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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

Feeling off Track in Life? Here’s How to Stay True to Yourself

Feeling off Track in Life? Here’s How to Stay True to Yourself
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You often hear people say, “be true to yourself” or “‘just be you.” Many legendary quotes speak to this concept, yet we can often feel like we’re off track when it comes to being our true selves.

My primary goal as a coach and consultant is to help people get back on track—to live a life of greater happiness, fulfillment, and success.

While there are many (awesome) books, courses, programs, and words of advice on living a life you love, I always come back to the conclusion that the fastest way to get there is to be true to yourself.

There’s No Place Like Home — Your True Self

In the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy taps her ruby red slippers together and repeats, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…”

The same is true for each of us: there’s no place like home. There is a core in each of us where we thrive. This place or “state” is a reservoir from which we generate health and energy. Ultimately, your body, mind, and spirit all yearn to get back to this “home.”

Much of our stress, angst, and frustration is caused by being disconnected from, or out of alignment with, the source of who we are.

Why People Stop Being True to Themselves

From a  young age, we are pulled off track from being true to ourselves by well-meaning family members, teachers, the education system, our communities, and society.

Perhaps you were told to be quiet when you had much to say; or maybe your curiosity was crushed when your “whys” were met with “because I said so”; or your creativity and free spirit were suffocated when you were forced to fit in and sit quietly in a traditional classroom setting.

There are hundreds of examples of this, and I’m sure you have your own.

In fact, we as a culture, society, and species are derailed now more than ever. We are thrown off by the multitude of challenges in our own lives, by what’s happening in our countries and the world. There are unrealistic expectations and demands coming from every direction.

We are pulled off track by our 24-hour, technology-fueled world[1]. We are being pulled in different and sometimes even opposite directions, playing the many roles in our lives–employee, friend, parent, partner. All of these diverse roles have their own demands and expectations.

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We read books about how we should do things, take courses on what we are supposed to do, and try to model what we see others doing  to improve ourselves or be the right influence on others. And depending on the day of the week or the newest article or study, the advice is often different and conflicting!

How in the world are we supposed to get back on track when all of this is happening?

What Happens If You Are Not True to Yourself

It’s no wonder there are such staggering statistics around stress, health, and well-being, especially here in the U.S.[2].

For one reason or another, we are disconnected from our core self, we have slipped out of alignment with who we really are and what we already know. That pull is having widespread and significant consequences.

Let’s think of “being true to self” as a magnet. Your core self is compelled to get back “home,” but life’s circumstances and crises may actually have a stronger and demanding pull. As you get pulled from your home base, it’s like a magnet being wrenched from its attachment.

What happens when you pull a magnet away? It gets shaky and tries to get back. But if you let it, it will snap right back into place. Again, if you try to pull it away, it shakes again.

The Warning Signs

Now think of this for yourself. When you get separated from your core self, from being true to you, what do you experience? Do you get “shaky” like the magnet?

This disorientation can manifest as:

  • Physical symptoms such as low energy, headaches, stomach issues, tense muscles, frequent colds and infections, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, etc.
  • Emotional symptoms can include feelings of anger, frustration, being overwhelmed, loneliness, and eventually depression or anxiety.

These warning signs are your body’s way of saying that it wants to go home.

But most of the time, we ignore these signs. We keep pushing them down or forcing our way through. If we get a headache, we take a painkiller; if we have high blood pressure, we get a prescription; if we feel depressed or anxious, we drink a bottle of wine or take a tranquilizer.

However, the reason those things are showing up is to tell you something. Your body may be telling or even screaming at you that something is not working. What we really need to do is pause and identify the “why” behind the symptoms we are experiencing.

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These often relate to us being off track from our true selves and what works best for us.

How to Be True to Yourself and Get Back on Track

You might, at this point, be thinking this all sounds wonderful, but how do you get back on track? Some of you might even be wondering what being true to yourself even looks like any more.

Here are 10 ways to be true to you and get back on track again:

1. Identify What You Need to Thrive

One way to figure this out is to think about times in your life when you felt fantastic, otop of things, under control, in the zone.

Think about times in your life when you felt happy, fulfilled, and successful. Write them down.

Now, think about what it was about those times that made them so great. Was it the environment you were in? The people you were surrounded by? Something you were building or creating?

Maybe you had a clear picture, a plan, a purpose, or challenge?

2. Think About What Makes You Happy

What makes you feel joy or laugh? What do you love to do?

Are you doing those things? How can you live more in touch with your passions or be doing more of the things that make you happy?

3. Pinpoint What Makes You Feel Most Like You

Think about when you feel most like yourself. What makes you feel connected, grounded and centered with who you are?

Maybe it’s spending time with friends and family, or connecting with your spirituality through meditation. Maybe it’s a sense of adventure when traveling or the calmness that comes when you’re cozied up with a good book.

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What nourishes your soul at a deep level?

4. Know When You Don’t Feel Like You

In order to get back on track, you have to know you’re off track in the first place. That’s why it’s just as important to know when you don’t feel like you.

How do you know when things aren’t working for you? Think about what pulls you out of stride.

We talked before about physical and emotional symptoms that show up. What are those for you? What do you think, hear, or feel?

Notice. Pay attention to these early warning signals your mind and body are sending you.

5. Look at Your Core Values

Do you know what’s most important to you? How can you reprioritize and put those things first? If one of your core values is family, how can you live that more?

Can you stop working extra hours at work in order to have more time with your kids? Can you plan a weekly date night with your spouse?

 

If you need help finding your values, check out this article.

6. Use Your Talents

What are the innate strengths or talents that you could be using more? Are you amazing at solving problems, listening to friends, or cooking healthy, wholesome food? Where can you use that talent now?

7. Connect With Your Purpose

Some people are very clear about their purpose, while others are still searching. I know this is a big one.

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Even if you aren’t clear on what your purpose is, are you living each day with purpose? Or do you get off track by distractions, expectations, or life[3]?

If you get off track, find your purpose.

    8. Focus on Taking Care of All of You

    Get back to basics with healthy eating and living. Focus on your overall wellness, and take care of your body.

    Does that mean you need to exercise more? Sleep more? Mediate more often?

    I’m a big advocate of a healthy body. While I believe this piece is important, it’s also important to note that you could work days and years on your health, nutrition, hydration, etc, but if you don’t take a step back and look at the energetic pieces of you, you’re not going to make much progress.

    9. Rediscover What You Loved to Do Before Things Got so Busy

    Was it hiking outdoors? Being with friends? Sitting in the library reading a good book? Doing absolutely nothing at all?

    Try making more time for these things now.

    10. Let Go

    Let go of the expectations of others and the way you “should” do things. Let go of who you are trying to be and, instead, try being you.

    We try so hard to please, to meet expectations, to make others happy, or to fit in. Much about being true to you is about what you let go of as much as what you hold on to.

    The Bottom Line

    As you might imagine, you don’t have to do all 10 of these to get back on track. Just one step in the right direction will start to lead you home.

    How do you know which one to start with? Like the magnet, see which ones attract you. Which one of these resonated most with you?

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    If you’re not sure, read them again, and see which one(s) have that magnetic pull. Your core self knows which one of these is the next right thing to focus on for you.

    More Tips to Help You Get Back on Track

    Featured photo credit: Eye for Ebony via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Tracy Kennedy

    Lifehack's Personal Development Expert, a results-driven coach dedicated to helping people achieve greater levels of happiness and success.

    12 Proven Ways To Increase Your Intellectual Wellness How to Build Self-Esteem: A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power How to Build Self Discipline to Excel in Life 10 Powerful Ways to Be More Confident 10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When Feeling Stuck

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

    How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary
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    When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

    With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

    Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

    By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

    So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

    From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

    “Attitude is Tattoo”

    Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

    If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

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    Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

    Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

    It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

    When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

    Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

    Believe You Can Do It

    Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

    It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

    Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.

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    Learn how to boost your confidence: How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

    Embrace Failure

    Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

    Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

    Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

    Start Making the Change

    But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

    Why is that?

    Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

    It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.

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    So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

    Write down What You Want to Change

    Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

    Tell a Friend and Talk About It

    Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

    When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

    Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

    Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

    Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

    Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

    You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

    As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.

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    Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

    Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

    When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

    Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

    Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

    Final Thoughts

    You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

    The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

    More Tips for Strengthening Your Resilience

    Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

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