7 Questions to Stay on Track

train track

When January starts, we’re almost all on track, aren’t we? We have a period of time when the whole world is focused and we’re going the right direction at the right speed with the right destination in sight. And this time, we’re sure we’ll get there.

Then comes mid-January. Our train is no longer full-speed ahead but slowly chugging along, or maybe not moving at all. The skies are gray, our momentum is gone, yet we keep seeing ads for gyms or diet plans or our spring semester at college is starting and we’re supposed to be motivated.

How can we manage to keep going even in these times, even when the train is at a standstill and we’re at the station wondering if we can even manage to climb back on? Here’s a list of seven general questions to help you when thinking about what we’re trying to accomplish, questions to spark interest and intentions.

Question 1 - What are you trying?

Think about what it is you’re wanting to do and your goals. Is this something completely new or are you refocusing on something you already do? Are you working on a hobby or something professional? Are you starting this by yourself or with someone else? Evaluate what it is you’re trying and get some perspective on what it really is.

Question 2 - How motivated are you?

We’re all motivated at the begining of the new year, but think about this motivation. Is this something you really want or just kind of want? Are you motivated for yourself or for someone else? Is this something you feel like you “have” to do, even if you don’t want to?

Question 3 - How much are you trying?

We often think we’re working a lot harder than we are. Sometimes we need to get realistic about how much effort we’re expending toward our goal. Are you working as much as your goal requires? Are you putting in the bare minimum or your maximum?

train track

Question 4 - How are you trying?

Sometimes we’re spinning our wheels and getting nowhere. This can be because we’re not really doing the things we need to do to make progress. We’re cleaning out emails or looking for the right yoga pants, neither of which actually makes progress toward a business or health goal. Think about the ways you’re trying. Are they effective or are you frittering away time in unproductive efforts? Are you targeting your work to those places that are most productive?

Question 5 - How are you measuring success?

It’s important to take time for periodic checks, comparing where you were to where you are to where you want to be. Are you measuring your progress against realistic goals or unrealistic expectations? Are you fairly accounting for the learning curve in your activity? Are you at a plateau and aren’t recognizing the smaller incremental changes that happening?

Question 6 - Are you celebrating small victories?

Every success deserves recognition, especially to help keep you motivated. Are you appreciating each success or downplaying them because they aren’t substantial enough? Do you have a friend or colleague with whom you could share the small progression you see? Are you patting yourself on the back for the progress you make along the way?

Question 7 - What will you do after you meet your goal?

There needs to be an endgame, a final destination that lets you know where to go next. Are you planning with the end in sight? Do you have a way to keep yourself motivated to keep going with even more successes? Don’t rest on your laurels. Find a way to keep yourself moving forward all the time.

Staying on track is not always easy, so I hope these questions will help get you back on the rails when you’re feeling like you’ve slipped off. It’s not the first time someone (maybe you) has done that and it certainly won’t be the last. But don’t let it end your trip. Don’t let a quick stop off the train be your destination. Get back on and keep going toward your goal. It’s out there and the tracks will take you to it.