Being stuck is part of life. Staying stuck is misery. It’s possible to become stuck in a relationship, a job, a bad habit or an unhealthy way of life. The question is, “How long do you want to stay this way.”
To move on requires bold action.
I realized I was stuck about ten years into my marriage. I was miserable. I knew I needed help but I was scared and unsure what to do. So I did nothing. One day my sister’s boyfriend Paul looked me directly in the eyes and said, “You’re sick and you need help.” I didn’t like Paul. But that day I got his message.
I was 27 years old at the time and my life, my marriage and my parenting were out of control. I kenw I was in sinking and struggled to daily to keep my head above water. However that day Puals words pierced right through my heart. I asked a friend what to do and she suggested I see a therapist. My husband went with me for the first 6 months and I kept on for another 6 months. I had a few character defects I needed to change.
Two things our therapist asked us to do that changed the atmosphere in our household immmediately:
1) To slow down our speed
2) To only communicate with each other and our children face to face
We learned to eliminate any activities in our schedule that were’nt necessary. Our relationship with each other and our children had to become our only priorities. This was difficult. When you’re always on the go you can ignore problems. You don’t have to learn how to be comfortable with each other. You learn to stay distracted.
I worked on walking slower, driving slower and to began to pause and breathe between activities. When we slowed down our children slowed down.
We also stopped shouting at each other from another room (or between walls.) Our children followed our example. When we calmed down our children calmed down.
These two bold steps set our family on a new path. I am grateful to my now brother-in-law, Paul for being bold enough to tell me the truth. So what rut are you in? What are you willing to do differently?
The following are suggestions:
1. Identify What You Need to Change
What keeps you awake at night. What habit or situation steals your energy. What single change would have a significant effect on your life? Begin there. Begin with one bold step and continue from there. You will gain confidence. Your efforts will snowball. Often times we try to change too much to fast. And we fail.
2. Invest In Yourself.
You need to commit to the time it takes to change. All real change is slow. An example of this is quick weight loss. Unless you lose weight slowly you’re more likely to regain it. Small consistent steps make a big difference. Be persisitent.
3. Become Aware.
If you need to lose weight identify when you overeat. Identify trigger foods. Notice if your emotions are tied in with overeating. Do you eat when you are angry, tired or bored? Awareness is the first step.
Next take bold action. You can begin keeping a journal. Write down you habits and feelings. Stop buying foods you are likely to binge on.
4. Become Knowlegable
If you are in financial trouble become an expert in finances. Become your own financial advisor. Read blogs, listen to podcasts, CD’s and tune into experts on TV. Educate yourself on impulse spending. Begin a budget. Don’t frequent stores, malls or websites that cause you to spend. Learn exactly what you need to do and begin.
5. List Obstacles
Identify everything you think of that will stop you from succeeding. A list may look like this:
Too much television
Searching the net
Substance Abuse or Addictions
These are ruts that will steal your joy, your life.
6. Write Out A Soloution For Each Obstacle
If obstacle is realtity TV would you be willing to give it up? How many televisions are in your home? Eliminate all but one. If you constantly check your email are you willing to limit it too checking it only twice a day. That’s what Timothy Ferris suggests in his book, “The Four Hour Work Week.”
Your solutions become your success plan. Like the AA slogan, “It works if you work it.”
7. Be Prepared for Setbacks
You will have them. It’s normal. Part of the process. recognize you’re human and get up one more time than you fall down. Refuse to beat yourself up. Learn to nurture and honor yourself. No one will love you more than you love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would your best friend. Find compassion for yourself.
8. Get a Vision for Success
See yourself succeeding. Get a vision of what success will look like and hold this picture in your mind. Dream about it expecially when you feel like giving up. Put feelings and emotions in your vision. If your goal is to run a marathon picture yourself at the finish line. Hear your friends cheering for you. See the announcer calling your name and number. Have your friends and family hold your vision as well.
Whatever the rut, it requires bold action and at the same time patience. Pat yourself on the back as you go. Reward yourself. Take one day at a time. You deserve a good life. It’s up to you. It’s your choice. You have the strength you need to succeed. Reach deep down for courage, be bold and stay strong!