You meant to start that exercise program this morning but hit the snooze button instead. You were going to reach out to your friend for a referral and blew it off–and your thought was probably along the lines of, “He doesn’t know anyone who needs my kind of services.” You had to start on that big gnarly project but decided to scroll through Facebook instead for an hour or so. You just never seem to get unstuck. It feels like your days are quicksand and the new normal is sucking you in.
I was in that place some four years ago. I never seemed to have forward momentum. I also had an aversion to change. Most people do. I’d rather watch television all day with my free Saturday or bake the perfect loaf of bread than take on a project. I also didn’t think that I had anything to share with the world. I had just finished up my coach training with the Neuroleadership Group and I was being coached by my fellow students on a weekly basis. I had the revelation that I was stuck. With the help of my fellow coaches, I finally was unstuck. So this what I learned.
6 ways to get unstuck today:
1. You are not an impostor. Practically everyone feels like an impostor. Someone will find out that you aren’t the greatest mother, accountant, teacher, writer, or cook. This can be paralyzing. My coach was working with me recently. I felt like I wasn’t an author. She reflected back to me what the source of that limiting belief was. I realized that I had been writing for over four years, have been read in over 100 countries and had over one thousand followers. She asked me to say it. “I am an author.” I owned it. What do you need to own?
2. Path of least resistance. Figure out what the project or activity is that you need to break out of and create the path. I keep my sneakers, shorts and t-shirt in my bathroom closet. I can get up in the dark, dress and head out before my husband wakes up. If I had to turn the lights on in my bedroom and scour around for my walking garb, I likely would roll over and hit the snooze. If you want to take up the guitar again, get it out of the closet and put it in plain sight. If you want to walk during your breaks at work, take your spare sneakers to work and put them under your desk. Basically, you’re eliminating the excuses you would normally come up with. Create the path to your new goals.
3. Clear the decks. When I write or work on a project, I clear my desk of any clutter like post its, papers, books, magazines, invitations or mail. So if I’m in the middle of two projects, I put one of the projects away. It’s out of mind. This frees me up to work on what is in front of me without visual distraction. There is no excuse. I don’t end up going down some rabbit hole of “Should I go to the conference in Austin?” “I wonder what that letter is about.” “Why did I buy that book?” The only thing on my desk right now is my computer, a lamp, a glass of water and a picture of my kids. So before you get started, stash the clutter.
4. Digital sabbatical. I have not tried to go without social media and email for a day except for when I was caught in the Berkshires a month ago without power and Wi-Fi. It is really freeing to not be constantly checking for notifications. But I DO put my phone in my purse or another room when I am writing. Like right now. My email and social media on my computer is shut down. No bings, chimes or pings to bother me and veer me from my focus. About two months ago, I turned off all notifications on my phone except for text. My reasoning is that my kids and my husband typically are the ones who text me, which may end up being important. For you, it might be something else. Seeing a little red number 4 in the corner of my Facebook app used to drag me right back into opening the app to check out the latest Like. Now I do that when I am free and not trying to accomplish something. Set up Digital-Free Times.
5. Is it important? When my fellow student coach would work with me, if something wasn’t accomplished, they would ask, “Is it still important?” Say you didn’t sign up for that 5k or start going to the gym like you said you wanted to. Maybe it’s not important any more. Maybe it is. It’s still a good idea to reflect on. What is the “why” of what you are doing? What is the higher goal? I used to run in the morning because I was training for a marathon. Now I walk in the morning to just get outside, listen to a book and feel refreshed. It’s like that task you’ve moved 5 times on your task list. Is it still important? If not, delete it. If it is, do it.
6. Start. I am amazed what I can get done in 5 minutes. Before I taught Franklin Covey’s ‘5 Choices’ class, I used to procrastinate if I had five minutes before a meeting started. Now I’ll return a phone call, finish an email or make a hotel reservation. I am amazingly more productive. Any free time is an opportunity to start. At home, I will pick up a book and read a page or two or put my grocery list together. The point is, I start. If I don’t get it done before another commitment, no sweat. I’ll get back to it after the meeting is done.
I got unstuck through working with a coach. There is a perception that asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s really a sign that you are ready for forward motion. What do you want to get started on?