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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

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?

    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.

    How to Build Self-Esteem: A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power 12 Proven Ways To Increase Your Intellectual Wellness 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

    Trending in Positive Thinking

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    11 Positive Thoughts for Your Everyday Motivation

    11 Positive Thoughts for Your Everyday Motivation

    The power of positive thoughts cannot be denied, even though sometimes it can seem a little like a cliché when you hear people talking about it. Well, I’m here to tell you that cliché or not, the mental and physical benefits of thinking positively are a proven way to give you more confidence, improve your self-esteem, give you motivation, and generally put you in a better mood. Thinking of at least one positive thought every day can have significant benefits for you.

    Some scientific studies even suggest that thinking positively can reduce the likelihood of health conditions, like depression, hypertension, and a variety of other stress-related disorders.

    This sounds amazing, but what does it really mean to think positively?

    Positive thinking isn’t about finding your inner smile. Many people rarely have what they would consider joyous inner thoughts but that doesn’t mean they can’t be content with themselves and their life.

    Positive thinking (thinking of positive thoughts every day) is more about finding the positive imagery in your life and viewing things through more optimistic eyes, especially if you’ve got yourself into a rut of seeing things negatively.

    The biggest problem with positive thoughts is that they wear off quickly and things like rejection, negative experiences, setbacks, and heartbreak can soon put you into a downward spiral that gets you back into that negative funk you hate.

    And, let’s be honest, being in a negative funk is a sure-fire way to strip your motivation and leave you unable to perform at the levels you know you can. If you’re looking for an instant way to boost your motivation, join the free Fast-Track Class – Activate Your Motivation. It’s a free intensive session that can help you identify your inner drive and build a sustinable motivation engine. You can sign up for the free session here.

    So, how do you keep yourself positive in a world that seems hell-bent on bringing you down? Well, with the right routine of positive thoughts you can ensure that you wake up every day feeling motivated and looking forward to everything life has to throw at you.

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    Here are some tips so you can start thinking of positive thoughts every day.

    1. Be Thankful You Woke up This Morning

    Not to start on a morbid note, but you woke up this morning. Some people didn’t. Don’t think of it is as a depressing morality tale, just use it to remember that you’ve won the greatest gift life has to offer – you’re alive.

    It’s so easy to dwell on the negative aspects of our lives, but we always seem to miss the most obvious positive thing we have – life itself. Take a deep breath, look outside your window, and marvel at the world around you.

    2. You Don’t Have to Listen to Haters

    There’s no doubt that some people are really mean-spirited individuals who will love to ruin your day. Well, I’m here to tell you they can’t. Not if you don’t let them.

    Ignore the haters. Dismiss their bile for what it is – vicious comments of unfulfilled people. Remind yourself that you are above them and nothing they say will bring you down.

    3. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

    I know, I know. It’s easy to say, “Don’t compare yourself with anybody else.” But at the end of the day, we all have envious thoughts when we see somebody we perceive to be more successful than we are.

    But think about it, are they really better than you and even if they are, does it even matter? By spending time being jealous you are wasting time on negative thoughts that could be spent pursuing something that makes you happy.

    4. You Must Take a Chance

    It’s easy to shy away from something that is high risk and high reward out of fear of being labeled a loser.

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    Have you ever noticed that doing so actually makes you feel worse than if you’d just taken the risk in the first place? We know that rejection feels bad and failure can weigh heavily, but regret is a far stronger emotion over time.

    Don’t hesitate if you have the chance. Go for it and tell yourself that if you fail, it’s no big deal. At least you tried.

    Perhaps the perfect example of this approach is David Goggins. We all have a lot to learn from the inspirational David Goggins story and his priceless sayings.[1]

    Goggins, considered by many to be ‘the toughest man alive’, is a retired Navy SEAL and the only person ever to complete SEAL training, the U.S. Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. He’s also one of the world’s top endurance athletes and held the Guinness World Record for pull-ups, completing 4,030 in 17 hours.

    He sounds like a ‘naturally gifted badass person’ right? But in his book, he reveals that he was actually ‘The weakest man in the world’, in his own words.

    Overcoming obesity, poverty, racism, learning disabilities, abusive violent father, he came through the other side, inspiring people to embrace suffering and struggle, to find their greatness and inner peace. He took the slim chances he had and changed his life completely.

    5. Accept That Things End

    Even the best things in life end eventually, so don’t worry about them. Don’t fret about how the good times are about to stop, just enjoy them while they last. And when they do finally end, be happy in the knowledge that something else just as good will come along.

    6. Don’t Judge Others

    This ties in with point number 2 above – you won’t like it if others judge you so don’t judge them. We know it can be difficult to refrain from labeling other people, but doing so is a sure-fire way to start descending into a negative thought spiral.

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    We all live in a world where passing judgment is tolerated, but not only is accepting people a great way to make others feel better, it’s also a fantastic way to foster positive thoughts within ourselves.

    7. Don’t do Things for Others That Make You Unhappy

    We all want to make other people happy, right? But what if the things that other people want us to do makes us unhappy?

    If you’re doing something just for the satisfaction of others, don’t. Stop it right now. Your happiness and your time should never be sacrificed for the satisfaction of someone else. You won’t be able to think of positive thoughts every day if you are unhappy in the first place.

    8. Don’t Like Your Job? Then Quit.

    Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but nothing is more certain to drain your happiness levels quicker than a job that you hate. If you spend your evenings and days off dreading returning to the office, then start to do something about it.

    We’re not talking about jeopardizing your livelihood by quitting (although the dramatic heading for this point certainly suggests so). What we mean is start to make plans and formulize an exit strategy. Nothing promotes positive thoughts more than a plan that removes something negative from your life.

    Start simple by saving up funds to make the change and circulating your CV. The first step may seem difficult, but the sense of relief it gives will improve your thought patterns immeasurably.

    It might be scary to start over at someplace new and going through a screening process that might be tedious, but once you understand that selling yourself can be easier than you think, you are halfway through.[2]

    9. Take Control of Your Mornings

    How you begin the day will set the tone for how the rest of it will go. Getting up in a panicked state is a very efficient way to kick start a negative emotional spiral. Get up bright and early, and give yourself time to prepare for the day.

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    Though some of the mind-boggling thoughts you are having when waking up can be positive for you and even mean more than you imagine, it’s better to set up a fixed positive mental routine.

    Think about the positive aspects of your life and tell yourself things like, “Today is going to be a good day” or “I’ll be amazing today.” Yeah, I know this sounds cheesy, but positive words instill positive thoughts.

    10. Focus on the Good Things in Your Life No Matter How Small

    You’re going to hit obstacles during the day. Things don’t generally run perfectly all the time. The trick is that when you encounter a challenge, don’t dwell on it and choose to focus on the positives you can find no matter how small they may seem.

    If you get stuck in a traffic jam, don’t fret about how it is slowing you down. Take positivity in the fact that you have extra time to listen to the radio station you have been enjoying. If you head to your local store and it’s out of the ingredients you need for your dinner party, buy something else and create a different food masterpiece.

    Focussing on good things is a great way to gain positive momentum in your life. The huge power of momentum is that even a series of very small things can accumulate to massive results – with the aid of momentum.

    11. Look at the Funny Side

    Even dark situations can have a humorous side if you look at them the right way. When in a dark or trying situation, remind yourself that what is happening to you will probably make a great story in the future and may even be passed on as a joke. Look for the funny side and laugh.

    Final Thoughts

    We all know that positive thoughts can be incredibly motivational but in modern life, it can be difficult to stay uplifted when the world around you seems determined to bring you down. By following some of the tips in our guide above, you could harness the power of positive thinking and find yourself starting every day motivated. So, start thinking of positive thoughts every day!

    More Tips to Start Thinking of Positive Thoughts Every Day

    Featured photo credit: Jacob Townsend via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Vision, Belief, Change: Best David Goggins Quotes
    [2] Vision, Belief, Change: Is Selling Yourself Easier Than You Thought?

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