My grandmother used to say, “Just because you’re moving doesn’t mean that you’re going anywhere.” She then remarked, as she was sitting in a rocking chair, “You see, I’m in motion, but my position isn’t changing.” That is often the case for most individuals who find themselves dissatisfied in the workplace or their home lives. They are “doing things” but not accomplishing goals that enable them to move forward. Do you wonder why it is that our lives rarely change, even when we’re miserable?
The answer may very well lie in the way we think. In fact, it’s proven that there are effective forces within our minds that conspire to keep us stuck—so much so that we don’t even realize it’s happening.
If you sometimes feel like you’re running in mud, discover these reasons why you may be in a rut and what you can do to get unstuck:
RUT 1: You’re uncertain about what you want. Indecisiveness is a major factor affecting individuals’ ability to achieve success. If you think you might like to be a psychologist but also think becoming a writer sounds interesting, you’re stuck. At some point, it’s necessary to make a clear decision and set a goal. Begin by answering these questions to identify your talents and interests:
What are your natural gifts and abilities?
What would you do if money weren’t an option?
What books, shows, or music do you most enjoy?
What are you passionate about?
RUT 2: You lack knowledge necessary to make a change. You might know that you need to be more confident, but you might also lack the knowledge of how to develop confidence. Figure out the skills needed for you to realize the change you desire in your life. This may involve additional training, developing new professional relationships, volunteering, or even taking a lower-paying job. Then create and implement a plan to achieve success. Change is not about being perfect; it’s all about effort.
RUT 3: You lack willpower or fail to use it effectively. Willpower is limited, but it’s great for creating new habits and behavioral patterns. Sticking with a task after the urge to quit surfaces can develop willpower. Implement these exercises to increase your self-control:
Eliminate as many choices as possible. We all have a finite store of mental energy for exercising self-control. The more choices we make during the day, the harder each one is on our brain. Therefore, making fewer choices helps us make smarter choices.
Make choices in advance. It’s easier to make smart choices when a decision isn’t right in front of you. For example, decide now what you’ll have for breakfast tomorrow. Or determine now what you will do tomorrow to increase your productivity. It’s important to conserve your mental energy for the decisions that really matter.
Do the hardest thing you need to do first. You have the greatest amount of mental energy early in the morning. Decide what those things are and tackle them before anything else.
Use your willpower to develop small habits that can grow into useful routines.
RUT 4: You can’t deal with being uncomfortable. Anxiety, nervousness, and fear are great for preventing you from jumping off a ten-story building. But they are barriers when it comes to getting unstuck. It’s often said that the only constant in life is change. To overcome limiting beliefs try these techniques:
Consider the “harm” and the opportunities associated with the change. For example, you won’t die from giving a speech. But you can improve your professional presence by doing so. Use the logical part of your brain to override your primitive instincts.
Implement stress relievers to lower your levels of discomfort. Meditation, prayer, and exercising are a few that can be beneficial.
Break down tasks into manageable chunks. It’s important to see the big picture, but you don’t have to do everything at once. Start small and push through your discomfort. Your ability to handle the bigger and scarier situations will grow with experience.
RUT 5: You give up too quickly. Most people don’t achieve change because they drop out before they graduate to the next level of success. Change not only takes effort, but it takes time to see the fruits of your labor. Most likely, 80 percent of the change you seek won’t reveal itself until at least 80 percent of the work is done. Although your early efforts show little results, recognize the things that are happening behind the scenes. Perseverance is the key to realizing meaningful change.
To change your life, change your priorities and understand the roadblocks preventing you from moving forward. Many people live like a feather blowing in the wind, never having a true direction. It’s important to choose your destination. Leaving things to chance is choosing not to use your power. Set new goals and reinforce them. Each day, rewrite your goal and imagine how you’ll feel when you accomplish it. They’ll become a priority over all the other noise in your head. And eventually you will enhance your ability to bring about fulfillment.
You have everything within to have an AMAZING life and career. All things are possible! Just keep going!