Have you ever felt stuck? I sure have!
Once, I spent over 5 YEARS trying to lose 10 pounds. I know that doesn’t sound like much, and you might be laughing at me right now for struggling with that for so long. I went to the gym faithfully, I used a calorie counting app, and I worked hard at reaching my target weight. My weight goal was behind a wall, and I just could not break through to it.
Every once and a while I’d get close. I’d drop a few pounds and, wham! Christmas would come. Or I’d go on vacation, gain it back, and struggle for months just to lose a couple pounds. Talk about stuck!
There are lots of ways to get stuck in life. We can get stuck in our health, in our relationships, our careers, and our personal growth, to name a few. It’s normal. It happens to the best of us and, if you’re feeling stuck right now, you’re not alone.
The danger is not in getting stuck. It’s in staying stuck. The problem is that, most of the time, we get stuck and only see one (or maybe two) ways to get unstuck. For example, I felt stuck in my weigh loss goals and believed the only way to get unstuck was through diet and exercise. It didn’t occur to me that there were other ways to lose weight.
Or, we might feel stuck in our career and believe the only way to get unstuck is going back to school. There’s something about being stuck that seems to limit our perspective, squelch creativity, and keep us from seeing the less than obvious options.
Today I want to give you a little exercise that you can do if you’re feeling stuck in a particular area. Are you ready? Let’s begin!
First, grab a sheet of paper and a pen. You’re going to do some writing. At the top of the sheet of paper, write “Ways to get unstuck in my ______________” Fill that blank in with the area you’re stuck in.
Next, as quickly as you can, you’re going to write out all the ideas that come to your mind for getting unstuck. Don’t worry about how crazy or unrealistic the idea is. The point is to warm up the ol’ noggin. Our brains are like muscles. If they’ve been performing the same actions, thinking the same thoughts, and haven’t been forced to think creatively in a while, then they need some exercise.
Set a timer for 5 minutes and just start writing!
For example, if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, you might write:
Work out 30 minutes a day
Take a walk after work
Eat only salad for a month
Take cold showers
Beat up Jillian Michaels
Drink a gallon of water a day
Give up soda and beer
Put up a mirror in the dining room so I can see myself eat (Yuck!)
Lock the refrigerator after 8:00pm and give my spouse the key
Get a Wii Fit
Park far from the door when I go shopping
Only take the stairs
Sweat to the oldies
You get the picture! Keep on writing until you have wrung out every last idea you can think of, or until the 5 minutes is up. If you want to really put the process on steroids, then ask a friend to join you.
Once you have your list, start eliminating the crazy ones. I’m certain that you will find at least one idea in your brainstorming list that is doable, maybe even enjoyable, and that you didn’t think of before. If you struggled with it, that’s okay. Like I said, your brain is a muscle, and this is a great way to exercise it. Take a break and do it again. Maybe get some inspiration by googling “Craziest way to _______________.” The answer to getting you unstuck exists. Others have been where you are, and gotten unstuck. You can do this!
Once you’ve chosen your idea (or two) DO IT! Envision yourself free from this stuck area, make a plan, and take action. You will be so glad you did!
So, you might be wondering how I managed to lose that last 10 pounds after all these years. I’ll give you a hint: