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When Blown Off Course, Apply the 4 A’s

When Blown Off Course, Apply the 4 A’s

You’ve been doing well and then something threw a monkey wrench into your formula for success. Make no mistake–setbacks suck. You’re right back where you started. Actually it’s worse. Because you’ve set off that part of your mind that whispers, “See, you can’t do this. Just give up. Give in. It’s not worth even trying.” This is a truly dangerous moment. Because if we listen to this voice, not only do we not change this time, but we decrease the possibility of ever changing because we lose faith in ourselves.

That’s why, when circumstances throw us off course as they inevitably will, it’s time for the 4 A’s:

1. Assess the current situation.

2. Adjust what needs to be done.

3. “Admire yourself,” in the words of fitness guru Bob Greene, “for being strong enough to start again.”

4. Act quickly to implement your new course of action.

To my mind, the most important A’s are the last two. Admiring ourselves helps us stay positive and avoid a spiral into negative self-esteem, as in “Oh see, I’m not capable of doing this right. This mess-up proves it.” It turns a mishap into an esteem boost when we remind ourselves that it takes great courage and persistence to not give up.

Acting quickly is also crucial. Otherwise, we’ll lose the energy of our commitment and slide back into our bad, old behaviors. That’s where assessment and adjustment come in. What’s non-negotiable is that you’re doing your thing. How and when you’re going to do it–that’s what’s open to all kinds of rearrangements.

Remember, even Oprah has had to pick herself up and start again on her fitness program many times, in front of millions, no less. So when blown off course, get the 4 A’s in gear. It doesn’t matter how many times you begin again. It only matters that you begin again.

Become an expert at starting over–you’ll not only make your dream come true, but increase your self-esteem, self-respect, and self-confidence.

To Try: Have you blown it yet? Put the 4A’s in place: assess, adjust, admire yourself and act quickly.

Ready to get started? Post your intent and find community support and content to help you achieve it!

In this monthlong learning series, M.J. Ryan, author of the best-selling book This Year I Will…: How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True, will take you through four steps, each lasting one week, to help you figure out what your most important intentions are and give you the tools to make each a reality. Just joining the learning series? Go here to start at the beginning. provides content and community for who you aspire to be–personally, socially and globally.

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1:04AM PDT on Jun 15, 2009


9:00PM PST on Jan 28, 2009

As I used to say when I taught dance: to do an impossible thing well, you need to practice it three times a day ;)

11:02PM PST on Jan 27, 2009

It DOES matter how many times you begin again!
There is a counter in our heads which every time reminds us: "Ha-ha! You have to start everything again!" Don't you think that the most people will give up?

2:59PM PST on Jan 27, 2009

It's true nothing sucks like suckcess!!!

2:39PM PST on Jan 27, 2009

I used to work for the AFTRA-SAG credit union, and often had to take the elevator up to AFTRA, on the top floor. Being in the office was jolting. It was designed by the guy who designed the Batman set: solid walls of flat green, red, black, and yellow, among others. The result was absolute confusion, almost desperation. A nude photo of Burt Lancanster hung on the red wall. No surprise. I wear black or dark blue most of the time, and I think of black as a mark of sophistication, not one of my qualities. I have been drawn to navy blue since ever I can recall. I think that color theory does not take in all the attributes of people who are, for some reason, drawn to a particular color.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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