Flat TireWe had been looking forward to that trip for months. During the long, cold, snowy winter, it had become the infamous dangling carrot – a much needed something to look forward to. On that warm, long awaited for, early summer morning, we enthusiastically piled into our family’s station wagon, stuffed in like sardines among our suitcases, pillows, blankets, and anything else we deemed critical for comfort for our long adventure.  We knew it would take two days of steady travel to reach the warm Florida sun that waited for us in the south. My sisters and I found creative ways to entertain ourselves over the miles – alphabet games with road signs, bingo with license plates, or some times we’d even “take the short cut” sleeping for several hours before waking up farther along in our journey.

We traveled for hours. And then, “it” happened.  A loud bang, a sudden jerk, and in moments we were on the shoulder of the highway, our front right tire blown, completely flat. Without missing a beat, my dedicated dad immediately set to work, unloading the mounds of belongings in the back, eventually unearthing the hidden spare tire beneath it all.

On the side of that road somewhere in the middle of North Carolina, one thing was for certain- this completely unwelcomed obstacle would not deter us from getting to Florida.  We were absolutely still going!

A flat tire was hardly a big enough obstacle to derail us from reaching our destination. It seems obvious right? There’s no way you’d get a flat tire and say “Forget it. Vacation is off, no Florida this year. We’ve got a flat tire, time to turn around and head home.”

But isn’t that exactly what we do too often in life?  We start each year with great ambition, “This is the year” – we’ll lose weight, get organized, exercise, or… fill in the blank with the “I’m-really-going-to-do-it-habit” – that we’ve already given up by the end of February. Have you been there?  Are you there now?

But, the great thing about goals – they don’t actually need a January 1st, the 1st of a month, or even next Monday for us to get on track.  We can start right where we are today, right now, even if we’re on the side of the road with a flat tire. So what do you do to get back on your path?

1. Put it in perspective. If you’ve hit an obstacle, think of it as one flat tire.  Don’t turn one flat tire into four. Make adjustments and get back on track.

2. Remind yourself of why your goal is important to you.  If you remember what makes it important, it will make the journey more worthwhile.

3. Find supportive friends or family to encourage you and help keep you accountable.

4. Celebrate your big and small successes. Much like we cheered when we crossed each new state line on our trip, celebrate your progress. It will help encourage you as you move forward.

February may be coming to an end, but it’s not too late to get back on track.  Change your flat tire, and press on.

It’s your turn – How are you doing at your goals for this year?  What will you do to get stay on track or begin anew?

Susan Call - Author

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