The days roll by and sometimes you might wonder, "What did I do today? Did I get any closer to my goals and dreams?" Life gets busy and you get focused on what has to be done, not what you want to do. Your goals could be anything from finally losing those last 5 pounds to changing your career or moving to a new location.
Maybe every January you make the resolution that, "This year will be the year," but before you know it December rolls around and you are making the same resolution for next the year. For many people, the rut just gets bigger and the opportunity to escape it seems less and less likely.
There are many very legitimate reasons why people get stuck in a rut. Life really is demanding at times. There can be health issues, family issues, and financial concerns, and sometimes the focus has to be on the emergency at hand, not on the dreams to come. However, no one wants to feel unfulfilled and as if life is one big unrealized dream. What can you do, even in the midst of your daily life, to get unstuck and start to take those steps forward to the long-held dream?
Here are the five key steps to getting unstuck and moving toward where you want to go:
1. Identify what success really looks like to you. Most people have a vague idea of what they want: more money, a bigger home, more time with the kids. But what does success really look like to you? For example, "more money" could also mean longer hours, a job you hate, and cutting back on all of your favorite things in order to save. It could mean feeling like you are missing out, instead of gaining something. Take the time to clearly define what you want—quantitative and qualitative descriptions. Then, once it’s defined, write it down.
2. Catalog what’s in the way. Why haven’t you moved from the rut to this point? What keeps you stuck? Life is filled with obstacles that roll into our path just when things seem to be moving. What obstacles have you faced, or will you face, on the road to success? Write them down and then catalog them—those you can control, those you can influence and those out of your control. Working only on those you can control and you can influence gives you the power to move forward. Put the ones out of your control to the side.
3. Identify your strengths and areas for improvement. Sometimes the obstacle is you. Do you have the skills needed? Do you have the drive? Are you utilizing all of your strengths? Are you summoning your most powerful self? Spend some time in self-orientation, identifying what’s working well and what’s not, about you. You need to bring all of your best to the table.
“Brainstorm a number of ways to get [to your goal]—the more options, the more opportunities.”
4. Create a list of options. Sometimes people are stuck because they get into "one-way thinking." It’s as if there is only one small opening in the room, and the person spends their life walking around in the darkness feeling their way to find it. There are probably many routes to get to your final destination. Some may be more circuitous than others, some less defined than others, but all eventually lead to your final successful destination. Brainstorm a number of ways to get there—the more options, the more opportunities.
5. Have a plan of action, even if it is to take one step every day for the next five years. Life is about the journey. If you don’t know how you will get to where you want to go, you will remain lost. Define the steps and then just start taking them—one at a time.
Beverly D. Flaxington, The Human Behavior Coach, MBA, is a three-time bestselling and Gold-award winning author, international speaker, successful entrepreneur, business consultant, executive coach, Certified Hypnotherapist, college professor, corporate trainer, facilitator, and Certified Behavioral Analyst. She has created trademarked success models, is often interviewed and quoted on her views. She is also a mother of three children and actively involved in animal rescue. Learn more about her at www.the-collaborative.com.