We all drift off course from the direction of our goals from time to time. The wind, waves, and storms of life can divert our attention and overwhelm our efforts to sail forward. Even minor events, or the effects of our negativity bias, can move us away from our desired destination. Fear, doubt, and uncertainty are especially powerful drift factors that can keep us from taking action or moving forward. This is a normal and expected part of sailing through the unknown.

The good news is that we have the power to shift our focus back to taking action and achieving our goals. We can do this by reminding ourselves of our desired outcome, breaking down our goal into smaller steps, and taking action on the next step at a time. We can also seek out support from others to help us stay on course. 

Recognize When You Start to Drift

One way to do this is by setting regular check-ins with yourself, either daily or multiple times a day. Checking in allows you to take stock of where you are and compare it to where you want to be. This can help you catch drift early on so you can take corrective action. Another way to catch drift is by paying attention to your emotions. If you start to feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious, this may be a sign that you are off course. Other people can also hold you accountable and help you notice when you start to drift. Admitting that you have drifted off course can be difficult. You may feel like you have failed or that you are not good enough. But it is important to remember that everyone drifts at times and that you can always get back on track.

Remind Yourself of Your Desired Outcome

What is your goal? What do you want to achieve? These questions can help you refocus your attention and put you back on the right track. Goals are your reason "why" and can help you stay motivated when the going gets tough. It is helpful to consider that while your course may change, your destination usually stays the same. Visualize yourself achieving your goal and let that be your North Star. Mental rehearsal is an effective tool for achieving goals. It can help increase your confidence and motivation while also helping you become more familiar with the steps you need to take to achieve your goal. Also, be mindful of the potential consequences of not achieving your goal. A little bit of fear of drifting into danger can help your mind snap back into focus.

Break Down Your Goal into Smaller Steps

This can help you feel more confident and less overwhelmed. When you know what the next step is, you can take action and move forward. Also, by breaking down your goals, you can track your progress and celebrate each accomplishment along the way. This can help you stay motivated and on track. SMART goals are an effective way to break down your goals into smaller, more manageable steps. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Keeping your goals SMART will serve both to help you recognize when you are drifting and provide direction for shifting back on course.

Take Action One Step at a Time

Minding the moment and not the mountain is my way of saying stay focused on the present task and don't get overwhelmed by thinking about everything that you have to do. When we focus on the "mountain" of what lies ahead, it can be easy to get discouraged and give up. The good news is that we don't have to do everything at once. We can take it one step at a time. And each step we take gets us closer to our goal. This is where a daily or weekly action plan can come in handy. By writing down what you need to do each day or week, you can make sure that you are taking action towards your goal. This can help you stay on track while also providing a sense of accomplishment.

Seek Out Support from Others

Other people can provide invaluable support and help us stay on course. These can range from friends and family to mentors and professional coaches. A support system can offer encouragement, help us stay accountable, and provide a sounding board for our ideas. Sometimes, all we need is someone to listen to us and offer their perspective. Other times, we may need more help. If you are struggling to stay on track, consider seeking out professional help. A mentor, coach, or counselor can help you identify your goals, develop a plan, and sustain your efforts to achieve them.

Everyone drifts off course at times. The important thing is to recognize when you have drifted and take action to get back on track. By reminding yourself of your goals, breaking them down into smaller steps, taking action one step at a time, and seeking out support from others, you can stay on track and achieve your goals.

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