The need to get movingPosted: January 8, 2006
“If a man would move the world, he must first move himself.” –Socrates
Just when I was sitting here wondering why I can’t open my work in progress, wondering why I was stuck, I get my latest Cheryl Richardson Newsletter in the e-mail box. Weird how things work, huh? Make sure you visit her website for more inspiration!
I’d like to share the main points of today’s message with you:
As this New Year begins, I’ve spent some time over the weekend reading through the emails I’ve received from people who are anxious to make changes in the new year. There are so many great ideas, big dreams, andexciting goals for the future. And, it seems that many people feel stuckand unable to get motivated into action. As I review the various life circumstances, I’ve noticed a few themes that hold a clue as to what prevents us from moving forward. Based on this info, I thought I’d share a few strategies for getting unstuck.
First of all, it’s important to remember that the thing you need to do most in preparation for getting unstuck is the opposite of what most people do — you need to stop beating yourself up and instead, give yourself a break. Yup, that means being kind to yourself in spite of your stuckness. It means accepting your feelings of hopelessness so you can stop using so much precious energy trying to push these feelings away. Getting unstuck means embracing the total you — the person with good intentions, the one who takes action now and then, and the one who keeps tripping you up. The message is simple: Don’t resist your stuckness —
it only keeps you stuck :).
The trick to getting unstuck then lies in three behavior changes:
1. Take back your power. One of the biggest mistakes we make when feeling stuck is telling ourselves that our inability to move forward is due solely to outside circumstances — a lack of money, too many problems, or the influence of other people, for example. All of us will be faced with real-life challenges. That’s a fact. But our place of power always lies in the recognition that we have choices. They may be tough choices like selling a home to relieve financial pressure or walking
away from an abusive relationship to reclaim our self-esteem, but never
mistake tough choices with having no choice at all. You always have choices.
Too often we find comfort in a place of helplessness because it provides an excuse for why things are the way they are. But, holding this position will ultimately be the curse that takes you down. To turn this tendency around, stop right now and consider one area you really want to change. Ask yourself the following question: “What choices do I have in this situation?” Then pick one and do something about it.
2. Manage your mind. Feeling stuck is first and foremost fueled by our state of mind — the thoughts we think from moment to moment. When we feel unmotivated, it’s because we’re thinking unmotivated thoughts. When we feel trapped, it’s because we consistently tell ourselves that there are no options. When we feel hopeless, there’s a good chance that the mantra running through our mind is something like: “Why bother?”
So, the key to turning this self-defeating habit around is to take control of your thoughts. Easier said than done, I know. Rather than offer an elaborate process for doing so, try this simple technique. For one whole week, take a tip from my sister Michelle who instills the following message in her kids, and repeat this phrase throughout the day:
I CAN DO ANYTHING!
Regardless of whether or not you believe it or whether it seems rational, do it anyway. Say it to yourself when you first wake up, repeat it in your mind while brushing your teeth, sing it to yourself while driving to work or getting the kids ready for school. Then, keep at it through lunch and dinner, all the way up to when you fall asleep. Just keep telling yourself that you can do anything and notice how your mood and perspective shifts.
3. Keep good company. Every successful person I’ve ever spent time with has emphasized the importance of having highly motivated people around them. As a matter of fact, just this morning as I watched Queen Latifah on The Actor’s Studio talk about how to stay motivated while building an acting career, her first response was just that: “Surround yourself with motivated people who are just as committed as you.”
People who feel stuck tend to associate with people who like to commiserate about the unfairness of the world. This is a recipe for disaster — you all stay stuck together. Find people who are up to something big and feel excited about life, and spend your time with them. If you don’t have anyone, consider joining or starting a Life Makeover Group. It’s free and it’s a great way to meet like-minded new friends. You’ll find more info here:
Finally, if you’re really ready to move forward, get help. Remember that any anxiety you feel about being stuck is simply related to inaction. The first step toward getting unstuck is making a move. Hate your job? Contact a recruiter or job counselor today and find out how to start a job change. Faced with financial pressure? Call your accountant, financial planner, or credit counseling service and ask for help in putting a recovery plan in place. Are you going to fail along the way? Of course. Will you lose motivation now and then? You can bet on it. But the key is to get started. Getting unstuck is only one tiny step away from where you are right this minute. You just need to move your feet!
~*~ Take Action Challenge ~*~
1. Choose one area of your life that you’d like to change and identify three choices you do have available to you right now. If you can’t come up with any, ask a friend for help.
2. Create a new screensaver that marches the words “I CAN DO ANYTHING!” across your screen. If you’re not sure how to do this then let your first action step be requesting help from someone who knows how :).
3. Pick up the phone and schedule lunch, dinner, tea, or a telephone catch-up conversation with a highly motivated friend who will support you in your New Year quest for positive change. Ask him or her for help in creating a simple 5-step action plan.