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Stuck in a Rut?
Look at the steps below - one of them just may give you the inspiration - or kick in the butt - to break this cycle and start you down a happier path.
If you can't get started because the task overwhelms you, break it down into small, manageable bites. You don't have to solve the problems of the world in 5 minutes. Take it one step at a time.
For example, job hunting - that most terrifying of activities. Today's goal is simply to find your resume. Once that's done, relax and give yourself permission to enjoy the rest of the day! Tomorrow, you look up a name and number. The next day, you work on your resume for fifteen minutes. A day later, you call the number you looked up. And so on.
At the end of a week, make a list of all you've accomplished and admire it! You may be surprised at how a little each day can add up!
Be your own best friend. Every time you say "I can't" - disagree! There is no law that says you have to agree with everything you think or say!
Get creative. Aloud, in writing, or by taking action - note all the ways that you can - no matter how ridiculous or outrageous! For example, I know that climbing Mount Everest would help me get in shape!
Brainstorm - each thought leads to another! Even if you start with completely silly and unrealistic, coming up with any opposition to a "can't" gives it less power and brings you closer to the positive!
You need a jump start, so take action. Do something you've never done before.
Go on a hike or to the opera. Eat something you can't pronounce. Or go even further. Want to date? Put in a personal ad. Want a new career? Sign up for a class. Upset the norm somehow!
And remember, you don't have to do this alone. Enlist a friend. Sometimes making plans with a friend will help you break out and do something new! Free yourself from your mind's rut and go for it!
Differentiate between the factors that you have control over and those you don't. Put aside the factors you have no power over, and address the ones you do. Fighting what can't be changed is discouraging, depressing and will lead to feelings of hopelessness.
Put your energy into what can be changed, and you will be encouraged and revitalized by the progress you will then be able to make.
Pick a time of day when you're at your best. Tomorrow at 11:00, I will spend 15 minutes -writing / cleaning / exercising / making phone calls / apartment hunting. Whatever! Turn off the phone if you have to and clear that time for yourself.
You don't have to do anything more to achieve your objective for the rest of the day - just put in that 15 minutes! If you don't keep the appointment with yourself this time, then next time, don't bother writing down the appointment - make it for NOW!
Sometimes a change of scene can help revive and inspire you. It's amazing the power new surroundings have to renew and refresh the spirit.
And you don't have to travel to the far reaches of the universe either. If Tahiti is not an option, try sitting in a different chair at home, taking a different route to work, or working at the library. New perspectives are at your fingertips!
Reward yourself with a treat if you reach your day's target. Some of us will do anything for chocolate. But don't worry if you're not a chocolate doesn't appeal to you - treats don't have to be fattening! Instead of food, use something else. Imagine - if you reach your day's target early, you can play hooky! You can go to a movie, take a walk in the park, go shopping, or surf the net - because you're free!
Sometimes you need to give yourself a break from the constant nagging, and those shoulda's, woulda's, and coulda's that you keep running through your mind. Chastising yourself is clearly not helping you actually get anything done, not to mention that it's depressing and bad for your emotional well-being.
So cut yourself some slack, do things to make yourself feel good, and when you've left behind all those shoulda's, think about what you really want, and go to another number on this list!
If you wish you'd done something different yesterday - remember that tomorrow, yesterday will be today! Because basically, all your tomorrows and yesterdays start today! If you do something today, then tomorrow you won't need to feel bad about yesterday! (Got it?)
Any car can be gotten out of that rut in the mud if approached with the right tools. Trust that you will get out of whatever quagmire you may find yourself in - now that you have your own tools at hand to help!
Mark Sichel, author of the best selling book, Healing From Family Rifts, has been a practicing psychotherapist, teacher, consultant, and speaker since 1980. In 1999, in an effort to reach a larger audience, Mark created Psybersquare.com, a self-help website that was awarded the prestigious WWW Health Award for excellence in patient education in the Fall of 2000. Mark is available for consultation and speaking engagements internationally and can be contacted via http://www.marksichel.com.
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