Life gets busier and we feel like hamsters on wheels, endlessly trying to keep up with all the tasks, obligations, work, activities, appointments, not to mention the necessity of earning a living and looking after other people. Why do we feel so stuck? Why can’t we change our lives? Well, I’m stuck and I want to change my life too.
Guess what? It is possible to make significant changes, and the first thing to know is that you got yourself stuck and you can get yourself unstuck.
Identifying the Problems… And the Good Bits
Sit back and take a cool, hard look at your life. Make two lists, the first headed up, “Where is it all going wrong?”, the second, “Where is it all going right?” I bet your second list is a lot longer than the first. If it isn’t, then don’t worry; there are ways to turn those ‘wrongs’ into ‘rights’. Hopefully, these lists help you to form a picture of your life and maybe, perhaps it’s not as bad as it feels.
Plus and Minus
Richard Dotts, in his book “What To Do When You Are Stuck” says there is always one thing you can add, or one thing you can take away, which will instantly improve your life. In fact he says it applies to every situation and that it need not be anything difficult or problematical. So take one problem or situation and play with it. What could you add to it that would help? For example, let’s say you have to take care of an elderly parent or a child. What could be added? One hour a week’s care given by someone else? Would that help you? What could you subtract from the situation? Something you always do but could drop because it wouldn’t make a great deal of difference overall? Could be not ironing the sheets, or perhaps combining laundry loads. Taking one thing away is one less thing to worry about.
You could do this exercise with each problematical life challenge and discover instant improvement. Look for unproductive activities that offer little reward. How could you delegate or stop doing them? As soon as you put your ideas into practice, you’ve created some breathing space around the issue. You’ll feel lighter and more relaxed.
Apply the same principle to the way you spend your time. Do you find that your activities are all bunched up at each end of the day? Check out how much time you are spending on the internet and social media. Actually add up the time you spend. You could find an extra hour of time in there, and still get to keep up with your favorite online hangouts. Do you engage in mind-numbing activities? FaceBook games maybe, watching soaps or funny kitty videos on Youtube? Imagine what you could do with that extra hour.
Want to Change? What Would You Do?
If you could choose how to spend the next year, what would you do? If money was no object but you still had to fill your time with meaningful activities? Just as important is what would you not do? What current activities would you jettison, if you could?
So what’s stopping you taking the first tentative step? Are you waiting for something? For the time to be ‘right’. For an opportunity to show up? For someone to tell you where to begin? None of those are likely to happen – you have to make that move yourself. What’s the first tiny thing you could do to move toward what you want? Identify it. Stop reading, and do it now.
What Are You Afraid Of?
Fear can keep people stuck. We’re all guilty of it at some point. Would you rather fail because you tried, or would you prefer to feel regret because you didn’t try? Remember that every time you fail, or get rejected, you are one step closer to success. It might help if you explore the very worst that could happen if you took a risk and started your New Thing tomorrow. Put your fear into words. Then do the same with “What’s the best that could happen?”
Waiting For Inspiration?
Are you waiting for the right idea? The right circumstance? The perfect photo opportunity? Perfect sunset? Wait no longer. Work with what you have. Let’s say you want to be an artist, or at least have a try at creating a drawing. Stop waiting, pick up your pencil and draw your own foot. Been wanting to create a website? Go start a WordPress blog. Write a short story? Pick up the nearest book, open it at a random page, close your eyes and place your finger on a word. There’s the first word or even the first sentence of your story. Never mind if you later delete it – it’s a starting point. Remember you can’t edit and polish unless you’ve filled a page full of writing first. A blank page is just that… empty. And that goes for many other skills in life; you can’t improve unless you make some mistakes.
Same Old Routine
There’s nothing that makes you feel more stuck than following the same old routine. Or perhaps that is not true? Maybe the lack of routine is keeping you stuck? Or you include too many time-wasting activities into your current one? Create a brand new routine starting with getting out of bed, having breakfast, exercising, showering, etc. Build a framework for your day. Rather than constraining you, you’ll find the opposite will happen. If you know what you need to be doing during the next half hour, then do it. Let procrastination be gone. No-one says you have to be busy constantly, but if you get those boring mundane necessities out of the way, you free up huge chunks of time to be more creative.
If you really want to change your life, get a routine.
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