6. Divide your stuck project into baby steps. If there is a particular area in your life that feels super stuck, it can feel like a mountain you are trying to climb. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can divide the project into small chunks, and then with some prioritizing define a pathway to follow to tackle things one piece at a time. When I went for my MCC, I set milestone dates for when I want to pass through one phase of the project and into another. I made a list of the components required to submit my application for the credential, and put them in the order I would take them on. It was easier when I looked at the project one step at a time, instead of taking on the enormity of the project all at once.
7. Tell people – and enroll an accountability partner. If you decided to run a marathon, you know that once you decide you need to tell someone else right away so you don’t back out of your commitment. I spent a lot of time secretly thinking about my MCC but it wasn’t until I went public with my commitment that the energy changed for me. Even though I felt vulnerable telling people about my struggle in this area, letting people in to my secret allowed me to be held in other peoples’ embrace, literally and figuratively. Further, having one person in my life be an accountability partner to help me stay on track with my goals and milestones helped me keep making progress, even when I didn’t feel like it.
8. Measure your progress by gamifying the project and identifying rewards worth persisting for. I like prizes and find ways to reward myself when I finish something that feels difficult to do. Whether a trip to the movies, a massage, or a relaxing soak in the tub, I find that having small rewards along the way helps keep me motivated. I’m considering having a party once this latest challenge I’ve faced is finished. Either a party or a short vacation. I’m mulling it over; but even the mulling over process is fun and helps me persist through barriers I encounter as I reach for my goals.
In my career coaching, when a client is struggling with networking to find a new job, we will often invent a game that allows them to earn points for each connection, informational interview, job interview, etc. that they have, while they work towards earning a reward that they long for (like a new set of paints for their favorite hobby).
9. Watch your language. It’s easy to listen to negative mental chatter. But, to move past the limitations that have held you back, you must take care in how you talk about the challenge you are facing, to both yourself and to others. I can’t tell you the number of times that a coaching client has said something self-denigrating like “I will never land a new job” or “It’s hopeless.” When we bring our thoughts to words that we speak, we give them power.
I’ve surmounted imposing obstacles by posting positive affirmations on post-its around my house, with inspiring words, in present tense, that build me up every time I see them. Instead of “I will never land a new job,” the affirmation can be, “The exact right job is coming to me now.” It sounds hokey, but I challenge you to try it. You’ll be amazed by the results.
10. Start a daily meditation practice. I’m not a meditation expert, having only recently devoted myself to a regular practice. I found great instruction by my friend and colleague KC Carter on how to meditate, something I had long wondered about and not had success with in the past. KC turned me onto this app called Insight Timer that allows you to access guided meditations of all types, in all different durations. I have found that by listening 20 minutes a day in a quiet place, when I first get up, that I’m more grounded when I arrive at work. I feel like my thoughts can’t derail me after meditation–I can see that my thoughts are not truth, and can detach from them. I have never been able to stick with meditation practices in the past, but this time, and with these tools, it is different.
If you have been wondering whether or not meditation will help you on your way, the answer is a resounding YES.