Throughout life, it seems people inevitably find themselves “stuck” at one time or another. They might feel they’re not making progress in their lives, they’re not sure how to get where they’re going, or they’re just not sure they we want. Moving beyond that is what this week’s Q&A post is all about.
I love your classes. I learned a lot about myself and started making changes in my life. The problem is that I sometimes get stuck and feel myself sliding back into old habits. What can I do when I feel stuck?
That’s a great question and it’s a key issue to deal with when making changes in your life, whether those changes are at home or at work.
Here are 5 great ways to get unstuck:
1. Give yourself a break.
People are so often their own worst critics that as soon as something goes differently than they expected, their minds start racing with negativity. “I knew I couldn’t do it.” “I’m not good at anything.” These kinds of statements are so harsh. The more you say them to yourself, the more you’ll start to believe they’re true, and they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Be gentler with yourself.
Also, family and friends can reinforce negativity and pessimism. “I knew you wouldn’t do it.” “You’ve never stuck to anything in your life!” Don’t listen too much to people around you. Believe in yourself, not in others’ opinions of you.
2. Understand the normal flow of life.
Life is a series of steps forward, steps back, and plateaus. When you understand this, it becomes much easier to deal with falling back momentarily into old habits. It simply means you haven’t yet cemented the new habit in place. Sliding back into old habits in and of itself is not a problem; it’s how you respond to doing it that will determine your future progress.
3. Review your goals.
Sometimes you slip back into old habits because you forgot where you’re heading. And since you’re heading to a new place, you have to keep checking your map to make sure you’re not off course. If you are, we make the correction and keep going. Ask yourself, “Am I clear about where I’m headed?”
4. Review your progress.
Whether it’s losing weight, staying organized, or trying to be a better friend, you can set time aside every week to see how well you did. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but to make it real, you have to schedule it like any other important meeting and put it on your calendar.
5. Create mechanisms to stay on course.
There are lots of different ways to stay on course or correct it when you stray. One of the most effective ways is to have a friend or even accountability coach to work with. Having to report to someone makes your goals more serious and helps you get back on track so much faster than you would otherwise. It must be someone who understands what you’re trying to do and isn’t eager to wag their judgmental finger at you. Ideally, it’s someone who has been through what you’re going through.
When you try to change habits by focusing on the negative, on the areas where you haven’t done well enough, you end up beating yourself up for falling down. When changing habits, the issue is not about falling down—everyone does it. Your challenge is to create ways to help yourself get back up when you do.