Whoa! What happened? You were motoring along with all your cylinders firing…and then on come the warning lights. You smell the trouble before you see it. Next thing you know, you’re on the side of the roadway. What would go through your mind at that moment?

The questions you ask yourself when you end up in the breakdown lane on the highway of success determine whether you’ll ultimately reach your intended destination. Where did that come from? Why did this happen to me?

Look. Just a bit further up the road is somebody else who has pulled over in the breakdown lane. But wait. Check it out. How did they do that? They’re pulling back out on the highway to success and rapidly gaining speed.

It has nothing to do with wheels in motion on the road. It has everything to do with the wheels in motion in your head. Certain thought patterns, especially those engaged by asking questions like the two above, will grind you to a halt. Your mindset is what determines the length of your stay in the breakdown lane.

There are 3 powerful ways to keep yourself on the move when things don’t go as planned.

1. Start Off The Day Strong

Have you ever heard the saying, “Attitude determines altitude”?

The effectiveness of your day is determined soon after you awaken in the morning. How do you spend those first few hours?

You might want to re-think how high you’ll fly today if you find yourself debating between breakfast or Facebook. And, it’s not because breakfast is important fuel for your body. That stream of social media combined with a quick peek at your email inbox starts you on a drift toward distraction.

Front load your morning instead with activities that will give you a positive mental focus. Your Facebook friends are awesome. What, though, will looking at social networks contribute to the mental preparation of your day?

Many successful people say the most valuable thing they do each morning is take 10 to 20 minutes to either meditate or write about what’s planned for the day ahead. Both accomplish the same thing. Writing is a form of meditation if you believe, as many do, that the purpose of meditation is to achieve mindfulness and focus.

2. Take Control Of What You Allow Into Your Head

Here’s the part where you’re expecting to read about how surfing YouTube and binge watching stuff on Netflix is worse than smoking cigarettes. There are scientific studies showing that nicotine has acute cognitive enhancing effects. Nicotine is completely non-addictive. It’s the tobacco that’ll hook you.

Now you’re starting to see the analogy.

Are you filling your mind with the awesome stuff? If you’re willing to agree that all those little tabloid tidbits add up to something big and awful, you understand the concept of what author Darren Handy calls The Compound Effect. Every time you decide on a wasted moment of video – or any kind of entertainment – you’ve made another decision that shapes your future. And not in a good way.

That’s either really scary or pretty powerful if you think about it. It’s scary if you realize that you won’t get back the hour you spent last night watching reality TV. What’s more, that hour wasn’t a one-off thing. Add them all up. What sort of mindset are you compounding?

You control the things that you allow into your mind. Chose to be vigilant about the information you consume.

3. Practice Gratitude

Hmmm…there’s the “G-word” again.

You’ve likely noticed that a lot of people are talking about gratitude lately. There’s an important reason. Multiple scientific studies show that an “attitude of gratitude” is a good health choice, as well as crucial to a successful mindset.

The benefits of gratitude are almost to numerous to list. Read more about them in this Huffington Post article. According to the article, “recording experiences for which one is grateful for only two consecutive weeks has lasting positive effects sustained for up to six months.”

Reviewing your day to find things for which you are grateful also helps you pick out the people and experiences you want to cultivate. The more you move away from the Why did this happen to me? Mode, the easier it is to develop a proactive, responsible attitude.

Do you meditate? We’re curious about the process. Care to share what’s worked for you? We’re practicing an attitude of gratitude by sharing a free eBook called The Successful Mindset Guidebook. It’s packed full of actionable advice on how you can develop and re-program your mind for success. Download it today, while it’s still available!