I’m on a coaching call with Nancy* who is annoyed because she feels like she’s spinning her wheels, saying one thing, but doing another. “Why can’t I just finally do something about it?” she asks, desperately.
Ah, the million dollar question: Why, if you really want to make a change, don’t you?
Here are the first three things to look at when you feel frustrated and frozen:
- What are the benefits of not making the change? You believe, with all your heart, that you want to improve your situation, but there’s gotta be a payout if you’re not doing anything about it. For years, I complained about wanting to lose weight as I sat on the couch eating ice cream. It wasn’t until I took a close look at the role my weight was playing in my life that I was able to start letting it go. (This is a big part of what I teach in my video course, Weight Loss from the Inside Out, that starts on Monday, by the way.)I realized I was using my extra weight as a protective barrier, a boundary, and a security blanket. Instead of starting my journey worrying about my diet and exercise regimen, I focused on making myself as available for me as I have been for everyone else. By doing so, I began teaching Little Kerri that her worth is not determined by how much she does for others, and that she mattered enough to make time for. The more attention she got, the less whiny and grumpy she was, and the better we both wanted to treat ourselves — which led to healthier food choices and more regular movement.
- How else can you meet the need that’s being fulfilled by staying stuck? Let’s say you hate your job, but you’re not updating your resume, looking for other opportunities, or letting your circle know you’re on the hunt. Maybe the idea of going on interviews terrifies you, or you don’t believe there are better opportunities out there. Perhaps you don’t have any idea of what else you’d like to do.The payout to staying stuck here is not having to face those fears. Instead, think about how you can tend to that fearful part of you in a loving and compassionate way. An effective way to do that is to imagine a friend coming to you with these same concerns. How might you reassure him or her? What sage advice would you give to help them feel hopeful?
- Evaluate your expectations. Almost every client who has shown up to a coaching call frustrated fell victim to the same issue: they expected themselves to jump from the starting gate directly to the finish line. That, my friend, is a surefire way to stay stuck. If I had started my weight loss journey by saying to myself, “Ok, starting tomorrow, I’m going to lose 70 pounds,” I would’ve cracked another pint of Ben & Jerry’s on the spot. Instead, I made the first step more manageable by planning a on a healthy breakfast the next day, and by listening to Little Kerri’s fears and objections.Realistic and doable action steps are one of the master keys to success in any area. The first thing to look at when you find yourself procrastinating is if the step you’ve planned is reasonable. Don’t assume you don’t have what it takes, or that you have no motivation. There’s a good chance you simply haven’t broken down the steps enough.
By starting with these three areas, you give attention to the source of what’s getting in your way instead of wasting your time on the symptoms.
Here’s your challenge: Identify the main area in your life where you’ve wanted to make a change for a while. Now go through the steps above to discover what’s really going on so you can finally get about the business of Living Out Loud.
Care to share what you came up with? Join the conversation in the comments below.