10 Steps to Move Past Self-Imposed Limitations (Part I)

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Are you up against something that makes you feel stuck and like you will never be able to conquer it?

I recently wrote an article about a stuck place I moved through, and it seems to have struck a chord with many. I thought I would reverse-engineer how I moved past the challenge and share the steps, so you can consider applying the strategies that resonate with you.

1. Move your body. We all know we should be exercising on a regular basis; if you are already into a regular routine, good for you. If you are not, get into one. If it feels hard to do, take a look at the activities you used to enjoy as a child. For me, dancing was something I loved as a kid; that encouraged me to take up Zumba a few years ago. When I dance, it hardly feels like exercise because I enjoy it so much.

Try to find something you once enjoyed and pick it up again.

Or, hire a personal trainer to work with you. I have a trainer twice a week and I always make it to those exercise sessions because I am paying her. She helps me push myself to better health. Whatever you need to do to get yourself into a regular movement practice, whether it be yoga or walking your dog, make time for it in your schedule and enroll the people you care about to help you stay on track.

2. Get onto a steady diet of inspiration. A powerful way to keep yourself focused on reaching your goals is to binge listen to inspirational podcasts. A couple I really like are Good Life Project by Jonathan Fields and Happier with Gretchen Rubin. You can also listen to my no-cost interview series at The Career Space, which is focused on helping you build your inner resourcefulness and includes interviews with interesting people like TED-darling Amy Cuddy and happiness expert Dr. Christine Carter.

3. Surround yourself with inspiring people who are on the far side of the chasm you are trying to cross. When I was working on my Master Coach Credential (my big stuck place), I worked with a mentor coach who was not only a MCC herself and in fact was a past president of the Global organization that certifies coaches. So, I went straight to the source, and working with her helped me demystify the process and try some new coaching practices that were uncomfortable at first but that have been transformative in my coaching ability and my clients’ results from the coaching sessions.

She was inspiring to work with—and I’ve noted in times of big shifts in my personal and professional development there have always been one or more coaches or mentors working with me to help me keep the inspiration and motivation alive. Seeing them on the other side of my challenge and discussing the issues I faced made me believe I could surpass the obstacles. My mentor coach recorded the sessions we did together and I listened to them over and over again, gaining new insight from her words each time I listened.

4. Get enough rest. It’s so tempting to forgo sleep in an effort to have more time to just veg out or pursue our hobbies in the late evening. Especially if you have kids, you cherish that quiet time when no one needs anything from you. Over time I’ve come to realize that if I get less than 8 hours of sleep my power and energy is diminished for the next day. It is so hard to go to sleep when I feel like there are many things I would like to do or watch, but more and more I’m correlating my ability to overcome challenges as being dependent on how much sleep I get at night.

When you sacrifice sleep, you compromise your body’s ability to heal, process the day, and ready you for the next day.

I find it much more taxing to ground myself and do good work, at my highest leverage point, when I’m sleep deprived. If your sleep is compromised, consider making it a priority to sort that out, including figuring out your ideal sleep pattern and number of hours, and then engage your family members to help you stick to your schedule.

5. Eat as clean as you can. I recently purchased Eating Clean for Dummies, as I’m certainly not an expert in clean eating (but would like to be). I am learning that clean eating means eating more of the healthiest foods in the food groups, and less of the least healthy/processed foods.

Although I like to tell myself it’s complicated to eat well, it’s actually quite simple. It is about noticing how your body is reacting to the foods you are eating, and making small changes that add up to big benefits. Whether you are experiencing recurrent heartburn or having trouble falling asleep at night, or noticing that your energy flags at a certain time of day, taking a food or two out of your diet may make a big difference in how you feel and how you function throughout the day.

I have to remind myself that I am a bit overweight because I have not yet found the right combination and amount of foods to keep my body in an ideal state of health. I’m experimenting with different options, including taking certain foods out of my diet for a while and also writing down what I eat, in an effort to ever move closer to clean eating. I remember when I was pregnant with my children I made an effort to always eat organic and to enjoy lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I felt great at the time. I find myself having a renewed interest in making my own body – without a pregnancy – the focus of my renewed interest in good eating now whether I’m cooking at home or eating out.

Stay tuned for Part II, next week, where I will share the remaining 5 steps that can help you move past self-imposed limitations.

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