How to Get Back on Track When Life Gets in the Way

How to Get Back on Track When Life Gets in the Way | Reining in Mom

As I type this, I’m sitting in the gym cafe, eating a poppy seed muffin, just having finished a latte. I come to the gym about 5 times a week but I haven’t exercised here for at least a month. See, there’s a cafe, and two hours of free daycare a day. So I sit and I work on my online business, drink too much coffee, eat bad food, and don’t exercise.

At home I work for an hour in the morning before the kids get up. I scroll Facebook first thing, responding to comments. I then get my coffee and go right to work. No meditation. No bullet journaling. At night, I work until midnight and I’m exhausted and spinning and have no idea what I’ve actually accomplished that day. I fall into bed. No prayers, no gratitude list. And I wake up in the morning and do it all again.

I was maintaining this level of unmanageablility for over a month because I didn’t have anything else going on. But then we found out we have to move, entered into a tumultuous escrow for a house, a close family member had a health scare, we attended a family reunion, and my daughter turned 4, somehow garnering three birthday parties.

Like a flash in the pan, I burned out hard. And that, my Thrivers, is why there was no blog post last week. Because I stopped practicing what I preach and spiraled out of control. I had so thoroughly focused on my online business that I forgot to take care of myself. When life events piled on, I was totally incapable of dealing with them emotionally or physically.

Pretty poor form for a wellness blogger, right? But I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to help you. That includes showing you how to set goals, and also how to get back on track when you veer away from your goals.

I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to help you get back on track when you veer from your goals.Click To Tweet

How to Get Back on Track in 5 Steps

1.  Review Your Goals Regularly

In January, I set goals in 5 pillar categories: physical, mental, relational, financial & spiritual. Six months later, I have rarely if ever reviewed these goals. I knew that financial was my primary goal for the year, but I let that eclipse all of my other goals so completely that I burned out.

Had I reviewed my annual goals frequently, as I advised you all to do, I would have been able to see how far out of balance I was.  

I knew that. I just didn’t want to see. I thought that I could muscle through, treat myself poorly, and make up for it at a later date.

But that later date never came because there is always more to do and not enough time to do it. And then life piled on and I was totally ill-equipped to handle it because I was working so close to the bone.

So please learn from my mistake and engage in radical self-care even when you feel like there’s no time. At least engage in minimal self-care but make sure it includes eating right, exercising, journaling, sleeping, and meditation.

Minimal self-care includes eating right, exercising, journaling, sleeping, and meditation.Click To Tweet

2.  Set Goals Even When You Feel Like You’re Doing Well

My physical world has been by far my biggest regression. And I think it is because I didn’t set many physical goals because I was doing so well. Back when I set these goals in January, I had my Whole30 planned to keep my eating habits clean. I was sleeping 8 hours a night with regular bedtimes and wake times, and I regularly scheduled exercise.

I should have set a goal to maintain my physical care schedule no matter what. With blogging and now moving, it’s hard to find time to exercise, I’ve been hitting the cookies a bit hard, and staying up too late.

The goal I did set – doing my Whole30 – I was able to accomplish. Had I just set a few more physical goals, for example doing a swim meet or quitting coffee, I would have some motivation for continuing my good physical habits.

3. Plan For Failure

I also regressed on my goals because I didn’t plan for failure. We need to make plans that if life moves in a certain direction, then we will adjust our habits in X way to maintain them.

Going back to exercise, I should have planned what I would do during the rainy spring when I can’t swim but don’t have skiing to motivate me to go to the gym. I could have found an indoor exercise I enjoy and gotten an accountability partner. I am still horseback riding twice a week which is some exercise, but I really need the regular gym exercise for my sanity, health, and sleep.

4.  Get Back to Basics

Last week I had the worst day I’ve had in awhile. A close family member was undergoing some very scary medical tests, I got a call that our escrow was in jeopardy, and my little boy was screaming crying at me all morning. I sat in my car at Costco and just felt done. I wanted to get off the ride and just stop spinning.

After a few hours of being stunned I made some decisions. I would go back to basics until I felt better and then slowly fold more responsibilities back into my life.

The next morning, I woke up early as usual but I didn’t pick up my phone. Instead, I grabbed my bullet journal and just started writing down everything that was tornado-ing in my head. I prioritized the tasks and wrote out my plan for June.

I meditated for 5 minutes. My little boy and I went swimming. I ignored messages, notifications, and questions that didn’t require immediate answers. My little girl’s birthday party will consist of the three Ps: pizza, popcorn, and a piñata,  and I’m okay with that.

I immediately felt better and more in control. Getting back to basics is how to get back on track.

Getting back to basics is how to get your goals back on track.Click To Tweet

5.  Acknowledge Where You’ve Progressed

It’s so easy to focus on the negative and beat ourselves up for our lapses. But that only results in a shame spiral in my experience, making progress forward all the harder.

Plus, it totally misrepresents the facts. It’s not been all bad! I’ve made substantial progress on my relational and financial goals, for example. I’ve been working super hard to build my path to financial freedom. I’ve also made time to get to know several mom friends in my area, and feel much more comfortable here. Of course, I’m moving now sooo… I now have the skills to do it all over again!

With my personal growth goals, I’ve also done very well. I’ve competed in several reining shows which ups my growth game tremendously. And I’ve got a few blogging courses under my belt, as well as a conference slated for September.

All of these were goals I identified in January and have already achieved. By acknowledging these gains I can remember that I CAN do hard things. Even if my goals seem impossible now, steady progress will bring them back into the realm of possibility.


The biggest lesson for me in all of this is to try to course correct sooner rather than later. But even if you don’t realize you’re off course until much later, course correct then! Don’t let a few setbacks become permanent roadblocks.

I’m really feeling the effects of not exercising, not eating well, and not sleeping well, especially in the trying times of a job hunt for my husband and now buying a house and moving. But I know I can reset and I will.

How do you reset after being diverted from your goals? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. I’d love it if you’d share this article with others if you found it useful. Sharing helps this blog thrive and I appreciate every click!

P.P.S. This is article is part of my month-long series on goal setting and achieving. Check out the other posts in this series below:

Feeling Stuck? This is the Key That Will Make You Move

How Rapid Experimentation Will Make You Sure of Your Decisions


How to Get Back on Track When Life Gets in the Way | Reining in Mom

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  1. Goals are so important, and even more important to actually write them down. I have them all in my head and I feel as if some get pushed to the side, but if I wrote them down I would get more done. Although, your idea about using the gym time/childcare time for working is brilliant!

    1. Game. Changer. Sarah! Love the gym childcare. I love it too much. It’s a lot of why I don’t want to move! Lol. But you definitely have a good point. Writing goals down definitely makes them more concrete and gives you something to refer back to when things start to go awry 🙂

  2. Great post. Having our goals front and center is so important. When I started blogging back in February I did not have concrete goals. I do now and it has made such a difference. I work sometimes when my son is at soccer practice. Those little times that you get a break can be utilized!

    1. Thanks Brandy. I still need to work on my blogging goals. I have some, mostly concrete, goals, but they often get waylaid by the day to day. I think I’m aiming a bit too high which can get discouraging. Stay tuned for the next posts in my month-long goal setting series that will address that!

    1. Thanks Lorna! Agreed. Goals make me happy. It’s too easy to feel like groundhog day with parenting. Everyday the same, with no measurable progress. Life goals give me something concrete to work on. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. This was very insightful. A quote that helps me regain my footing is “you can fail but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure.” I remember this anytime I feel like I might as well just give up. Instead, I embrace my stumble and use it as a learning experience towards my goal.

    1. Aw, so glad it helped! That’s seriously very heartening to hear. We all have those days when we just can’t anymore. I almost threw in the towel about 2 hours ago, honestly. But there’s really no quit when you have kids. Hang in there sister!

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