4 Things I Do to Get Back on the Wagon


Worry, stress and fear.

Those are the consequences of me falling off the wagon for 2 weeks.

Was I stoked while I was off the wagon? Yes! I was having a great time skiing with family and friends in British Columbia. It was awesome.

AND, there are consequences when I check out for 2 weeks and don’t do any work related marketing (and no plan to get it done).

Just like there are consequences for falling off the wagon with healthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of sleep or anything that you’ve committed to.

Ever been there?

It’s not about not allowing yourself to have fun and break out. It’s about getting back on the wagon when the time comes. I’m a big proponent of the 80/20 rule. You’re steady on the wagon 80% of the time and you let yourself fall off about 20% of the time.

In his excellent book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about never missing twice if you want to maintain positive habit changes in any area of your life.

But what happens when you do miss twice, or three times?

How do you get back on the wagon successfully?

Here are my 4 tips for getting yourself back on the wagon and in the game:

1. Acknowledge the consequences of your actions.

What is the impact of  your actions, or lack of actions on the vitality of your body and your peace of mind? If we really get present to the negative impacts there’s motivation to get back on the wagon. I don’t want to stay worried and stressed, and that motivates me to get back in the game. I’m present to the negative impacts of overeating, not getting enough sleep and not moving enough, so I choose action that gives me results I’m committed to. Next time, I hope I remember the impacts so I’ll plan effectively while I’m away and avoid the stress. 🙂 That would be smart!

2.  Don’t beat yourself up.

Beating yourself up and being down on yourself is a waste of time. I’ve been there – I admit I spend too much time being hard on myself. It doesn’t accomplish anything. It certainly doesn’t contribute to getting back on the wagon – it’s more like punishing yourself by being dragged in the dirt behind the wagon. Stop it. You’re human. You’re OK, I’m OK and we have the ability to climb back up. Better to spend energy on the climb rather than getting beatdown and dragged.

3.  Create a structure that makes it easy for you to get back on the wagon.

Schedule it on the calendar and set reminders. If you want to get back to healthy eating, plan a healthy menu for the coming week. Set an alarm for your bedtime routine. Schedule your exercise into your calendar and block that time off. Set an alarm to go off when it’s time to leave. I have newsletter scheduled into my calendar for today and I blocked off time to get it done, just like I blocked off time for a my morning yoga. Structure supports action.

4. Some folks are good at holding themselves accountable, while others benefit from an accountability partner.

Either way, be real with yourself. I go both ways. For health, wellness and ski trips to BC I’m skilled at keeping myself accountable. For work, I personally do better with an accountability partner, and that’s why I hired a business coach. An effective accountability partner is someone who will tell it like it is and call you on your s*%t. It must be someone who has earned your trust so you don’t take what they say personally, knowing that they’re following through with what you asked them to do. I also recommend someone who walks their talk 80/20. Authenticity and integrity are key in an accountability partner.

So ride the wagon, fall off once in a while – it’s good for you. Recognize the impact falling off has, but don’t punish yourself by getting dragged behind it for hours or days. Get up, dust yourself off and get back on. Hopefully the structure of the wagon is strong and you have a  hand helping you up. Enjoy all of it and keep your eye on where you want to take that wagon – or kayak or stand up paddleboard or skis or bike or company… You get the idea.