Lately I’ve been feeling stuck. Trudging through the mud stuck. Swimming through a sea of molasses stuck. Everything and everyone racing past me while I try to get my feet unglued from the floor stuck.
I’m not a psychologist or anything, but I’m fairly sure the stuck feeling is part of the human condition. Maybe some of us feel stuck more intensely and often than others, but we all have our moments of stuckness.
To help myself get out of this mode that feels like trying to drive on the freeway with the gear in neutral, I’ve done a bit of research to learn from the experts and have also been experimenting with my own strategies. Here’s what I’m putting into practice this week in the process of getting unstuck.
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To be super honest, I balked at this when John Acuff, author of the book Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, said it. Only hard data was going to convince me this was a good idea. Well, John must know how much I love research because he has it!
His team found that people who cut their big goals up into small goals were 67% more successful and also more willing to keep trying. Instead of working on all my goals, I’m picking a few, and I’m trying to do less. Because then I’ll do more… it’s weird, but it works!
Did you ever get an essay draft back with more red than black ink and a litany of revisions to make? It’s like, thanks for the constructive critique, but now I may as well throw this in the trash and start over. Like a professor who’s gone crazy with the edits, we easily “red pen” ourselves with all the things we STILL have to get better at.
This is true when it comes to managing money, of course, but it applies to basically everything in life. See the theme we’re going with? Stop trying to do ALL the things ALL at once! Pick one. Just one. Then move on to the next thing.
One of the strategies I have recently implemented is using a Bullet Journal to help me focus on one thing at a time so I don’t have to get overwhelmed or make my agenda fit into someone else’s idea of what a planned out day should look like.
To make it personalized and colorful I got some bullet journal pens and this washi tape to go with it. The washi tape is awesome because I can use it to make little tabs on important pages. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going using this method. So far it’s been fun and I feel more in control of my goals!
Do you verbally beat yourself up when you don’t get as much done as you wanted to, when you mess up your budget, or when life has got you overwhelmed and you’re having a hard time handling it? I’m guilty of doing this and only recently have I committed to stop. It’s not good for you, it’s not what Jesus thinks about you, and it’s keeping you from being happy and productive.
First of all, saying negative things about yourself and to yourself is not God’s truth (which is separate from when he convicts us and guides to a better way of living).
Second, God made our brains impressionable to repetition. So whether or not something is true, when the brain hears it over and over again, that information gets stored and get this- directly alters our behaviors.
It’s the scientific explanation of the “self-fulfilling prophecy.” If you tell yourself you’re a failure, you’re stuck, you can’t do this, etc, then your actions will unconsciously fall in line with that. So, speak kindly to yourself.
Does anyone think we were made to do life alone? Probably not, but this concept of living in community is more than having Sunday brunch with a group of church friends. It’s also asking for help when you need it and letting other people use their gifts, just as we all feel blessed when we get to help someone else.
Our culture values independence and hard work to a fault. And those values can be good, but like most things, can also be taken to an extreme. Too often we think that if we just try harder and work more, that we’ll succeed. At least, I’ve been guilty of thinking that. Sure, working harder often results in success, but taken too far, it’s also a great way to get burned out and feel isolated. (Trust me, I’ve been there.)
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Sometimes we need a little time and space to rest and regroup before it’s possible to even begin thinking about making forward progress… on anything. That could mean you keep a box of frozen pizzas and Lavender Epsom Salt on hand so you can take a night off from cooking and instead spend half an hour soaking in an aromatherapy bath.
It could mean trading babysitting nights with a friend because you don’t have the budget to hire a babysitter every time you want (need!) to go out with your husband. It could mean wiping the calendar clean of all scheduled activities because you need an extended amount of time to do the bare minimum.
Sometimes to get what you need, you can’t wait for it to happen, you have to make it happen.
Remember, we are ALL works in progress and we all get stuck sometimes, whether that’s with finances, relationships, careers, or personal goals. I hope these five unique tricks for getting unstuck will help you to be able to take a step forward.