Being “on the right track” can mean completely different things for different people. But regardless of what characteristics you want your life to have, the same basic questions apply to everyone. Answer these seven questions honestly, and you’ll have your answer as to whether you’re on the right track or teetering off course.
1. Am I enjoying myself?
Enjoying life isn’t the only priority we should have. For example, enjoying life a little too much can lead to reckless and irresponsible behaviors. However, a much more common problem people have today is not making time for enjoyment. If you’re not careful, jobs, bills, and various obligations can end up occupying most of your time. In this case, we begin to break down like a car that has needed an oil change for too long. If you’re consistently busy, you may want to consider consciously planning out time for enjoyable activities. If we don’t do this, our minds often compensate with less healthy enjoyable activities, like eating junk food or gossiping just to blow off steam.
2. Am I spending time with people I can learn from?
We know we want people around who have things in common with us – people who make us laugh, people we can relax and spend time with. But it’s also important to have people in your life who can teach you something – someone who is advanced in some area of life that you are not. Many of the most successful people in the world cite personal mentors as crucial to their success. And while it may not always be fun, certain people can challenge us in ways that catalyze our personal growth.
3. Am I feeling healthy?
With the exception of accidents, health issues are not strictly physical issues – they often accompany an underlying psychological problem, and/or an unhealthy lifestyle pattern. This is especially true for chronic illnesses. While we can’t immediately heal ourselves from disease, we can pay close attention to health issues that are developing in us and try to address them and understand where they came from.
4. Am I making compromises?
Compromise can be a positive thing – like something you do with a friend when deciding what restaurant to eat at. However, compromise can also be an insidious bad habit that keeps people unsatisfied, while pulling them away from who they really are. If you frequently ignore your intuition, you can easily fall off the right track. For example, feeling like you need to relax, but instead going to do favors for a friend. Or on a broader scale, feeling the urge to pursue a certain career, but being coerced by others into a safer route.
5. Am I doing what I’m good at?
While research shows that practice is the most significant precursor for success, we all have innate skill sets and particular interests that we naturally drift toward. If you are constantly pushing yourself to be better at tasks that don’t come natural to you, or that you don’t enjoy, you can begin to slip off the right track. If you allow yourself to explore things you’re good at (whether in a career or otherwise), you’ll be happier and you’ll be more equipped to help others.
6. Am I procrastinating my life away?
This is perhaps the easiest and least noticeable way to go off the right track, which makes it especially dangerous. It’s very easy to let ourselves believe in the “one day” lie: one day I’ll start exercising; one day I’ll spend more time with my family; one day I’ll start my own business. But if you don’t mean today, these things will probably never happen. Instead, you can begin taking small actions each day to bring about the changes you want. As long as you accomplish a small task, you’ll be moving toward a goal.
7. Am I following my heart or my ego?
It is often very difficult for us to tell whether we are doing, saying, and believing things because they are true, or because our egos tell us they’re true. Our egos can mislead us in countless ways. For example, you can think you’re beginning a new relationship because it makes you happy, when in reality, it’s because you feel the need to compete with an ex. If you have a hard time distinguishing between following your heart and following your ego, consider this: Your heart will lead you to genuine contentment and simple satisfaction, while your ego will chase fleeting happiness that depends on external factors.
Featured photo credit: flickr/ kris krug via farm2.staticflickr.com