But What if You’re on the Wrong Track

Will Rogers, born in 1879, was a Cherokee Indian, a cowboy known for his roping skills, a movie star, a columnist and today, a legend. He was one smart guy but no boring intellectual. He spoke in simple words that everyone could understand.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

Are you sitting on the right track watching your dreams fade into obscurity? Or, are you on the wrong track, dragging your heels because you know you’re not where you want to be?

Perhaps you feel bummed out at work, yet know you’d thrive in another career better suited to your interests and inclinations?

Perhaps you’re living in the wrong environment, yet know that you’d flourish in a different type of habitat?

Perhaps you feel that your relationship is draining your energy, yet believe that if you could resolve a few issues, your energy level would soar?

If you’re on the wrong track, do consider making a change. Not an impulsive “I’m outta here” change, but a well thought out change that sits well with both your head and your heart. Take an action instead of just being miserable. Research alternative careers. Make a move. Take a course. Seek out couple counseling.

If, however, you’re on the right track but just sitting there doing squat, it’s time for you to explore the inner dynamics of your procrastination. It’s likely:

You feel helpless and frustrated. You may direct this feeling inward, concluding that something’s wrong with you.  Or, direct this feeling outward, blaming others for your situation.

You make excuses for your lack of action, believing that there’s nothing much you can do about it. You say things like, “I’m just lazy by nature.” Or, you forestall criticism by laughing or even boasting about your procrastination, ignoring what’s at stake for you.

You obsess about what you’re putting off, but still don’t take action. Obsessing may initially feel productive but sooner or later, you realize it’s like a dog chasing its tail, going round and round, getting nowhere fast.

You recognize that recurring regret keeps eating away at your capacity to attain what you want. Such regret may escalate into crippling guilt or humiliating shame that makes change seem ever more difficult.

Whether you’re on the wrong track or on the right track (but just sitting there doing squat), it’s time to take action. But what action? If it were so simple, you would have already done it. Since I don’t know your particular situation, I can’t take you by the hand and show you the way but I can offer  some helpful principles:

Know that not making a decision is a decision. If this is your modus operandi, you’re placing yourself at the mercy of others and/or at the mercy of fate. Is this your aim? Do you really want others to make decisions for you? Do you wish for fate to take its course, with no input from you? And if so, why?  

Don’t make challenges more intimidating than they really are. Challenges are a part of life; they are not potential disasters. Yes, tough tasks require time, work, effort, concentration and maybe help from others. But who said life is supposed to be easy?

First commit to a goal, then decide how to achieve it. Without a firm commitment, it’s much harder to decide what action steps to take. Hence, it’s likely that “hang-ups and bang-ups” will thwart you before you even leave the starting gate.

The more you avoid tackling a task, the larger it looms. Hence, make a promise to yourself today to take steps to expand your comfort zone. Engage in a broader range of activities.  Each activity does not have to be a major triumph. An accumulation of small workouts can create hefty muscles.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare

Linda SapadinLinda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist and success coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. To subscribe to her FREE E-newsletter, go to http://www.PsychWisdom.com. Contact her at LSapadin@DrSapadin.com

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