We’ve all be there, where for a few months you’re cruising along, working out right, making steady advances and losing weight. We’re finally getting on top of our nutrition plan, we’re gaining more energy and feeling great. And then something goes wrong. An injury, a weekend of fun, a vacation, a family tragedy, we lose our focus, we stop exercising, we enjoy a few tasty snacks, and before you know it two weeks have passed and we’re gaining weight once more and feeling low energy. How do you deal with this? How can you get back on track with your workout?

The first thing to do is not give up. Too many people believe that if they slide off track, they might as well go eat a hundred donuts and never exercise again, simply because they’ve already slipped once. You need to find a way to keep your eye on the long term, and no dismiss all your previous efforts simply because you made a mistake or slipped for a week.

There are several ways to get back on track. One way is the reward system. By promising yourself a tangible reward if you accomplish a week or two week’s worth of work, you can motivate yourself to get back on track. This can be as simple as treating yourself to a night out at a fancy restaurant to allowing yourself to buy something you’ve been wanting to acquire for some time. Either way, for this to work you have to be willing to hold out and wait for yourself to finish the required number of weeks.

Another great way to get back on track is to acquire an exercise buddy. Having somebody who can motivate you simply by showing up and expecting you to be ready to go can do wonders for your discipline. The only requirement here is that your exercise buddy be more disciplined than you are; if you pick somebody without motivation you will find yourself constantly encouraging them to exercise, which defeats the point.

Finally, don’t throw yourself right back into the most intense of the workouts. Instead, phase back in, and allow yourself to take an easy week before putting on the heat. This lower intensity can make it easier to get off the couch and start trying once more, so remember that it’s OK as long as you eventually ramp up the intensity to where it once was.