“What has been happening with my life lately? I cannot get anything done!. I am overwhelmed and bored at the same time, I am not unhappy but not happy either, I feel something is missing, yet I should be grateful for everything I have”.
Is that you? It’s certainly me every once in a while. Nothing is going ahead yet I see myself stalling, wasting time, distracting myself with hours spent online (not all is bad there though!).
But point is, I feel something is not right with me. I should be pushing, providing, producing, it’s all there in my head, but somehow somewhere, the action side of me is not getting the message…sigh of frustration.
Well, allow me to say this to you, this frustration is (also) part of the human experience. Sometimes, it’s a plateau that allows new information to get digested and optimized in your brain. Sometimes, it’s a form of procrastination and self-sabotage. So which is which? You’d ask.
In the first part of the guide to getting unstuck, I examined some of the tiny or big, definitely sneaky signs that something is making hit the breaks to a standstill. The list is not over!
Follow me for this part two!
N for Not Nourishing and Not Nurturing Yourself:
If you were to guess what bad nutrition would look like…would “your body and brain on crack” be a fitting image?. Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?.
And yet, when we fill our engines with ultra-processed foods and zero nutritional value, this is what we are giving it, cheap crack.
When we read all the bad news, that only fuel our anger and get our hormones ready for the battle of the most righteously angry person, same thing.
Nutrition counts for your body, the same way your mind needs nurturing.
We know it, we mostly do good on it, but sometimes we need to be reminded of it. When our bodies are not given what they need, we become physically sluggish, we become stuck. When our brains are fed junk ideas and bad companies, same thing, not pretty…
Be a good parent to your body and to your mind. Feed them real foods, good foods, that are not only nourishing but are also nurturing. Be like the French, enjoy your wines, your pâtés, your cheeses, and your éclairs and other macarons with moderation. But truly and really enjoy each bite.
Challenge your brain with new learnings, but shield it from negativity and other Debbie Downers. Follow the pleasure principles!
O for obligations:
We all have duties, right? We might not like paying our taxes, but we do understand this the price of living in a functioning democracy. However, not everything that your boss, partner, kids, family or friends ask from you is a duty.
In fact, some requests are so downright outrageous it’s shocking that they dared asked.
But you know what’s even more crazy?
It’s when you say yes to it.
When a Sunday family lunch becomes a chore and you end up spending your Saturday cooking for it.
When an occasional favor at work done for a co-worker becomes your permanent unpaid assignment. Added bonus: when they take the credit for it!.
This is where you get stuck: People pleasing. Making everyone else happy except yourself.
We end up betraying ourselves out of fear of betraying others.
Worry not! They will get over your “no”. Heck, they will even start being more respectful of your time and your needs. You heard it before, saying a “no” to something that makes you meh is saying “yes” to you.
More importantly, cultivate a strong sense of where your boundaries start. Everybody will be more relaxed to see you smiling and enjoying your time, than when you are resentful for going all the way of “after everything I have done for you” without a “thank you” in return.
P for Procrastination:
Ha! You saw that coming, right? Procrastination, by definition, is just delaying the unavoidable. So we end up thinking about what we need to do, over and over again, commiserating about it, and spoiling our minds and thoughts with the fear of the idea of doing it.
Do you feel the pain?.
Go to the root of what you are avoiding. Sometimes, procrastination is a necessary time we need to get our creative juices flowing. It’s not all bad.
However, at some point, if you are still feeling blocked, try this: negotiate a deadline with yourself, and commit not to think about what’s bothering you until the said deadline.
And then just do it and get it over with, on to the next step!.
Q for addicted to quarreling:
Nothing frightens me as badly as haters on social media. And heaven knows that some people are specialists trolls.
This is the extreme form of “quarrelism”, but we all have a form of it.
The addiction to drama! Our brains love that. The constant love/hate relationship with those particular emotions. The looking for a fight with our partner, or for something to scare ourselves with, obsessing over the next shoe to drop.
Constantly looking for a way to get outraged is just unhealthy. Imagine what happens in your body when you are at war with the whole world. Not good, indeed!.
Don’t fall into the trap of conflict avoidance! It’s just as unhelpful as the permanent righteous anger.
Learn to harness that fire inside of you by doing something that lights your insides up instead of consuming you. Ask for what you want in a calm and logical manner. Use your emotions wisely.
R for Rut:
Yes…those old old habits that became second nature over time.
Let me pause a second: there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a routine. It’s a healthy way to automate and not having to reinvent the wheel over and over again.
Where it’s unhealthy is when it becomes a way to cling to the known and refuse any change whatsoever.
It can be detrimental in a relationship. And it can be harmful to your career.
We live in fast-paced and ever-changing environments. Innovators will win this fight, no matter what.
Getting out of any comfort zone will mean a certain degree of discomfort. Because it’s a change and it requires your whole system, body, and mind to cooperate first and to adapt second.
But there is a huge payoff at expanding said zone. It means more knowledge, more connections and by extension, fewer fears as more things enter your own realm of the “known”.
Practice doing something new every day. It could be as little as spending a few minutes on an app to learn a new language. This is already a form of change.
S for Self-Sabotaging:
All of the above and below is a form of self-sabotaging.
Why do we do that to ourselves?
Fear, again. Fear of success and fear of failure are the most common puppeteers behind this one. In practice, it’s you when you don’t have a vision for your business, your career, your life. Or not following through with your goals.
Because this would mean holding yourself accountable and what would happen if you cannot do it? what would happen if you get where you want to go?.
That one needs to be questioned over and over again. Don’t lie to yourself here.
Get to the bottom of why you are not completing what you have set yourself to do.
What does it mean for you if you were to fail? If you don’t try, you will not get anywhere, for sure. Be clear on the intentions behind your actions and question the reluctance to go forward.
T for Thinking it over and over and over:
“I think, therefore I am”, said French Philosopher René Descartes.
Overthinking will not do it, though. Running the same scenario a thousand times is not productive; analysis/paralysis is a real thing.
Due diligence and research are a 100% approved behavior. Running around in circles, not so much.
Calm down the monkey mind!
Remember the last time you were proud of a decision you made. What was your process?.
Rehearse, practice and repeat!.
U for Unforgiving:
Holding grudges, do we? Do you love living in the past? If yes, you just found a fabulous magic pill to staying in groundhog day!.
Going back again and again to that moment when you felt disrespected or victimized. Imaging all the different ways to exert revenge, calm the rage and burn all the bridges.
What a great way to stay stuck in the past without ever learning from it.
Does this person/event/ fact really deserve that much of your attention?.
If you keep repeating this event in your head, and don’t seem to be able to get out of it, it might be linked to early and sometimes unrelated trauma and will be best treated in therapy.
Otherwise, ask yourself how your reluctance to move on can be a way to hide something important from you. And decide what your next move on, forgetting, forgiving, attempting reparation…
V for thinking you are a Victim:
Blaming, finger pointing, feeling sorry for oneself. All these have a time and place. But only when they mean giving yourself a break and having some self-compassion for what you are going through at that time.
What’s unhelpful? Is to wear your status of victim as a badge of honor.
Nothing is your fault. The doctor, my partner, my friend, … told me to do it.
The result? You truly believe that the whole world is conspiring against you and you have stopped looking for a way out.
Is there anything more disempowering than that?.
The best gift you can give yourself in life is taking your part of responsibility for the situation you’re in.
Some circumstances are not your choice. But how you respond to them is.
Like for many of the stucky behaviors, blaming others is the perfect way to hide from what you know you need, but are afraid to do.
It will always be much easier to blame external circumstances than to own certain aspects of our own doing. Yet this so-called inappropriate behavior was put in place a long time ago, mostly for survival reasons. Now is a good time to decide whether you still really need it in your life.
W for not keeping your Word
How pissed off do you get when people promise something, don’t deliver, don’t tell you they will not deliver and then excuse themselves and/or make it your fault for not delivering. Right?
Why is it so upsetting? Aside from having to do it yourself, it’s also this feeling of having been disrespected. It makes the other person untrustworthy and ultimately will make them lose contracts, money, relationships, and friends.
Don’t be one of those, to begin with, please!.
Don’t promise what you know, by fact, you cannot deliver.
The only times where you could do it is when you see yourself wanting to say “no” out of fear of not being up to the task, and yet you know deep down you can make it work.
That’s the exception to the rule.
There are also times in life when you promise and discover on the way that you cannot deliver, that it is costing you your health and sanity. In that case, communicate. Explain. Renegotiate. Allow the other person to work with you to find a common solution.
As always, win/win will prevail for everyone.
X for Xanax and other addictions and numbing substances, temptations and distractions:
Let me start by saying that sometimes we need a band aid when it hurts too much. And yes, you might need allopathic medication for that.
But for most other instances, when there’s no diagnosed chemical imbalance in the brain, we are quick to reach for that substance to pop in and send ourselves into an artificial happy land.
You see where I am going. Nowhere good.
Numbing is only a delaying tactic for all the questions that you should be, and are afraid of, asking yourself.
Many substances and distractions can hide under something pretty innocent.
Food is one of the best and socially acceptable ways to do it. So are social media, work, TV. Which is your favorite?.
What are you so scared of? Is it an uncomfortable emotion? What would happen if you allowed yourself to witness the [sadness, grief, discomfort…..] in you and let it go, without masking it, without hiding from it?.
Once you become aware of how you are hiding from your own truth, you will start catching glimpses of what is behind these distractions. And address your fear in a more productive and beneficial way for you (and your wallet).
Y for YOLO, You only live once:
Meh really. When it means allowing your inner kiddo to run the show of your life regardless of consequences.
This is when words are utter and cannot be taken back. When commitments are made and forgotten; when the pleasure of instant gratification wins over any long term project.
This is also how you stay stuck in the immature part of the “carpe diem” mentality, not taking responsibility for your own actions, thinking it is your way or the highway, and complain that you are finding it difficult to get people on board with you.
Living in the present moment, go with the flow… This means finding your own path of least resistance and enjoying the ride at once.
It also means living and acting consciously.
With respect and reverence to your environment, your relationships and yourself.
When you decide what your long term vision looks like, you can then enjoy the surprises that come your way, and get to decide which are part of your bigger plan, rather than dispersing your energy and attention all over the place.
Z for being Zealous:
Can there be a more perfect way to get stuck forever than perfectionism?.
Perfectionism is the motherlode of self-inflicted suffering. When we become so attached to less than significant details, we lose the big picture, and we drown into the repetitive cycle of more and never enough. All while everyone else is now miles and miles ahead.
Know what “enough” and “good enough” means to you. In terms of money in the bank and in investments; in terms of what your deliverables are; in terms of how much of your time you want to dedicate to a person, a project, or to clean your house.
Set your own limits and hold yourself accountable for respecting your own word. And see yourself moving on to the next milestone, without regrets and with new lessons and new experiences.
Ahhh…wouldn’t it be nice if we had a vision, took a decision, immediately followed with actions, and celebrated our victories?. Just like that!.
Seems so simple, and yet why not that easy!.
Because of our brains!. They grew wired to provide solutions and somehow turned into looping “what ifs” machines, fine as a helping tool, not as the main engine for our lives.
The good news is that with awareness, patience, and practice, we can re-educate ourselves to become our best allies, and in turn, teach others how to become their own. Welcome to the new earth, everyone!