Crawl. You don’t even have to take a baby step. If there’s something you’ve been putting off, refresh your memory of what you need to do. Procrastination is making you feel more stuck than you are, because each time you put something off you’re convincing yourself you’re not capable of doing it. Instead of hesitating to start something because you want it to be perfect, just experiment. There’s less pressure and it’s more enjoyable.
Action tips: Tell yourself that if you get “X” done, you’ll give yourself a small reward. Make “X” super attainable. Think of the smallest step you can take to move forward and do it. Remind yourself that you’re just brainstorming, and nothing is permanent.
Reject your excuses and double check your dependencies. When excuses are overflowing, it’s easy to drown. Recognize that the countless reasons to not get started are only getting in your way, which means you’re getting in your own way. Then, check to see if you’re relying on something to reaffirm that it’s “too much” for you to handle or you can’t rise to the occasion. Start to notice if a similar excuse keeps popping up and recognize that it’s become an unhealthy crutch that stalls your growth.
Action tip: When an excuse (or twenty) comes to mind, don’t fuel it and allow it to grow stronger. Making excuses is human but letting them rule your life is your own decision. Wipe them away by counteracting your excuse with a stronger reason of why it’s important to start now.
Talk about it. You’re hiding in your silence. You’re hiding in other actions that are really a representation of you being stuck and you don’t even realize it. Bring attention to what’s going on by becoming self-aware. You can talk with someone else or yourself. Either way, talking out loud gets you out of your thoughts and reconnects you to the truth.
Action tips: Bluntly admit to yourself and/or someone else what is going on. Set a timer on your phone to really explore the issue – whether it’s 5, 20, or 40 minutes. Sit with what is going on. If it scares you to do this, start with writing it down and build your way up to actually talking about it.
Pick up the shovel and dig. What is happening that makes you feel stuck? Why do you feel stagnant in this moment? There’s more to the story. If your subconscious is shy, that’s normal. Be persistent and dig deeper – even if it feels tedious.
Action tips: Here’s the tricky part, don’t use this as a chance to negatively judge yourself. Dig deeper without criticizing yourself for feeling stuck. When you ask yourself the hard-hitting questions to explore the core of the issue, allow kindness to be part of the process. Don’t know where to start? Go basic. Who/What/Where/When/Why/How. Writing it out will help you explore the issue.
Get out of the environment that feels like nails on a chalkboard. Nothing is being accomplished when everything feels against you and aggravation and annoyance dominate the room. Get some fresh air and fresh eyes by focusing your attention on something else for a calculated amount of time. It sounds counterproductive, but this is where you give yourself permission to take a well-deserved breath and come back feeling refreshed.
Action tips: Go to the park and plug your headphones in, do a walking meditation, go to a coffee shop and enjoy the flavor of your favorite beverage, take a drive with music blaring. What helps you process a situation and cope with what’s going on is different from the person next to you. Focus on what you need to do to allow space to breathe and get out of your own head. Set a time limit of 30 minutes to an hour so you can get back to focusing on what’s important.
Reject the inspiration myth that is blinding you. You can’t wait for an ‘a-ha’ moment to begin. Even when it feels impossible to motivate yourself, there’s a way. It’s important to recognize inspiration isn’t always effortless. You have to find it or make it. Put yourself in the position to be inspired, not tired.
Action tips: Inspiration is literally everywhere – no exaggeration. Look up inspirational quotes, let the shape of the clouds inspire you, read a passage of your favorite book, gaze at illustrations, listen to a moving song, etc. If nothing works, keep trying. Write, draw, research, play an instrument, stretch your body…start small with something you already feel confident with and naturally experience the motivation that comes from that.
Remind yourself that you’re human and things like this often happen because of expectations. There’s nothing wrong with you. You are not powerless over your situation. Forgive yourself for suffocating your potential with pressure – either internal or external – and decide what’s best for you to move forward. Don’t try to do things you think you “should” do because they work for people who have been successful. Everyone is different.
Action tip: Take note of your individuality. Maybe you need an accountability partner to encourage you, or maybe you naturally resist outer expectations.