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Last Updated on September 23, 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: finda via finda.photo

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    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.

    Feeling off Track in Life? Here’s How to Stay True to Yourself how to stop being a perfectionist How to Stop Being a Perfectionist (Step-by-Step Guide) Effective Decision Making Process: How to Make Wise Decisions 10 Powerful Ways to Be More Confident How to Build Self Discipline to Excel in Life

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    Last Updated on September 23, 2020

    The Secret of Success to Achieving Anything You Want Revealed

    The Secret of Success to Achieving Anything You Want Revealed

    You’re here because you want to find a secret of success. Where’s it hiding? Why do some people seem to know all the secrets while others continue floundering?

    I’m here to tell you that there are some proven ways to achieve success and become wildly successful.

    In this article, I’ve done the heavy lifting to discover 11 secrets of success you can take to become a successful person.

    Once you follow these, you’ll not only become more successful, but you’ll be able to apply them to any goal you set for yourself.

    1. Use This Math Formula

    The psychologist Kurt Lewin summarized why we act the way we do through a simple formula, and everyone can use this formula to up their chances of walking the path to success.

    I’m simplifying his theory, but the basic equation he came up with is as follows:

    B = f(P, E) where an individual’s behavior (B) is a function (f) of the the person (P), including their history, personality and motivation, and their environment (E).

    Translated, what he surmised was:

    “Behaviour is a function of the person and his or her environment.”

    Now academic theories are great, but how does this equation help you?

    How to Apply It

    Think of it this way. When you have a really important deadline, where are you more likely to be productive? In a quiet room at your local library, or sitting on the couch with the TV on?

    The answer is going to depend on how you work best—in silence or with background noise.

    Where we are affects the way we behave, but it is all dependent on our personality.

    If you want to use this secret of success, put yourself in environments that are likely to create the behaviors you want. For example, if you want to improve your physical stamina, a gym is probably better than your bedroom. If you want to improve your spirituality, a yoga/meditation studio may be a good choice.

    2. Create Your Own Success Formula

    Have you ever started on a big goal or path and been really motivated with your secret of success, but somewhere along the line you fell off track?

    One big mistake many people make that leads to falling off track is a lack of measuring their progress.

    I used to do this a lot in the gym. I’d spend hours and hours each week making the effort to get there and work out. But I wasn’t really feeling all that good about it!

    Every time I stepped on the scale, I’d dread seeing the result. My progress was up and down, and I didn’t understand why. The fact was, I was leaving too many variables on the table. I failed to appreciate the importance of tracking.

    After working with a coach, I realized I needed to pay closer attention to my diet, workouts, and sleep. I started tracking each one carefully and quickly noticed when I was eating too much, not lifting properly, or not getting enough sleep.

    Essentially, what you measure, you manage.

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    How to Apply It

    Whatever it is you’re working towards, ask yourself: how can I track and measure my progress?

    For example, if you want to save money, track how much you are spending each week and how much you are saving. Aim to improve it by 5% each month.

    If you want to learn an instrument, record a video each week of you playing the same song. Each week watch it back to see how you have progressed. Track how many hours you practice in a log.

    3. Explore Intentions Behind Actions

    Measuring and managing your progress is important, but as one of my coaching clients once said: “In the absence of reflection, nothing changes”.

    For example, let’s say you want to eat healthily and you start tracking your diet. You soon notice that you tend to overeat on weekends.

    It’s great to track this, but what are you going to do about it? What is the deeper underlying reason that you keep behaving this way?

    When studying for my diploma in Neuro Linguistic Programming, one of the first things we learned was that every behavior has a positive intention behind it.

    We do things because they give us something in return. Uncover what those are if you want to utilize this secret of success.

    How to Apply It

    A powerful way to change unhelpful behaviors is to explore the intentions behind them. Look back and understand what is happening and what to do.

    Each week, reflect and write down what you learned, what you avoided, and what you are going to change the next week.

    Read books on self improvement, particularly in areas you wish to improve. For example, Brene Brown has great content on vulnerability.

    4. Be an Absolute Yes or No

    Is it possible that you are trying to fail instead of succeed? You may not realize it, but this may be the case.

    Often we fear committing fully to our success because we fear what it means to commit 100%.

    One powerful idea I picked up was the concept of being a very clear absolute yes or an absolute no to things. It’s a simple concept but one that creates immense clarity and saves time and effort.

    This creates space for two things to happen in your life:

    The first is to avoid anything which is heavy and a chore. The second is to leave space and time for you to give everything to the things you are an absolute yes to.

    How to Apply It

    Ask yourself honestly: What are you an absolute yes to right now? And which things are an absolute no?

    If you’re reading a book you don’t like, put it down and start reading something more useful or interesting to you. It’s okay to not finish a mediocre book!

    If you’re in a job that you really dislike, stop trying to force it and accept that it’s an absolute no. Think through what an absolute yes might be and start adjusting to make it happen.

    5. Seek Advice From People Who Know More

    The hidden secret behind many successful people is that they are not successful on their own. They have advisors, coaches, family members, and mentors all helping them along the way.

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    An unfortunate characteristic of our time is that we try to do things on our own too often. A much faster way is to seek the counsel of wise people.

    Who knows more than you? Who knows what works and doesn’t?

    To get the most out of this secret of success, find those people and ask them to share those fundamentals with you.

    How to Apply It

    For each area of your life that you wish to be successful in, come up with some ideas of who can help you along the way.

    The first thing I would recommend is to hire an accredited and professional life coach. They can help you strategize better and achieve your goals faster than you would on your own.

    Another example comes with learning a language. If you want to learn a language faster, find a native speaker to tutor you once per week for an hour. It shouldn’t cost a lot and will speed up your progress.

    6. Pick up the Right Mindset

    What do the world’s top psychologists recommend when it comes to being successful?

    It’s called a growth mindset[1].

    Carol Dweck, in her seminal work Mindset, shares countless examples of the two mindsets people generally have: a fixed or a growth mindset.

    Individuals with a fixed mindset have a generally rigid perspective on their talents and abilities. They believe that their intelligence and talent is fixed. Genetic. Unchangeable.

    Individuals with a growth mindset have an open, more hopeful perspective on their talents and capabilities. They believe that they can learn new things and improve at the areas they are weak in[2].

    Secret of success: have a growth mindset

       

      Having a growth mindset is a marker of success. By always seeking to learn, no matter the position, emotion, or outcome you have in life, you are constantly gaining insights and experience.

      Even if things don’t go as you wish, and you fail miserably, the individual with a growth mindset seeks to learn first rather than succeed or fail.

      Do you see how valuable this is? How do you stop someone who always learns and grows from any experience or setback?

      How to Apply It

      For this secret of success, focus your goals more on learning and development than simple success or failure.

      For example, if you’re fearful of public speaking, focus on how you can improve rather than be perfect at it. What can you learn? Who from?

      If you feel you are not a very confident person, focus on how you can model those who are. Every master was once a beginner. What could make you a bit more confident today?

      It’s never too late to change. Here’s the proof: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

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      7. Learn How Successful People Plan

      A vague goal leads to procrastination and overwhelm.

      By breaking your success down into clear steps and milestones, you allow yourself to celebrate the small wins along the way and feel more motivated.

      Success takes longer than we think, and this allows you stay focused along the way.

      How to Apply It

      Write your goals down and check if they are vague and general, or specific and time bound. Bring them closer to reality by setting them on a gradient. What is a clear sign of 10% progress being made?

      For example, if you want to be a successful YouTuber with 1 million subscribers, break it down. What does 5% look like? What do you need to do to achieve that? When?

      Schedule these milestones into your diary so you don’t forget. Set up reminders everywhere so it’s not left to chance.

      8. Understand the Benefits of Benevolence

      Contributing to the world in some meaningful way can make you more successful, but it can also help others become successful, so this is a great secret of success.

      And we all know that our existence is very fragile and limited. Who knows how much more time we have left?

      What are you leaving behind?

      What purpose does the money you’re making serve beyond paying the bills?

      What matters to you?

      How to Apply It

      Make a clear list on paper of causes you are interested in or care about. Research them and find some organizations or people to support.

      This could be by becoming an advisor and sharing your skills and expertise. In my company, we equip young people from low income backgrounds for life beyond the classroom. We have a group of experts on our advisory board who critique, challenge and support us. It helps us in a very meaningful way, and allows them to contribute, too.

      You could also make a monthly donation. Even something as small as $3/month does make a difference.

      9. Play Hard to Work Hard

      The fact is you do have to work hard to achieve things in life. It takes long hours of work over long periods of time.

      But wouldn’t you much rather have fun and play, like you did as a kid?

      Early in my career, I mistakenly believed I needed to work really really hard all the time to achieve success.

      This is true, but the endless “working hard” can create resistance. My to-do lists seemed never-ending. Just thinking about work drained my energy, let alone doing it.

      So I did what so many of us do: avoid, procrastinate, and delay. Until I learned this little secret: What if I replaced the word “work” and focused on “play”? There would be no hustle, just a curious human on an adventure.

      How to Apply It

      Where in your life are you making things mentally tiring and complex? How could you approach your work in a more playful and curious way?

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      For example, if you want to build productive habits like journaling everyday, how can you make it more fun? Could you use glitter and crayons? Could you treat it like an art class in school?

      10. Work Less But Do More

      Jim Rohn once said:

      “A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.”

      Basically, this means that most people focus on small, unimportant things and don’t give the majority of their energy to the larger actions that make a real difference[3].

      For this secret of success, ask yourself which actions will offer the biggest impact on you goal.

      How to Apply It

      Not all action is created equal. Review what you are doing and where you spend most of your time in trying to achieve your goals.

      For example, if you’re trying to get lean and toned, what is the number one habit that has the biggest impact on your success?

      If you’re trying to build a positive culture in your workplace, what simple thing can you do that has the greatest success?

      11. Focus on Process, Not End Results

      What if I told you success actually isn’t what you should aim for, but something else instead?

      We focus on the success we want, and these things are important: building a business, becoming healthier, more fulfilled, more positive, etc.

      However, these end outcomes will only keep us happy for so long. These things are not where your real value and growth lie.

      By focusing on the end results, we dampen our efforts and become trapped in a fixed mindset of succeeding or failing. It sets you up for a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.

      Instead, what the world’s top performers realize is that it’s much better to focus on the quantity and repetitions, not the outcomes.

      Writing 1 book every year is more important than the perfect bestselling book. Making 100 cold calls every day to your target customers is more important than the perfect pitch.

      How to Apply It

      Instead of trying to craft the perfect habit or result, focus on improving the process that creates those outcomes.

      For example, if you want to become a great midfielder in soccer, focus on improving your skills and technique every day instead of dreaming about the perfect high paid contract.

      If you want to launch an acclaimed business, focus on creating the small viable product and selling to 1,000 customers first instead of trying to craft the perfect product no one really wants.

      Final Thoughts

      Choosing one secret of success to get your started will make it easier to achieve your short and long term goals.

      Follow these steps, practice them every day, and measure your progress. Gradually, you’ll get closer to success in anything you want.

      More on the Secret of Success

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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