re not feeling your best. When your motivation wanes or is quite frankly nonexistent, that’s where habits can be your friend. 

Building habits removes the element of decision-making. Your mind is already full of what has happened in your life and trying to get back on track. The last thing you want is to have tons of additional small, moment-to-moment decisions. To avoid this, try to focus on building a few habits in relation to the things you’re trying to accomplish. 

Whether it’s doing something at a specific time each day, or the same day each week, building habits will make it slightly easier for you to take action over time. 

Mix Things Up 

Implementing new things into your life might be an unexpected piece of advice when it comes to getting back on track with your goals after a major life setback, but there’s a method to the madness. Doing new and novel things will add an element of intrigue, interest, and maybe even a little fun to your life.

All this will lift your energy and put you in a  better state mentally and energetically. The state you’re in has a significant impact on your performance, so by implementing new things into your days or weeks, when you do sit down to work on getting back on track with your goals, you’re likely to perform better. 

Another benefit of doing new things is that when we do new things, time feels slower, when you’re trying to get back on track with your goals, you no doubt want to have plenty of time at your disposal or at least the illusion of it!

Mindset is Key

When our life takes a turn for the worst, when life challenges happen and when we get knocked down, our mindset can take a huge hit. It can take its toll on how we feel about ourselves, our abilities and even challenge how we feel about life itself. 

For this reason, doing something every day to support your mindset and mental-wellbeing is critical. 

The options are many and varied, so it’s about trying different things and finding what works for you. Although, some things are universal. For example, protect your mind from negativity when you’re trying to get back on track with your goals after a major life setback. This means being careful what you watch, who you spend time with, and what you listen to. These things are always important but, after a major hit, they become even more critical. 

In addition to this, you can try:

  • Journalling
  • Watching motivational videos
  • Reading inspiring and motivational stories
  • Meditating
  • Praying
  • Affirmations and mirror talk 
  • Practicing gratitude daily
  • Random acts of kindness 
  • Listening to uplifting music 
  • Doing something you enjoy whether that’s dancing, singing, gardening, baking, building model airplanes, or something else. 

 As you can see, there are many things you can do to try and stay in a positive state of mind. And while it’s ok to feel sad sometimes, because this is life ( no toxic positivity here), feeling good ( or as good as is possible for you right now) as you try and get back on track with your life and your goals after a setback, will make it that tiny bit easier. 

Up Your Energy Levels

After a major life challenge and setback, your energy levels can take a serious hit. Whether it’s because you’re not sleeping well, not eating properly, or worrying 24/7. All of this drains your energy significantly. So it’s important to do things that will increase your energy levels as much as possible.

Again, there are lots of options, and the more of them you incorporate into your daily life, the better, including; 

  • Spending time with good friends
  • Exercising 
  • Eating nourishing foods 
  • Getting more sleep 
  • Drinking more water 

And you don’t have to do everything all at once. remember, small steps are key so just start with one thing and slowly add the rest in over time. 

Practice Self-compassion 

Finally on this list is self-compassion. Whatever the big life challenge you’re experiencing, there are no doubt many painful emotions attached to the situation. Whether it’s a divorce, a breakup, or the death of a family member  (as in my situation). Whatever the situation, you will have your own challenging emotions, thoughts and beliefs surrounding it.

These can cloud your judgment, cause you to doubt yourself, question yourself, dislike yourself, and even hate yourself at times, which is why set compassion is such a key element when it comes to getting back on track with life and getting back on track with your goals after a major life setback.

Yes, things may not be where you wanted them to be right now, yes, you may be finding it harder to get back on track with life and your goals than you ever thought possible, yes you may look around and feel like the world and your peers are leaving you behind, but take heart. You are doing your best at this moment, under these circumstances, and that is the best that you can do. 

Know that as long as you are working towards your goals in some small way, taking small daily actions, protecting your energy and mindset, and doing the best you can, then you’re right on track. Be compassionate with yourself in this difficult moment, because while you may not be the best version of yourself, you are a work in progress, as we all are.

[Related: 5 Best Self-Care Ideas For Empaths In A Crisis]

[Related: 105 Self-Care Affirmations to Enhance Your Self-Care Routine]

Celebrate the Small Wins 

Celebrating your wins is a topic that I’ve talked about often here. It’s an important part of working towards your goals at all times in life, but when you’re trying to get back on track with your goals after a difficult life challenge, this becomes even more crucial. 

Now you might be taking smaller steps than you’d like, making slower progress than you typically would, but don’t underestimate the importance of your small wins at this time. 

When we feel at our best, when we feel strong and like we can do anything, when everything seems to be going our way and we’re winning, it’s great! but when life is taking its toll and your struggling to get back on the horse, that’s when you need to love yourself and celebrate every little thing more than ever. 

Take a moment to recognize the effort that you’ve made every day and know that tomorrow is another day and tomorrow will be better still. 

Wherever you are on your journey when it comes to getting back on track with your goals after a difficult and major life challenge, believe and know that you can do this. 

And you will come back stronger.