Feeling stuck after less than a month into 2017? Do your resolutions feel like a cruel joke that might never come to fruition? The beginning of a new year starts out the same for everyone: we are excited and hopeful about the upcoming year and what it may bring us. We all start out strong in our determination to create real change but after a few weeks into our goal, we often find ourselves ready to throw in the towel.
This doesn't just happen to us in when a new year happens. This hitting-a-brick-wall feeling can happen whenever you start to focus on your goals. You start out fine and hopeful that your goals are within reaching distance and then something happens to derail you and the hope starts to fade. So what can you do when that wall hits you and you're feeling like you got left behind in quicksand?
1. Accept Where You Are Now.
In other words, if you're trying to get organized and you still have a huge mess to contend with in your home, accept it. If you're trying to lose weight but right now your favorite jeans don't fit, accept it. If you want to earn $1 million dollars but right now your bank account is -$20, accept it. The fastest way out of where you are is to just accept where you are. You certainly don't have to like it, but the more quickly you accept it, the more quickly you'll be able to change things because you'll have moved out of resisting what you don't like seeing.
2. Swap Out Guilt, Fear & Shame for Self Love.
Fear, guilt and shame are heavy emotions that usually force people to make bad decisions in their lives. If you truly want to achieve your goals, the best emotion to chase is that of self love. Self love will help you make good, smart decisions that will help you achieve your goal much more quickly and self love will most definitely help you power through those times when you feel your goals are too far away to reach. The more you choose to let go of guilt, fear and shame, the easier, happier and more productive your life will feel.
3. Find a Partner, a Coach or Be Your Own Best Friend.
Goals are always easier to reach more quickly when you have people cheering you on. Ask friends, family, or co-workers to help support you in your goals. On those tough days they'll be there to remind you that all the effort you're putting in is worth it and to keep going.
A coach can also help you develop an effective step-by-step strategy and will definitely be there to help you stop self sabotaging your efforts. If you don't have a strong support system and/or can't afford a coach, the next best thing is to be your own cheering squad. Little things like leaving motivational messages around your home and giving yourself a pep talk in the mirror can help you remind you that you're worth it and to keep going!
4. Look for Small Signs of Improvement.
If you keep focused on the big goals, like losing 40 pounds or organizing the whole house, it may actually stop you in your tracks. The goal may seem too hard to reach or too far away to ever obtain. When you focus on the small measures of improvement you are making, it helps keep you focused and reminds you that you ARE improving.
If you're looking to get organized, focus on the bags of stuff you've already donated or thrown out. If you're dieting focus on the fact that you can exercise longer than you could before you started. Focusing on the small successes will help you achieve your big goal.
5. Speaking of Small: Make Small Steps Toward Your Goal Every Single Day.
Some days are going to look and feel a lot better than others. Some days you will want to give up because your goal seems impossible and you feel like you've done everything within your power to change but you're not seeing the results yet. Some days you won't even have time to organize or maybe you ate an entire pie by yourself and you feel your diet is ruined. Some days are going to suck.
Expect that. Thrive in that suckiness! The more that you realize and accept that some days will feel like you're going backwards, the easier it will be to continue taking steps toward your goals. Take small steps because they're easier. You may not see the results immediately, but taking smaller steps will ensure you get to that goal more quickly.
Also expect that setbacks are a normal part of the process. Sometimes you will take 1 step forward and 3 steps back. That's okay. Just keep moving forward and keep focused on your goals. Also remember to enjoy the process because you're learning and growing and this is your life right now. Happiness can be achieved and should be enjoyed now, not just at the culmination of your goal.