How You Can Get Unstuck

Car stuck in the mud representing inaction

 

 

 

 

Feeling stuck and unmotivated can be the worst, right?  Why does it happen, and what can we do about it?  Here are some tips on how you can get unstuck.  

Find your focus.

Often, the most difficult part of taking action is knowing where to start – if you recognise this, get clear on the end result that you’re seeking.

When we dream of winning the lottery, we don’t dream about piles of bank notes.  We dream of the home we’d live in, the holidays we’d have surrounded by friends and family having a great time, we imagine ourselves driving our dream car.

The same goes for any kind of success.  We envisage what the end product will be once we’ve achieved it.

Remembering what it is we want to gain, and how our lives could be improved, can help to keep us focused.

Accept that it might get uncomfortable.

Taking action means we want to change, and change can be hard.  When we want to move out of our comfort zone, we have to let go of what we know, and that means taking risks on the unknown or the uncertainty.

We come up against our subconscious barriers and fears.  Maybe we dread failure, or we compare ourselves to others and think we’re not doing, or being, ‘enough’.

When you feel stuck, recognise what it is exactly you feel stuck about.  Identifying what’s wrong will help you to get unstuck.  Is it the practicality of not knowing what to do, or is it more about your internal thoughts?

Be honest, and get unstuck quicker.

Inaction teaches us what we don’t want.  And maybe it’s telling us our heart isn’t really in it.

If you struggle to get going, or to keep going, ask yourself if you still want this.  Go back to your ‘why’.  Is this goal still important to you, or have your priorities changed?  Are you no longer sure that it’s worth the effort it will take, and do you need to realign or modify your goal, to fit where you are right now?

There is no shame in dropping something that no longer serves you, or changing your mind.  In fact, ploughing on with something when your heart is no longer in it, can be more harmful.  It can affect your self esteem if you’re continuing to put effort in, when you know you’re not getting the results you want.  This is a sure sign, something needs to change.

So, if you’re struggling with a particular goal and you’re feeling unmotivated, try some of these tips to get unstuck.  It will help to improve your confidence, and longer term chances of success when you deal with issues quickly, and will give you the momentum to keep going.

For more tips on self development, stay up to date with the monthly newsletter, which also contains a free downloadable resource every month.  Sign up here to receive the latest newsletter in your inbox.

Photo credit:  Aubrey Odom on Unsplash

5 Ways To Help You Take Action

Take a leap and take action

 

 

 

 

 

Getting started and keeping going are often the hardest things to master when we’re trying to achieve something.  Here are 5 ways to help you take action towards your goals.

  1. Be realistic about how far away you are now, from where you want to be. If you need a lot of work, it’s going to take a while to get there and it won’t happen overnight. And you may well encounter problems or disappointment on the way. Prepare yourself that this will take effort but recognise that it’s worth it.
  2. Write a short, achievable to do list and work through things one at a time.   It might help  to get the most niggly one out of the way first for a bigger sense of achievement afterwards.  Reward yourself positively with time off, your favourite leisure activity or some self care.
  3. Allocate non negotiable time slots into your calendar – even if it’s just 10-15 mins a day.  It’s much easier to stay committed to smaller chunks of time rather than a one off longer session.  Make sure it’s time that you will use to focus only on this task and nothing else.
  4. Act when you feel inspired to.  And notice when you feel most inspired to act, or when you come up with ideas. If you struggle to get motivated sat at your desk, get up and do something else, go for a walk, take a shower. Ideas are more likely to come when our brains are at rest and we’re switched off.  Notice when things work for you, so when you have an important task to do, you know what you need to do first, to get in the right mood.
  5. Check in regularly to make sure that your actions are taking you in the right direction, and make any changes quickly.  Also, remember to recognise the progress you’ve made, and give yourself credit for what you have done.

Making any change is an ongoing process.

Acting on tips like this can keep you on track, and will help you to take more consistent  action.

It’s really easy to talk ourselves out of something,  or beat ourselves up if we don’t feel we’re doing enough.  If you’re doing something regularly,  then you’re doing enough.  Have faith in yourself and keep accountable, and you will get there.

Next steps

And if you’re looking to make some big changes, check out my new digital guide ‘How To Find Your Spark – The Weekend Project’ – details available here.

Photo credit:  @kidcircus via Unsplash.com

Spring – the ideal time to take action

Green traffic light means time to take action

Spring always seems like the ideal time to take action.  With the start of a new season and the promise of warmer days on the horizon, we can start looking ahead to new ventures.

So this month’s blog theme will be ‘Spring into Action’.

Taking action seems like an obvious theme of self development and personal growth, and of course, it is. But it can also the one that causes the most difficulty.

Dreaming big, goal setting and visualising is all well and good. But without the crucial steps to take action and get started, our ambitions are futile.  And even worse, they turn into regrets of the things we valued, but didn’t pursue.

It might be the ideal time, but why is taking action so hard?

Taking action means change, and even when we know that it will be a positive or necessary change, it can still be difficult.

We get used to our comfort zone, and fear or insecurity of the unknown scares us.  And rightly so.  Fear warns us of potential danger and making a complete fool of ourselves (well, sometimes!).   So it’s good to make sure that when it’s time to take action, that it’s well planned and considered, to give it the best chance of working.

So this month, I’ll be looking at how we can take the most effective action, and how to address the things that hold us back. The questions such as ‘Am I doing enough?’, or ‘Where do I start?’ are among the most common, and can cause us to become so paralysed that we end up doing nothing.  So stayed tuned to the blog and podcast this month, if you recognise any of these blocks.

And if you’re all ready to make some big changes, make sure you’re signed up for this month’s newsletter too.  It contains a handy guide to goal planning, with a framework for setting yourself steps to achieving your goals.  Sign up to the newsletter here.

Photo credit: @eliobedsuarez via Unsplash.com

How To Find Your Spark – digital guide out now!

An image of a person with a sparkler representing inner spark

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to ‘How To Find Your Spark – The Weekend Project’.

Discover how to get unstuck and find your spark, without spending weeks (or £££s) in a coaching programme.

What is ‘How to Find Your Spark’?

This downloadable pdf guide contains inspiration for creating a life that you love – with advice, exercises, worksheets and visualisations.

Using techniques based in cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness, you can work through the project at your own pace, and developing tools to create more spark in your life.

If you want to set aside a weekend to work through it in one go, then great!  This will give you a real kickstart into taking positive action.

However, you can also work through the individual sections at a speed you are comfortable with, to go a bit deeper on some of the questions and solutions that you want to build.

Exercises include:

  • ’Wheel of Life’ coaching tool to identify which areas of your life and are working well, and which need some TLC
  • Creating your list of ‘joy resources’ – a little first aid kit of happy, for when you need a boost
  • How to reframe your negative self talk and replace it with more positive affirmations
  • Visualising Success – a visualisation exercise to help to see how success could feel to you
  • Top tips for taking action

Plus journal prompts to collate your ideas and thoughts.

This is for you, if you recognise any of the following:

  • Feeling a bit stuck at the moment or are struggling to find your direction
  • Feel flat and uninspired, and are looking to find that spark and bring joy back into your life
  • You are emerging from a difficult situation and need a boost to get yourself back into the world again
  • You don’t have the time or money to spend on in depth coaching

To get your copy, head over to the product shop here

Can we benefit from having a neutral mindset?

So far in this month of March Mindset Matters, we’ve looked at the most commonly known traits of the fixed or growth mindset.  Maybe you have recognised where you tend to naturally sit within these.   But are there any other alternatives? And can we benefit from having a neutral mindset?

When it comes to our personal growth, we know that our mindset can have a huge effect on how we approach life.   And we know that having a growth mindset, and actively seeking out new experiences can help us to keep learning.

We’ve also seen how having a fixed mindset can be detrimental to our personal development, and how it can hold us back.  But if we are ‘go go go’ all the time in a growth mindset phase, we may be missing out on the most important bit.  And that is ‘learning’.

I would suggest that sometimes it can be helpful to slip into neutral and do nothing.  To wait and see. Or at least assimilate what we have learned.  Can we really benefit from having a neutral mindset?

In order for us to grow and develop, we need to try new things, or take on new experiences or challenges.  Sometimes we’ll be successful and sometimes we won’t, but either way the experience will have taught us some key things.  What went well, what didn’t go so well, what would I repeat next time, what would I do differently next time.   And in order to assimilate and understand, we need a period of rest and reflection, so that learning can then ‘bed in’.

Likewise, if we are full steam ahead on a particular goal or target, we need to pause along the way and check in with our progress.  This helps us recognise how far we’ve come (along with ‘what’s working/what isn’t’) but also to check that where we are heading is still in the right direction.

We need to assess whether what we are doing is going to get us to where we want to be.  Or maybe where we want to be has changed.

A motivational quote about personal growth

How can a neutral mindset help me?

A journey of personal growth might just open up new goals that we hadn’t previously thought possible.  And as we prove to ourselves what we are capable of, and we develop new skills, we build the confidence to think bigger.

Time for self reflection is crucial to allowing this process to happen.  And of course, we need rest to recharge our batteries.

But what if I feel guilty for taking a rest

The idea of rest is a tricky one for some people. If you’re used to being on the go, slowing down or coming to a halt, can feel as though you’re missing out. Or worse, being lazy. But this is far from it.

Our bodies, and especially our minds, need rest to make sense of what’s going on and to regenerate, so if you’re finding it difficult to allow yourself permission, try reframing it as a period of review or reflection instead, to consolidate your learning!

So if you’re on a journey of growth and you’re feeling a little jaded or foggy about where you’re going next, try slipping into neutral for a while.

For more discussion on monthly themes of personal growth, follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/startalittlefire  or check out my podcast, Sunday Night Motivation.

 

Photo credit:   Alok Sharma on Unsplash

How Do I Build A Growth Mindset?

A budding flower growing in the sunshine

Last week, we looked at the ways in which having a fixed mindset can affect us.  So, what does a growth mindset look like? And, how do I build a growth mindset?

Having a growth mindset means that we believe that progress and success comes from learning and developing ourselves. Alongside building strengths such as resilience and confidence, having a positive mindset helps us to grow.  Not just that, but it also helps us manage the inevitable disappointments and failures that come with new challenges.

The more we seek out opportunities to grow, the more we reinforce the positive feelings that come with seeing ourselves progress.  And this in turn helps to strengthen our mindset, and build confidence in our abilities to cope.

But of course, putting ourselves out there and being open to knockbacks or failures takes courage. No one likes failing. No one starts out on a journey to end up disappointed. But the way we approach disappointments can help to make the experience less daunting.

Motivational quote about growth mindset

Tips to help you build a growth mindset

  • See failure as a necessary tool to learning.  Remember to review things that work well and not so well, so that if necessary, we can try something different next time.
  • Say yes to new experiences, even if it means starting small.  Take a different journey to work, try a new dish for dinner, wear a colour that you wouldn’t normally wear. Getting used to doing new things can help us develop a curiosity for new experiences.
  • Learn from other people. If you have a goal or dream in mind, follow someone who has already achieved it.  What does their routine look like? How do they approach life? What is their self talk like, how do they frame success or failure? Have they had disappointments?
  • Accept that change doesn’t happen overnight, and that you might have a slip-up along the way.  Making changes to the way we think and feel will take time and practice, so try not to feel too disheartened if it takes longer than you’d hoped. Also, recognise and celebrate your successes.  Setting yourself small, consistent goals are easier to achieve and will give you some milestones to aim for on the journey.

Hope these have given you some food for thought.

I’ll be chatting more about mindset over on my podcast too.  Catch up with Sunday Night Motivation on your favourite podcast host now, or check out the latest episodes in my feed.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/startalittlefire

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@alesmaze

 

The Perils of a Fixed Mindset

So, I started off in last week’s post looking at different forms of mindset, and how the most common that we hear about are the ‘growth’ or ‘fixed’ mindsets.  These terms would seem to suggest that we are either one or the other, and don’t take into account how we change and develop through our experiences. But why does it even matter?

Because the way we approach things is hugely affected by our mindset, and therefore our life experiences will be affected by our mindset. And if we have a fixed mindset, we will tend to think in two ways:

  1. We think of ourselves as having traits or the type of personality that is rigid – this is just how I am. This is me. I’m just unlucky, lazy, I can’t do this/that/the other.
  2. And conversely, we think that other people who are successful/happy or whatever, are just born that way. They are lucky, things seem to land in their lap. We can fail to recognise the work, study, effort that they’ve put in, to get to where they are.

Being closed off in this way can actually contribute to keeping us stuck. If I feel that I’m not a lucky person or good things don’t happen to me, then it can stop me from being open to new experiences, or putting myself out of my comfort zone. And if more rubbish things keep happening, then that is just reinforcing my beliefs.

Even taking the smallest steps to challenge our thoughts when we hear ourselves having these fixed ideas, can help us to grow. Change is possible. But it needs action kicking it up the backside first.

Next week, I’ll be looking at some tips on how we can start to develop a growth mindset, and get things moving.

 

 

Photo credit:  https://unsplash.com/@cristina_gottardi

 

Is it all in the mindset?

When it comes to personal growth, our mindset is probably one of the most important tools that we have.  It affects the way we think, how we feel and therefore, how we act.   And we hear about mindset a lot these days.

You may have heard terms such as ‘fixed mindset’ or ‘growth mindset’, as these are now commonly used phrases to describe different ways of thinking (for more on these, read the brilliant book ‘Mindset’ by Dr Carol Dweck, where these terms were first discussed).

And the effect of mindset is also used to describe success or failure in specific areas of our lives, such as with the terms “scarcity mindset”, or “abundant mindset”.

Although these would seem to suggest that there are polar opposite modes of mindset, it doesn’t mean that we are one or the other.   We may have particular personality traits that lead us to be more prone to a fixed mindset, but there are other factors that affect this, such as our past experiences.   If we have had a number of setbacks, or if we feel unsupported or criticised when we get things wrong, then we will tend to have a lower level of confidence, which in turn affects how we think about new challenges.

But the good news is that we can learn skills and techniques that can help us have a more positive mindset, and which can lead to us being more likely to seek out new opportunities to learn and grow, and get out of our comfort zone.

My concern however is that a lot of the messages we hear right now are suggesting that this is a simple and instantaneous fix – we are surrounded by posts that say, “think positive” or “you can do anything you put your mind to”.

How often have you heard phrases like this and felt ‘ugh’.  If you’re in a place where you are feeling flat or uninspired, the thought of thinking positively can leave you frustrated. Or it may even make you feel worse, if you can’t seem to shift your mindset in that moment.

Undoubtedly, the way in which we approach any situation in our lives is affected by our mindset towards it.  If we go into a situation almost expecting it to be disappointing or that we may fail, then it becomes more difficult for us to be successful.   If we go into the same situation with a more open and relaxed mindset, we may not be any more likely to succeed, but we have less attachment to the outcome and can be more willing to learn from the experience, then we are more likely to give it another go the next time. And this is where we learn skills like resilience and strength – it isn’t about hitting the target first time, its about the journey we take to get there, and where that propels us on to next.

Over the next few weeks, I will be taking a deeper look into mindset – what does a fixed mindset look like and how does it affect our successes, how can we build a growth mindset, and also are there any other options around mindset – do we have to be going for growth all the time?

 

Photo by Júnior Ferreira on Unsplash

Embracing the future…or back to a lonely normal?

How are you feeling about things going back to ‘normal’?   If life before lockdown wasn’t all that exciting, then you may be feeling a bit anxious about what it will be like, especially if you were already feeling a bit disconnected or had experienced some upheavals in your social circle.

I’ve wanted to write a post for ages in homage to something that literally changed my life a few years ago, and that’s an organisation called Meet Up.  It seems appropriate now as we are heading back into a life of socialising and meeting friends…or not.

For those of you who don’t know or have never heard of Meetup, it’s a range of social groups which organise and advertise events online (by town or activity usually) which you can join, and start attending events in your area.

I joined a couple of different Meetup groups after becoming single a few years back, as I wanted to get out and socialise with likeminded people, but at the time the thought of dating again terrified me!

As happens with a lot of newly-singletons, your social life can have a seismic change as your circle of friends is often upended, and you end up with a lot more time on your hands than you would like.  As most of my friends and work colleagues were either already hooked up or had young families, the opportunities to go out to gigs, theatre trips or meals out, were limited.

I was pretty amazed at the variety of Meetup groups that are around – some are locality based, which is also a great way to meet people if you are new in town, or are just looking for things to do in your local area, and there are also more specific activity groups,  to indulge every hobbyist.

Going to a first Meetup event can be pretty daunting – it’s like being set up on a blind date, except you can be meeting a whole load of new people, not just one.  The nervousness factor is about the same – What will I say?  Will they like me?  Will I like them?   And of course, it can be difficult to walk into a venue, when you don’t know the people you are meeting, apart from seeing their photo online!!  Most groups will have an event organiser who will make a point of looking out for you, if you are attending for the first time and lots of groups arrange events specifically for new members, so that you don’t feel so intimidated by the whole thing – at least that way everyone is in the same boat!

Every group I attended was friendly and welcoming, and you can dip in and out of the events which interest you.  You might decide that a group isn’t for you, and that’s fine too.   Some of the groups I didn’t keep up with, either because there weren’t many people from my age group, or some of the events were a little too far away.  But the great thing about Meet Up is that there are lots of events and groups happening, plus it’s a good way of getting introduced to new friends.   You could even set up your own meetup group, if there’s not many active groups in your area.

I’ve been to a whole range of events through the groups I’ve joined, and have been to see some great local bands that I never would have heard of, and visited some lovely places that I would never have ventured to on my own.    I’ve also now got a new circle of friends that I have kept in touch with outside of the group.

If you’ve been thinking you need to get out more, or are fed up missing out on things you would love to go to because you are on your own, I would definitely recommend giving something like this a go.  Yes, it can be daunting to begin with – the first meetup is a bit like the first day at school – but it could be just what you need to kick-start your social life!

 

* I just wanted to say I have not in any way received payment for promoting Meetup or any other similar social groups – this is something that has genuinely benefitted me, and hopefully might be of interest to others too.

Photo credit:  Jeyhun Sung @jaysung via Unsplash.com

 

The most important connection is with ourselves

Often when we think about connection, our first thoughts go to connecting with others.  The relationships that we surround ourselves with are, of course, a hugely important influence on our lives. But the relationship we have with ourselves is the key to everything.

Sometimes we already have a very clear picture of what’s going on. If we are feeling happy and have a sense of hope and excitement about the future, then we assume things are going good.  Likewise, we know when things are difficult, as we feel stressed or angry or unhappy about our present situation.

But sometimes we just feel a bit ‘off’.  Not quite happy, but nothing specifically wrong.  And if life looks good from the outside, we can almost feel guilty for feeling that way.   But our intuition is there to act as an early warning system, and can guide us to look a bit deeper.

Taking some time to check in with ourselves can give us insight into what’s really going on.   And that means time away from the distractions or the ‘to do list’ (or the ‘I should’ list!).  Going out for a walk on your own can be great thinking time for this.

Maybe you will be able to get real about how a situation is really affecting you.  Doing things because we feel we should, or because other people expect us to, can lead to us feeling that our time or opinions don’t matter.

Or perhaps we just feel stuck in a bit of a rut and are unmotivated.  The old saying ‘if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got’ is so true.  We need new and novel things to keep us going.  Even making slight changes in routine or a change of scenery can make a big difference.

When we listen to ourselves regularly, we can address the things that are causing an imbalance before they start to grab hold, and make the necessary changes before they become a bigger issue.

So if you’re feeling a bit out of kilter…get quiet and listen…the answer is in there!

 

Photo credit: @guilia_bertelli via Unsplash.com