In a Rut
We’ve all been there. You have a goal. Maybe it’s to exercise everyday or maybe it’s to lose weight. Maybe it’s work related such as making your calling quota each day. Or perhaps you want to stop fighting with your spouse. And what happens? We totally drop the ball: no exercise, we overeat, procrastinate, argue, everything we don’t want to do.
And then what happens? We beat ourselves up about it. We engage in a lot of negative self-talk. We really make ourselves feel bad about it. We say a lot of things that sound like, “I never do such and such” or “I never get things done” or “I always mess it up.”
Getting Out of a Rut the Wrong Way…Does This Sound Familiar?
So let’s say you wake up one day and you say to yourself, “OK Loser, we’re gonna tackle that goal again. Let’s get focused and see if you can keep from screwing up again.” And then another part of you says back “You’re right. I am such a loser. I’m fat, lazy, a jerk. I’m so mad at myself for not sticking with my goals. Why can’t I do it?”
With so much regret and focus on what you’ve failed to accomplish, how successful do you think this next attempt will be? Yeah, probably not so good. Never say never. Some people can still make a go of it for a while with this attitude, but you know what? The deck is stacked against you.
Getting Out of a Rut the Right Way
To get out of a rut, you must have a genuine positive enthusiasm about the future. You must be able to have an inner confidence when thinking about your goal. In order to focus positively on the future, you have to be reconciled with your past and your present situation. So how do you do that?
When contemplating your past “mistakes” or “failures” turn your perception of them inside out. Consider the possibility that they were meant to be, that they happened for a reason where the end result will be an overall good outcome. You say, huh? What?! I can’t do that. Those failures are because I’m not good at reaching my goals. Before you dig in on that line of thinking, ask yourself what you have to lose by considering this alternative perspective. Maybe nothing. Let’s try it.
As an exercise, let go of self-blame and self-hatred and ask yourself, what good might come from the time I spent making “mistakes” instead of “succeeding” at my goal? Let’s take a look at some examples:
- You stopped exercising. WHY MEANT TO BE: Perhaps you’ve been spending your time on things your body or soul needed more. Maybe you needed that extra time for working on your career. Maybe you’ve been resting more. Maybe God or the Universe is making sure you get that time you need. Or maybe you knew it subconsciously.
- You’ve been overeating. WHY MEANT TO BE: It could be that it was a way of coping with some type of stress (grief, work, relationship) and maybe the weight gain or lack of weight loss is the lesser evil of developing worse physical conditions. Maybe God was watching over you to allow you to comfort yourself this way. And now you are enlightened to find new and better ways of coping. Maybe it was a way for God to send you a message to find a way to eliminate the source of stress. Listen to that message if that’s the case.
- You’ve been slacking at work and you missed getting a new position. WHY MEANT TO BE: Maybe that position is not really what is best for you. Maybe there is another role inside or outside of your current company/line of work that will bring you more fulfillment. Maybe by “failing” at work you are receiving a message to search for a career that has more meaning for you. Or another possibility is that in failing it offers the opportunity to analyze yourself and how you work. And this analysis could be the breakthrough to super productivity in the future. Or maybe you can’t see the answer yet. Just trust that good will come from it. And ask yourself what can I do today to start anew.
- You are in a continuous cycle of battle with a loved one, colleague or friend. WHY MEANT TO BE: Did you ever notice that we end up running into the same kind of difficult people over and over again. Have you ever considered that it’s your reaction to those kind of people that makes those relationships problematic. The universe sends these people into our lives in order for us to grow. Maybe your soul just hasn’t learned to handle this situation yet, but when you do that breakthrough will be truly life altering. If the relationship is abusive, perhaps there is a message there for you to move on. Either way, ask yourself, “What am I supposed to be learning here?,” “what do I contribute to this?” and “what can I do to make things better in this relationship.”
This strategy of finding positive meaning in the past is not making excuses. It is powerful way to allow good to come from your past. By reframing “mistakes” and “failures” into “learning experiences” or “something I must have needed” you open the door to moving forward with a positive outlook. Look at any great person in history, they usually “fail” many times, learning along the way, until they have their eventual breakthrough success.
If you can reframe in this way you will feel an enormous burden lifted from your heart. That burden was self-hatred. It’s unnecessary and carrying it drags you down. Next up, now that you are feeling positive, enthusiastic and ready, here’s how to succeed easily.
I discovered some great information from ZestLife about stacking the deck in your favor for achieving success and it’s called Change Your Life in One Hour. It’s about setting small goals based on your larger goal. So for instance, one example ZestLife uses is if you need to lose 20 pounds, focus on losing 1 pound. Then focus on losing another pound. Then repeat this 20 times. In short, focus on today not the entire journey. In this way you can have frequent successes and keep your enthusiasm high.
If you “fail” or make “mistakes” on your newfound positive path, let it go. Get back on the horse. Learn from it and move on. Don’t make it bigger than it was. Be light in your heart. However if emotions are high surrounding a mistake or failure, recognize that you may simply need some rest. Walk away from the mistake if you can. After resting, either a nap, meditation, or a good night’s sleep, then you will be rejuvenated enough to restart with the energy you need.
I wish you lots of success in learning and leveraging your past, and ultimately in reaching your goals. As always, please share your learnings here with all of us!