4 Essential Steps To Push You Ahead of the Pack
Image Credit | clairsmith

Just like you, a lot of folks start the process of becoming a better version of themselves. And just like you, they can get some momentum going when things are happening as planned. 

But then, all of a sudden, something pops up to disturb their routine. Now they are faced with a dilemma. Are they going to let their habits slide for the moment and get back to them once their routine gets normal again? Or are they going to push through and keep moving despite getting shaken up? Most people bail, intending to get back to it, but just never quite do. Are you most people?


Are cupcakes, Amazon, and binge watching Netflix, the solution?

When something happens in our lives to throw us off course our first reaction is to look for happiness, comfort, or distraction in the quickest and easiest way possible. That’s probably going to mean buying stuff, eating crap, sleeping in and skipping a workout, watching TV, or whatever your short-term pleasure of choice may be.

While seeking short-term pleasure in the face of a bad day is not the worst thing in the world, unless you are extremely diligent, it can become a problem. Pretty quickly it can move from a one-time thing, to a habit. The problem with that is, it is a habit that doesn’t do anything to keep you headed towards your goals. In fact, it is likely counter-productive.


The super bouncy ball bounces back

There is another response you can have to the bump in the road. You can practice resilience. And the bump in the road will actually be a huge opportunity. If you practice resilience by sticking to your habits, even on your bad days, you cement your good habits.  If you can keep them when things go sideways, then keeping them when things are going well will be easy peasy. So having a bad day every now and then to let you get a little resilience practice in is actually a good thing. Each time you practice, being resilient gets easier and easier. But how do you do it?


Gever-Tulley quotes

Here are the 4 steps you should take each time you feel like your good habits are on the brink of being derailed:


Step 1: You’re not going to ride a unicorn home on a rainbow highway

No matter what you do, something will eventually screw up your routine. All too often we go through life assuming that the best-case scenario will be our reality forever. But it’s not true. There’s going to be some worst-case days, or at least not best case. If you prepare yourself for them by accepting that they will occur and that you will have to show some resilience to keep moving, then you are in a position to do just that.

If you live in La-La-land, assuming everything is going to be rainbows and unicorns each and every day, when it doesn’t work out, you are going to be hard pressed to respond in a resilient way. So don’t do that. Recognize that there will be a day where keeping your habit is going to be harder than it is on most days, and make the decision to do it anyway, before you are faced with the challenge.


Step 2: Watch out for falling boulders

If you don’t recognize that something is going awry with your normal routine and that it is threatening to disrupt whatever good habits you are trying to keep up, you can’t respond to it. Instead, you will fall into bad habits without being completely aware it’s happening. And once you finally recognize it and decide that you need to do something, it will be much harder to force yourself back to your path. So be diligent.

Whenever you feel yourself slipping (skipping a workout, pushing off that meditation, telling yourself you will write your gratitudes in your journal later) ask yourself what is going on? Why today? What’s going on with my schedule? Where is my head at? Did someone do something to piss me off, make me sad or disappointed?Once you recognize the outside force that is intruding on your habits, you can then move to preventing it from negatively impacting your long-term goals.

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” – Benjamin Franklin

Step 3: Blessing or curse, you’re going to have to respond

You can think of your problem as a disaster and be a victim, or you can look at it as an opportunity to practice resilience and grow. Choose to see it as an opportunity. To make sure you do, be thankful for the opportunity. I mean this literally. Thank whatever is testing you, for giving you this chance to practice resilience.  Do it out loud. If you made it to this step, you are way ahead of the game and you should be thankful that you were given an opportunity to practice your ability to stay on task in the face of a challenge.

So, say so out loud. Turn what could be a negative into a positive by just reframing it. The reality is this, building resilience is something you should strive for. It should be a habit on its own because having the habit of resilience makes creating all the other habits you want possible. Without it, you are destined to a start and stop cycle of habit forming that will likely get you nowhere. And the only way to create the habit of resilience is to practice it. So be thankful for that opportunity.


Step 4: Just do it

Nike was on to something. And yes, it is that simple. But without the first three steps, just doing it is a daunting thing that likely won’t get done. However, after you have gotten yourself mentally prepared through steps 1-3, the only thing left to do is to put your head down and do it even though it’s hard. You won’t feel like doing it. But, you have to do it anyway. Just act like you feel like doing it. Ask yourself, what would you do if things were going fine? Do that, even though things aren’t.

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson


Making sure you stay on task when it feels like the world is moving to make it more difficult is hard. But if you can do it, you will feel great, and you will be exponentially more likely to keep moving, because you did so even when it was hard. If you use Steps 1-4, you can absolutely do it. You can be resilient and you can push through when most people quit. And that will separate you from virtually everyone else.

Let’s get started, take Step 1 now by posting in the comments below the last time you tried to start a habit but it got derailed by some outside force that upset the applecart on you!


  1. I really enjoyed reading this article and will share it because it there’s so much great stuff on there. Trying to find time inbetween family and being a corporate director, to work on my website and getting the message out there is always tough. I try and put aside Sunday evenings to ‘be creative’. But when I get dereailed, and it does happen, the thing I try and do is not beat myself up about it too much. It’s easy to be hard on yourself. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Totally agree Marquita, and thanks for sharing your great story! Congratulations!

    That “middle mile” really is the hard part. I love that term. It really is apt.

    In the “middle mile” there is no initial excitement, and no light at the end of the tunnel in site. It can feel very lonely, and very much like running in knee deep mud. But, the beauty is, everyone else runs in to too, so if you can push through, you are already part of an elite group, which your story beautifully demonstrates!


  3. This is really so amazing Craig,
    I’m indeed moved. You just boosted my spirit and strength. We often let small hurdles stand on our way towards moving on with our habits but if we can stay focused and practice resilience in every situation then, we will always be a success.

    This is really a very wonderful article Craig and i will put the tips to practice.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Nice one, Craig!

    I think that persistence is the ability to put the same effort in a task no matter our circumstances.

    It’s the ability to put our emotions aside, and keep moving forward.

    You are right, we should always be prepared for hard times, but it is important to focus and to stay positive.

    As Wiz Khalifa said; “Worrying is stupid, it’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain”

    I know, a very unlikely source, but a great advice.

    Thanks for the inspiration, and keep them coming!

    Heitem Ak

    • Thanks Heitem, there’s a lot more wisdom in hip hop than most people think.

      I love being positive, just not oblivious. The positivity I’m talking about is believing that you will find a way to overcome whatever happens, not believing nothing bad is going to happen. It’s a somewhat fine line, but an important one I think.

  5. This is great advice. I find myself periodically going in and out small failures. However I won’t give up and will continue pushing ahead. Thank you for providing such great perspective.

  6. Excellent advice though I don’t have a stumble story to share. Truth is I’ve always been tenacious. I once set a goal to go from being an executive secretary in a hotel to get a job in international sales. My application for the company’s executive training program was denied 8 times because I didn’t have a college degree, but I kept pushing and was finally given a shot. They made me work full time while going through the training but I did it and completed the 12 month program in 10 months, got my job and went on to move up the ladder and eventually take over sales and marketing.

    My point in sharing that is I think one of the biggest challenges for many people is they fail to grasp that most worthwhile initiatives we undertake will inevitably be a little harder and take longer than we expect at the beginning so getting to the point where you can effectively push through what I call the “middle mile” makes all the difference. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thanks Marquita, what an awesome story and success! Congratulations!

      I love the “middle mile” term. It is so apt.

      The hardest part is when the excitement of beginning has worn off and the light at the end of the tunnel is no where in site, the “middle mile.” It often feels like running through knee deep mud.

      But as your story so brilliantly shows, when you are able and willing to push through, you are almost destined to succeed because most, if not all, of your competition is still stuck in that “middle mile” or has given up completely.


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